The truth is that healthy babies only sleep and eat during first months of their lives. You can play with your baby, of course, but most of the activities will be reduced to more than sixteen hours of sleep, eating time, and changing diapers. It’s up to you to organize your and baby’s time so that these months don’t need to turn into a continuous nightmare.
In the beginning, your baby might sleep mostly through the day. She can’t recognize a difference between day and night, and it’s possible that her night sleep routine will be irregular. During few first weeks, you will find out which sleep routine is best for your little one. You just need to gently guide your baby, help her sleep better, and make yourself satisfied and happy mother.
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Table of Contents
- Find Your Baby’s Nap Schedule
- Routine is Everything for Your Baby
- Organize Your Baby’s Time
- Begin Predictable Quiet Bedtime Rituals
- 8 Bedtime Rituals Which Can Help Your Baby with Sleeping
- Should You Let Your Baby Fall Asleep in Your Arms?
- Give Her a Chance to Learn
Find Your Baby’s Nap Schedule
Believe or not, you have to teach your baby to fall asleep without swaying her or leaving her to cry. Of course, she can’t learn everything overnight. Actually, that process can take months. But, in the end, it will work. The primary goal is to teach your baby to fall asleep without a bottle, a pacifier, or giving her a breast and rocking her in your arms. She has to be able to go to sleep at night without your help.
Well, during the first month, your baby will sleep with equal periods of sleep between her feedings. Later her nap times will become more predictable and more extended. Up to her first year, she will probably take a nap in the morning and the early afternoon. But, every baby is different. Her nap schedule can vary depending on her character and her age.
Table 1. How long your baby should be awake during the day
|Baby’s age||Awake time|
|Newborns (0-12 weeks)||45 minutes|
|3-5 months||1,5-2 hours|
|6-8 months||2-3 hours|
|9-12 months||3-4 hours|
|13 months to 2,5 years||5-6 hours|
Keep your baby engaged through the day, but avoid overtiredness. Play with her during the evening or take her for a walk. If she is sleepy in the late evening, try to keep her awake little longer. Gradually, she will get used to sleeping during the night.
Routine is Everything for Your Baby
Many of us hate routine and find it incredibly boring, but it’s very comforting for our babies. They need the schedule of mealtime, bath time, bedtime, and time for other activities such as playing or reading. Only in that way, your baby will know what to expect. It makes her feel safe.
For a start, organize your baby’s sleep time to be consistent every day. You should also create adequate sleep-related activities for her every day at the same time. All of that will establish a routine for your baby, and she will connect these activities with the time for sleeping. Keep in mind that creating your sleep plan should start with bedtime, and after a while, you can move to naps. You will probably need two to four weeks to accomplish your plan.
Also, determine the place for sleeping, including both naptime and nighttime sleep and stick to it as much as possible, especially in the beginning. If your child falls asleep in the stroller or your arms but wakes up during the night in a crib, she will be surprised and start crying.
Organize Your Baby’s Time
I know that you will hate this, but it’s necessary to teach your baby to follow the schedule. That means that you should wake her up early in the morning at the same time every day. The good idea is to put her crib near a window without the blinds. The natural light will help your baby to organize her day-night rhythm. That means that she will understand it’s time to get up if she wakes in the daylight. On the other hand, if she wakes during the night, she will learn to go back to sleep.
Take your baby outside for a few minutes during the day and create a sleepy atmosphere at night. It will help you teach her the difference between day and night. The primary goal is to your baby learns to go back to sleep without your help. It’s the only way for your baby to sleep well overnight and for you to take a rest. If your baby starts to cry during the night, you should make sure that she is not hungry or feels uncomfortable. If everything is fine, gently lull her until she sleeps again.
Begin Predictable Quiet Bedtime Rituals
Our babies are creatures of habits, and the best way for their peaceful sleep is beginning with predictable quiet bedtime rituals. Dress your baby in her pajamas, turn off the lights, and put her down in her crib. It’s the signal for her that it’s time for sleeping.
Pick out the best routine for you and your baby and stick with it. Involving your baby in her favorite bedtime rituals closest to bedtime, you will achieve that she will start looking forward to it. Plus, a routine which lasts no longer than half an hour will make your baby fall asleep very quickly.
Table 2. Bedtime rituals
|Put on pajamas||5 minutes|
|Nursing or a bottle||10 minutes|
|Read a story or sing a lullaby||10 minutes|
Activities such as singing a lullaby, reading a book, giving a massage and a bath will help your baby to prepare for a night of sleep. Remember, this routine has to be the same every single time and as predictable as possible. After finishing bedtime routine, ‘be boring’ and don’t participate in any activity. In that case, every attempt to play won’t last too long. Once your baby falls into that routine, it will be easier for her to fall asleep herself.
