It is undeniably true that babies sleep a lot. They just don't usually sleep at the most convenient times for their parents or for the desired duration. Hence, many moms undertake the challenging task or trying to get their baby to sleep longer in order to have more time to focus on other important tasks.
It's not uncommon for babies to sleep soundly in the midst of a noisy room filled with guests, only to stay up half the night wide awake, much to the dismay of the sleep-deprived mother.
Your baby may consider the night as his party time and never allow you to sleep by inviting you to be part of their nighttime recreational activities. Remember the situation never changes on Sundays too. Eight hours of undisturbed sleep is just a dream for new mothers. Infants have shorter sleep cycles when compared to adults or even the older children and tiny tummies that need to be refilled frequently.
There are many probable reasons as to why your baby may be waking up in the night. He may want to feed or he may want to feel your comforting presence and reassurance. There is a good chance that all he needs is a more consistent bedtime routine to help him settle down and sleep better and longer.
If you need your child to have a few hours of undisturbed sleep, try following these 15 tips from moms who swear they work. Also given are 5 things you should avoid while trying to get babies to sleep, all of which doctors warn the new mothers against. So read on to learn more about them and get a good night's sleep for yourself too.
20 Establish A Bedtime Routine
Forming good habits is always a wise idea for everyone, your little one included. You can have a bedtime ritual, which enables your baby to anticipate what comes next. During this time, you will be able to calm down your baby and arrange the bed for them. Normally, for most moms, the bedtime ritual begins with a soothing bath.
Once you start with such a routine, which may include a feed, a little play, a bath and then bedtime with some bedtime story or song, you should stick to it until the habit becomes ingrained for both of you.
Gradually, the little one will understand that the next thing after the bath is to take a nap. Ensure that this routine suits your baby as well, otherwise try another plan. Relax your baby by dimming the lights, playing soothing, and comfortable massage. These activities get them relaxed and ready for bed.
19 Try Singing A Song
Singing songs can help put babies to sleep. A favorite lullaby, especially if its something you used to sing to your unborn child during your pregnancy can be very calming for the little one. If you can't sing, then try a soundtrack. On YouTube alone, there is a lot to choose from to get your baby to sleep in no time!
Playing calm music can promote sleep in humans and the same principle goes with babies too. By playing a calm soundtrack, your baby will settle down at the end of the day.
Do you know why? Right from the womb, they have bodily noises to accompany them in the form of a rhythmic heartbeat. Once they come outside, babies can be calmed down by noises that memorize them of their time inside the womb. The rhythmic beat of a heart or melodious songs can induce sleep in them. Based on this requirement, nowadays you will be able to attain specialist recording that encompasses these elements that can be utilized to relax your adorable baby.
18 Swaddle Up Safely
Babies have a startling reflex until around the age of six months. You might have observed the baby making jerking movements and this often happens even when your baby is in deep sleep. Due to this reflex, babies might wake up though there was no other disturbance.
At times, the startling reflex might be caused by the sleep deprivation. However, safely swaddling up enables them to keep on sleeping without much hindrance. While swaddling up, make sure that you wrap them with muslin sheet or in a gauze loosely, otherwise, it will be dangerous. Some studies have observed an increased risk of SIDS and accidental suffocation among swaddled babies, so do take care.
17 Teach The Difference Between Day & Night
Teaching the baby about day and night is important. Do you know why? It is because when they are in the womb, babies sleep by motion and wake when you rest. Mothers will probably understand how challenging it is to get some sleep in the third trimester, when are be forced to take rest due to fatigue or tiredness. During this time, your baby also leaps around on your bladder to explore more.
Now, such issues can be neglected as your baby is in the world instead and you can teach them about the difference between day and night. During night hours, always keep the lights dim and voices low, although the baby is wide awake.
16 Control Your Coffee Consumption
Caffeine can be a villain for new moms. If you are breastfeeding, the coffee or caffeine consumed by you can negatively affect your baby’s sleep. Ironically, you drink coffee to boost yourself and pamper your child when they are awake, and the same coffee keeps your baby awake. Yes, it does pass on through your breast milk.
It was also found that a baby needs longer periods to get rid of caffeine from their system than adults.
Hence, it is wise to control your coffee consumption. You can either stop consuming coffee or limit the amount of intake. In the meantime, ensure that you don’t consume coffee near bedtime.
