How to make your baby sleep on its own, fast? Now, any new parent will agree getting a baby to sleep is not an easy task. The sleeping habits of newborns are just too difficult to influence.
We share nine highly effective tips from a sleep expert to help your baby go to sleep fast.
Why Is It Difficult To Get Babies To Sleep
Newborn babies do not have regular sleep patterns. Also, the hours of sleep may vary from one baby to another. A newborn baby can sleep from about 10 hours to up to 17 or 18 hours a day. But they often find it difficult to fall asleep.
Because the newborns are unable to distinguish between night and day, and this is the numero uno reason for their irregular sleeping habits.
Nonetheless, as babies grow older, usually in a matter of weeks, they develop the ability to learn the difference. At around this stage, you can begin to make efforts to control your baby’s sleep pattern.
What do you do as a parent when your baby cries all night? How do you make that cute little human go to bed so you can at least have some rest?
How To Get Your Baby To Fall Asleep Fast
For help, we have a sleep expert to share with us 9 proven strategies to help you get your babies to form a regular sleep pattern, and fall asleep fast on their own.
1. Control The Light
Most of us adults find it hard to sleep with the lights on. So does your baby. Babies find it difficult to slumber off in a bright room. Because light triggers a baby’s wake button. It makes them perk up, lose their fatigue and drowsiness, and make them go awake or stay awake.
Darkness triggers the release of a sleep hormone known as melatonin by the pineal gland in the brain, which helps induce sleep.
So, make sure the nighttime is mostly dark. To do this, dim the lights in the room about 2-3 hours before bedtime. This will give your baby’s brain enough time to process it’s end of the daytime and trigger the release of melatonin.
Dimming the lights at the same time everyday will get your baby to gradually learn it’s nearing their bedtime.
Avoid the urge to turn on the bright lights when your baby wakes up in the middle of the night. Turning on the lights or carrying the baby into a brightly-lit room can make your baby feel it’s wake-up time. Gently soothe them to sleep in the dimly lit room when they wake up. You may not even need to carry them out at all.
You could put up dark curtains or shades to keep the room from lighting up with the early morning sun rays, and let your baby sleep a little longer. You can also do this also if your baby has a difficult time drifting to sleep during daytime naps.
All along, make it a habit to lighten up your baby’s day with bright lights. During daytime, ensure there is a lot of light entering the room or the house. Raise the curtains to let the sunlight in, or leave the lights on.
You can also form a habit of taking your child outdoors regularly during the daytime.
2. Do Not Always Rush In
When babies wake up mid-sleep, and find you missing, they often cry. There is a natural urge for parents to want to reach out in a jolt and carry them into their arms once they hear a squeak from their baby. This is not bad at all.
However, if you want your child to develop a healthy sleep habit, then you must learn to wait a while before picking up your baby from the bed. Take your time; do not rush in.
Waking up and carrying your baby at their each little cry will only disrupt their sleep pattern like you may not imagine. Babies who are carried at every sound may grow to develop the habit of waking up abruptly.
Remember, most babies make a myriad of noises while sleeping due to their developing brains.
You may walk into the room and watch from a distance, but let the baby learn to fall back asleep on his own. A lot of times, babies fall back to sleep on their own after making sounds. If you notice the squeak may break into a cry, try soothing him back to sleep gently.
But, if you wait until the baby cries, he will become fully awake and find it difficult to fall back asleep.
By the way, when we say take your time, we do not mean you should leave your baby to cry on for hours; not at all. Instead, it just means waiting a minute or two before lifting him.
3. Set A Bedtime Routine
Consistency is key in developing a good sleeping habit for your baby. Create a nighttime sleep routine and follow it diligently. This way, your baby’s brain learns to recognize they have to sleep when it’s a particular time or when certain rituals are in place.
For instance, if you put your baby to sleep in his crib at night while singing a lullaby, telling a story, or patting their back softly, make sure you do this consistently every night. Once the baby sees they are being placed in the crib while you are singing, talking, or patting their back, they know that it’s sleepy time.
In any case, all this shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes each day.
By the way, a big part of your baby’s bedtime routine should include switching off the television, and removing laptops and mobiles from the baby’s room. This ritual of banning blue-light emitting screens around bedtime is a beneficial thing to carry into your child’s adolescence as well.
So, fix a bedtime for your baby, create some sleep time rituals, and stick to the routine assiduously for around 8 to 10 weeks.
4. Work With Baby’s Natural Sleep Habit
You need to work around your baby’s natural body clock or sleeping pattern — their morningness or eveningness. If you’re not doing this, then you’re running the risk of your baby being tired and fussy much of their waking time.
Despite all the tips you have ever been told, it remains important you work with the natural sleep schedule of your baby. Be conscious to make sure you know if your baby is a late sleeper, a night owl, or an early bird, and work along their natural sleeping schedules.
After all, your parenting skills aren’t judged based on your baby’s natural sleep pattern or circadian timing system, which is determined genetically to a significant extent.
If you have any challenges concerning your baby’s sleep habit, mention them to their doctor.
5. Put Your Baby In Bed Before Fully Asleep
If you always tend to rock or feed your baby into sleep, know they might become conditioned to it. This can make it difficult for them to go to sleep on their own.