8 Bedtime Rituals Which Can Help Your Baby with Sleeping
a). Break the Association Between Food and Sleepingg
You need to break the connection between eating and sleeping by creating a reasonable break between feeding and bedtime. You just need to ensure your baby gets enough food to sleep long enough. If you feed a baby before sleeping, she will ask for help to fall asleep every time she wakes up during the night.
If you enjoy nursing your baby to sleep, don’t listen to others people’s advice. Your way is entirely OK. But, if you want to encourage your baby to fall asleep on her own, the easiest way is to separate meal time from bedtime.
All the process can start if your baby is a few months old, healthy and eats well. Keep in mind that that doesn’t mean that you have to keep your baby hungry. If your baby continues to cry regardless you sway and hold her, she is maybe too hungry. In that case, forget all advice and feed her.
A beautiful, relaxing bath with warm water will help your baby to relax and get into the sleep mode. Avoid toys during the bedtime bath. Include post-bath massage after her bath and stop all play activities. Put her in comfortable pajamas and feed her. After that, bring her straight to bed. After a while, the night bath will always associate your baby to sleep time.
c). Use the Bedroom for Sleeping
It’s essential to teach your baby that a bedroom is a place for sleeping. Never play with her in that room, remove all toys, and keep the conditions consistent. During the time she will start to identify that space with sleep. The fact that she wakes up in the same surroundings every day will help her to fall asleep by herself quickly.
d). Comfortable Pajamas
Make her understand a difference between clothes and pajamas. In that way, once you put your baby in her pajamas, she will start to connect it with her bedtime. It would be excellent that pajamas are comfortable, made of cotton, and good enough to keep her warm through the night.
e). Your Baby Needs to Be Awake Before Going to Bed
The best way to teach your baby to fall asleep on their own is by laying her down in the crib until she is still awake. The point is that she is aware that it’s a safe place for sleeping. If she wakes up at night, she will eventually realize that she doesn’t need mom to help her fall back asleep.
f). Switch off The Light and TV
Your baby should understand that night time is sleep time for all family. Switch off the light, the TV, all loud noises, and reduce disturbance as much as possible. But, you can consider about turning on music. It usually helps a baby to fall asleep.
Also, you can buy a musical toy which can be safely attached to the crib. These toys play classical melodies which can help your baby fall asleep. More than 80% babies fall asleep in less than five minutes when soft music is played.
g). A Toy for Sleep
Sometimes, having a sleep toy can help your baby feel calm and secure. Also, that kind of toy will associate her with bedtime. Let her hold her toy while you are putting her to sleep and through the night. Only make sure the toy is safe. Every baby will adore stuffed animals, especially Teddy bears. But, sometimes a simple blanket can be your baby’s favorite choice.
It would be wise to attach a toy to the crib sides while your baby is younger than six months. In that way, she can feel and sense it, but can’t hurt herself. After six months, you can leave a toy in a baby’s crib without any fear.
h). Avoid Taking Your Baby From the Crib During the Night
If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, don’t take her from the crib and avoid playing with her. Find a way to quietly guide her back to sleep again by patting her and singing a lullaby. She will eventually understand when she wakes up after a full sleep.
Should You Let Your Baby Fall Asleep in Your Arms?
Some babies need constant swaying and holding. Try to start with only holding your baby until she falls asleep. It will associate her with lying alone in their crib. She needs to learn to self-soothe herself back to sleep without swaying if she rises during the night.
If it is necessary, start with swaying. But, before your little one falls asleep, try to stop and just hold her. If she protests, you should begin to repeat swaying and stop again after a while. You will probably need to make a lot of attempts, but eventually, she will learn to fall asleep without any movement.
After some time, you can try to put your baby in the crib immediately. Merely touch her or hold her hand while she falls asleep. Keep doing this until she accepts to fall asleep on her own.
Give Her a Chance to Learn
Give your baby plenty of chances to learn to fall asleep without your intervention. She probably won’t learn it right away. Be patient and hold her at the beginning. Comfort her when she starts to cry and give her enough time to calm down.
When you hear your baby cries in the crib, wait for a while before going in to check on her. One minute is a decent period of waiting for the first day. The second day, you should wait two minutes, and so on. It will give your baby the opportunity to back to sleep without your help. Once she learns to do that on her own, you will be free.
If your little one is healthy, nourished, and well dressed, and if you’ve given her enough water, she has no reason for crying. If your baby continues to cry, try to find the reason for her stress.
Sometimes is enough for her that you are close to the crib or walk around her room. Maybe your presence is all that your baby needs.