15 Master The Skill Of Nappy Changing
It is indeed a widely accepted truth that mothers are specialized in acquiring multi-tasking skills. Every woman has the unique ability to manage several activities at the same time without much fuss. Here is another tip that makes your baby sleep right after you feed them.
Usually, your baby needs to change their napkin in the nighttime as well. While changing the nappies, the baby wakes up properly, thus making your task more challenging. Hence, it is wise to change your baby’s nappy while you are feeding them. Always ensure that you have adequate supplies within your reach and also if possible master the art of changing with one-hand.
14 Healthy Calories Only
For sure, your baby will never be allergic to your milk, but sometimes you may find your baby lying wide awake or uncomfortable after you have breastfed them.
Want to know the reason? The reason is the foods that are passed on through your milk, which can cause the baby to be uneasy and wakeful. So be watchful of the food you consume. Just like caffeine mentioned earlier, there is a multitude of food items that are unhealthy for babies.
Prepare a list of food items that might not hinder your baby’s sleep. Jot down the foods you take and observe if there is a connection. Avoid those food items for a week or so. You may find that your baby sleeps much better.
13 Practice Daytime Feeds
In case of babies, their tiny tummies require frequent refilling. Whenever you finished feeding, your baby will soon start sleeping as their tummies are full. However, it is your duty to check out the duration of their sleep. At times, they sleep longer than required.
If your baby continues sleeping even after 3 hours, it's a good idea to wake him for a feed. This might enable your baby to save some slat for night time. Meanwhile, you should ensure whether the baby is comfortable with this pattern or not. Hence, it is better to remain patient and cautious before implementing such a plan.
12 Do Not Disturb A Sleeping Baby
Never try to disturb the baby, once he starts sleeping. Mothers will never do that because they know the difficulty of making the babies sleep in the first place. Advise the same to your husband, relatives, and the young children.
You should never try to change a diaper or perform any other activities that disturb the baby’s sleep.
If you do really need to change the diaper during the night hours, ensure that you do that before the night time feeding or half way through a feed. If the baby falls asleep during night feed time, change the diaper half way through and offer the other breast.
11 Boost Sleep With Mom’s Clothes
Babies are so adorable, the only thing they are aware of is their mother and her smell. They will be familiar with the mother’s smell than anything else.
What can be more pleasant than a mother’s smell?
At times, you can slip your soft and unwashed t-shirt (obviously it has to clean enough) onto your baby’s mattress to help the baby feel comfortable in their sleep as they are familiar with the smell. In addition to that, ensure that your clothes are properly tucked in under the mattress. Never use clothes that are suffocating and irritating, as it can be hazardous and cause the reverse effect on your baby.
10 Avoid Electronic Gadgets
Certainly, you might get bored once your baby sleeps, if you are not in a sleepy mood; do not try using television, computer, or mobile phones. The artificial light emitted by these gadgets can impede the baby’s sleep. Hence, keep away the mobile phones and television for your baby’s sake.
Even though you lower the sound of the television, it can obstruct the sleep of babies due to its light. If you really want to check out the mobile phones, stay away from the baby and monitor it. Some might say that it is fine to watch television once the baby is asleep, but make sure that you lower the volume to the minimum. However, it is wise to not use the television or other electronic gadgets while babies sleep.
9 Know The Signs Of Sleepiness
Although babies cannot talk, they try to communicate through various signs and gestures, especially with their mothers.
After a few days or weeks of giving birth, mothers are usually able to understand when their baby becomes hungry through their gestures or crying. Similarly, babies also show signs that depict tiredness or wanting to sleep, although they themselves may not realize it.
Some of the behaviors or signs are: losing interest in the happenings or things around them, beginning to fuss, and going abnormally quiet. All these indications help you note that it is the nap time for the little munchkin. This is the appropriate time to lay them in the bed for them to start sleeping within minutes.
If you miss those signs, they will become overtired, which makes it difficult for them to fall asleep.
8 Keep Moving
You might wonder why it is necessary to keep everything in motion. Want to know why?
The simple reason is that babies while inside your womb was rocked to sleep as you carry out your routine activities. Once you become a mother, you will understand how the baby still prefers that motion to sleep. At least you might have observed how a baby sleeps swiftly once they travel in a car or any other vehicle, especially on a long trip.
