Parents of new babies know that they are going to have lots of sleepless nights in the first few months of their baby’s life. What they don’t always know is that there are things parents can do to help their baby settle into a sleep routine that helps everyone in the house get the sleep they need. According to the National Sleep Foundation, babies set their own sleep schedule for the first few weeks and parents should focus on getting sleep when they can during this time.
Once the baby is about two months old, their circadian rhythm will begin to develop and this is the time when parents can make a difference in getting their child to do most of their sleeping at night. Here are 7 tips for helping your baby develop good sleep habits right from the start.
1. Sleepy but Not Asleep
This is when you want to put the baby to bed. One of the most important sleep skills your new baby needs to develop is the ability to get to sleep without assistance. By putting the baby to bed when he or she is tired but not yet asleep, you are setting the stage for them to develop this skill.
As your baby grows, their somewhat erratic sleep schedule will become more consistent. Support their ability to get the sleep they need by honoring that natural rhythm and making it possible for them to sleep on a regular schedule.
3. Active Days
Active days help support sleeping at night. Help your baby stick to a good sleep schedule by keeping them active during the day. Engaging and interactive activities like talking, singing, reading, and playing can keep your baby going and help them get to sleep and stay asleep longer.
The best way to set your baby up to be a good sleeper is to keep them on a regular schedule. Once their individual rhythm develops, set a schedule that supports good sleep habits and then stick to it.
5. Regular Routine
Creating a relaxing routine to help your baby get ready for bed is another way to help your baby get the sleep they need now and as they continue to grow.
If your baby is having difficulty settling down to sleep, introducing a pacifier might be the best way to help them self soothe. Additionally, according to the NSF, initial research indicates that using a pacifier may reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
7. Don’t Turn on the Lights
Once your baby is settling into a routine, you can help them sleep more at night by keeping the lights very low whenever the baby wakes up and needs care. If things like diaper changes and feedings can be done with a minimal amount of light and activity, your baby will be able to fall back to sleep faster.
Start your baby off right by helping them develop good sleep habits that will serve them well throughout their life right from the start.
- How to Keep Kids on a Sleep Schedule (valleysleepcenter.com)
- Depression in New Mothers: Who is Waking Up the Baby? (valleysleepcenter.com)
- 6 Ways Parents of a New Baby Can Combat Sleep Deprivation (valleysleepcenter.com)