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Follow these tips to help your baby, and you, get the sleep you need (photo credit: bigstockphoto.com)

Follow these tips to help your baby, and you, get the sleep you need (photo credit: bigstockphoto.com)

There is no question that one of the hardest things about being a parent is not being able to get the sleep you need because your baby isn’t sleeping through the night.  If you are bleary-eyed and longing for the teenage years already, try these time-tested, mother-approved strategies for helping your baby, and you, get a good night sleep.

1.     Don’t Pick Him Up Right Away

If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, give him a few minutes to try and fall back to sleep on his own before you swoop in to help.  This helps him learn to self-soothe when there isn’t anything really wrong and decreases the amount of sleep you lose.

2.     White Noise Works Wonders

Sometimes, silence isn’t the best thing for sleep.  A small fan or other source of white noise can provide a calming environment that helps mask more disruptive noise that might keep her from falling asleep.

3.     The Swaddling Secret

If you never learned to do this or haven’t employed it as a way to help him sleep soundly, now is the time.  Swaddling is comforting to babies and can help them snuggle in to sleep when they are restless or over stimulated.

4.     Stock Up on Strategies

Read every book and listen to any piece of advice because if there is one thing that is universally true for every baby it is that nothing will work all the time.  Try different tactics and don’t let yourself get stuck on something that seems to work all the time, eventually it won’t and you won’t have a suitable replacement.

5.     Let Go of Nirvana

As parents, this is a lesson you will learn again and again so you might as well start now.  You may have ideas about where the baby should sleep best, when the baby should sleep, how long the baby should sleep, etc.  Let them all go.  Your baby is a unique being just like you and he will have his own way of existing in the world.  Let him.  This means that if you want him to sleep in the crib in his room but he sleeps better and longer in the portable crib in your room, make that work for now so you can both get the sleep you need.

6.     Don’t Let Routines Become Requirements

Routines are important for babies and children but when it comes to babies and sleep, you need to vary your routine enough that your child doesn’t turn that routine into a requirement.  For example, if you always rock your baby to sleep, she will eventually need to be rocked to sleep every time.  But, if you rock her some nights, nurse her other nights, sing to her other nights, you won’t be stuck rocking her to sleep until she is a teenager.

7.     Don’t Underestimate the Power of Comfort

As part of your baby’s bedtime ritual, make sure you do everything you can to make them as comfort as possible while they are sleeping.  Put them in comfortable jammies.  Make sure they have a clean, dry diaper.  Relieve discomforts like teething pain.  Keep their room the right temperature for sleeping.  All of these things will make sleep easier.