You can also embrace them and gently massage them when you rock them in a rocking chair or swinging crib. Try walking slowly with the fussy baby in your arms around the room, it should do the trick, he'll be asleep in no time. Nowadays, you can get specially designed baby hammocks that gently rock once your baby stir in the sleep, which enables them to return to their sleep.
Sharing the bed with your baby is a brilliant idea to get them to sleep longer. Co-sleeping is an excellent strategy to make your baby sleep and it has been in practice for centuries by many cultures. For this, you need not lie down with the baby in your arms; instea,d you can simply sleep closer to your lovely baby, providing them with your body warmth. This makes them feel comfortable and secure.
This is a widely-accepted idea among mothers that they are more sleep deprived if they share a bed with the baby. If you do not want them in your bed due to the fear of SIDS or something else, you can also consider placing the crib or the baby’s cot near to where you usually sleep.
6 Don’t Wake Up At Night
Seriously, night wake-ups are not healthy. However, this bad habit can be controlled and altered at the right time. Avoid habits such as constant looking at the clock, surfing the internet, or checking your mobile phones.
Keep the phones silent and switch off the Wi-Fi connection once you lie down with your baby. It is nap time for you and your baby.
If you wake up at night, your baby will also be disturbed and anxious to sleep. Hence, practice positive approach and avoid unwanted habits. Yes, it will not be easy if you are stressed out, but think about your adorable baby and spend time with them.
5 Docs Don't Recommend Using Crib Toys
Most parents seek the aid of toys, especially stuffed ones, to amuse their babies. But these comfort toys can suffocate your baby during sleep time. For a baby, one of the safest sleeping places is an uncluttered sleeping space without any stuffed toys.
Are you wondering why the toys are unsafe?
Many modern toys have materials, especially the small detachable pieces that can suffocate a baby. In addition to that, there are toys with straps that may strangle your baby, without you being aware of the danger. There are also toys with sharp edges, at times the toys might be broken and fall onto your baby, which is highly dangerous. It is wise to keep the toys away from your babies’ sleeping area.
4 Docs Don't Recommend Being Overly Anxious
Often mothers have a tendency to check out their baby without any need. Constant checking can hinder your baby’s sleep as your rush to them to take care. At times, mothers feel anxious about their separation and run towards them even when you hear a slight whimper from them.
One thing you have to remember is that they are safe; there is no need to check out constantly. Of course, you can check them when a baby shrieks aloud all of a sudden; however, if the moan is only for a short second, then everything is fine. There is no need to panic, your baby is alright.
3 Docs Don't Recommend Frequent Diaper Changes
Some parents have a tendency to change the baby’s napkin frequently. This is because of their over-hygienic nature.
But it is not essential for a baby, especially when they are sleeping peacefully.
You can change their diaper once or twice if necessary. When the practice gets repeated throughout the night, your baby will be disturbed and make them wide awake. When they are in deep sleep, the babies are not bothered about being wet.
Hence, never be judgmental about the unnecessary things. Experts say that unless they are extremely wet or have pooped, you can permit your child to sleep comfortably.
2 Docs Don't Recommend Walking & Rocking
We did recommend rocking the baby to sleep, but I also suggest reserving that for emergencies like when the baby is sick. Don't do it on an everyday basis. When you walk with the baby and rock them to sleep every time it becomes a bad habit. They get used to it and never sleep without these practices in the coming days.
This is unhealthy for you and your baby.
There are ways to control this situation. All you have to do is to practice some other activity to put them to sleep. For instance, you can play soothing music or fill the room with the pleasant smell, or use soft sheets. When you do these things along with rocking baby, they will also relate other activities to sleep. Hence, even if you stop rocking, they will adjust with other things and sleep calmly.
1 Docs Don't Recommend Letting The Baby Fall Asleep In Mom's Arms
Permitting your baby to sleep in your arms is not a good idea. Once you loosen your arms and keep your baby in bed, they get disturbed and remain awake without getting sufficient sleep. They may be unable to sleep without having your arms around them again.
Therefore, keep the child in a crib or bed and sing a lullaby. read stories, play rhythmic music or provide a gentle massage to make them get the required sleep. This will never create any disturbance to them in contrast to the involvement of your arms and the sudden release of it while you put them down on the bed.
Hope you have got some good ideas about how to make your baby sleep longer. Now it's time to put them into practice and go get some good sleep for yourself too.
References: babycentre.co.uk, parents.com, themilitarywifeandmom.com, wehavekids.com