The best way to get babies to sleep by themselves is to put them down on their back before they are fully asleep. You need to watch closely and know when they are falling asleep. Put the baby into bed while in a drowsy state, when they are sleepy, but still awake. This way, the baby can settle in bed and fall asleep on their own rather than in your arms or a rocker.
Although this might be challenging, especially for mothers who are still breastfeeding, it is possible. And it works. Babies who are left to drift off to sleep when placed on their beds tend to soothe themselves to sleep.
You can know when your baby is feeling drowsy by noting their eye and body movements. Most babies tend to become quiet when they are feeling drowsy. At this point, you can lay your baby down quietly on the bed so they can go sleep on their own.
Do not pick up your baby back into your arms again if they wake up suddenly as you’re laying them on the bed. You should, instead, stay close to your child and pet them back to sleep. Your baby will gradually understand when being placed on the bed while drowsy, this is an indication it is time to sleep.
Sleep in the same room as the baby’s cot for at least the first 6 months. Always lay down your baby to sleep on their back; this lowers their SIDS risk.
6. Take Nap Time Seriously
Your newborn will cycle between playing, sleeping, and feeding unpredictably for the first few weeks, often leaving you exasperated. By around 4 months, a pattern emerges when the baby settles down to around 3 naps in the daytime. By 6 months, it goes down to 2 daytime naps. And around 18 months, it’s one nap a day.
A daytime rest is essential to a baby’s sleep pattern. A baby who gets adequate daytime rest — and it’s their birthright — will have a more sound sleep during the night than the one who does not catch a few naps in the day.
Stress hormone in infants is said to rise when they are overtired. When they fall asleep as a result of tiredness, they won’t be able to sleep for long because the high-stress hormone can cause them to wake up when they are in the stage of light sleep. This is why babies should have enough rest.
Practice daylight nap habit and stick to it. If you discover something that makes your baby relax during the day, use that to help your baby get some rest. Importantly, if you would like your baby to get daytime naps, make sure you do this in a well-lit room. Dimming the lights may cause the baby to think it’s nighttime and drift off into a long sleep.
7. Avoid Eye Contact As You Lull Baby To Sleep
Babies are sensitive and get stimulated very quickly. Gazing into your baby’s eyes, constant touching, and a high pitched voice can give them the impression that you want to play with them.
When you notice your baby is drowsy or when you are putting them to sleep, concentrate on the baby’s belly or legs, soothe them very gently and sing to them in a very soft tone. Parents who make direct eye contact with their babies or giggle at them when drowsy encourage them to snap out of their sleep, thinking it is playtime.
8. Change Your Diaper-Change Habit
One way to get your baby to sleep faster and enjoy a night of sound sleep is to reduce the number of times you change their diaper while they are asleep. Mothers should avoid changing their baby’s diaper anytime the child wakes up or makes some noise during sleep. Constant diaper change when your baby wakes can bring him to full alertness. You can get a nighttime diaper of high quality for your child and only change it if you sniff and find it’s soiled with poop.
Your baby can fall asleep almost immediately after waking up, so don’t jeopardize this by waking him fully during a diaper change.
Hint: While changing the diaper, avoid using cold wipes. You can make use of warm wipes. A good wipe warmer should be able to do these efficiently. The coldness of a regular wipe can cause your baby to wake up suddenly and be unable to go back to sleep immediately.
9. Eliminate Snacking
You cannot separate sleep from nutrition. As a parent, you can feed your baby for the first eight weeks anytime the baby demands food, which should be between two to three hours interval. You have to take note of how much your baby eats.
Consider the feeding range and duration to be able to ascertain that your child is feeding correctly. When your child demands for food every hour, check to see the quantity he eats at every feeding session to be sure they are consuming enough food each time.
Keep a record of your baby’s feeding schedule for each day. For breastfeeding mothers, take note of how long your baby suckles on your breast. Check for the disparity in his day and night time feeding sessions.
If your baby eats for more than twenty minutes at night and eats for about five minutes in a feeding session, it means that your baby is “snacking.” When your baby is just snacking, it means that he is not eating enough food during the day that can enable him to have a longer stretch of sleep at night.
When your baby eats very well during the daytime, your child will be able to sleep for a longer stretch at night and enjoy up to six hours of uninterrupted sleep. Try spacing your baby’s feeding sessions. It is not necessary to feed her anytime she cries.
You can try other means to make her happy rather than feeding her at all times. Meal spacing and monitoring ensure that your baby has a balanced feeding session so she can sleep well, whether it is day or night.
Here’s great article by Sophia who has a background in Early Childhood Development: How To Get A Baby To Sleep Without Being Held.
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Authors’ Bio: Miroslava Rakicevic is a sleep expert at DisturbMeNot. But no, she can’t sleep at work. Besides researching the factors that affect sleep, she works with other experts and doctors to get to us useful and helpful info and advice about sleep. Sandip Roy is psychology writer, happiness researcher, and medical doctor. Founder of Happiness India Project, and chief editor of its blog. He writes popular-science articles on positive psychology and related topics.
Want to know what are the best sleep hacks for grown-ups? Click the pic below:
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