Being a parent is incredibly rewarding, and exhausting. An online study conducted in 2015 found that the biggest challenges for new parents after the birth of a child was not enough sleep for the parents, followed by the baby sleeping.
Not surprisingly, the milestones most parents look forward to after bringing that infant into the world are baby sleeping through the night and the completion of potty training. Even better is when you’re potting training your little one and he or she wakes up dry after a good night’s sleep. While toilet training the Brazelton way is an excellent option for the former, these tips will help ensure mom, dad and baby all enjoy plenty of shut-eye.
Take Advantage of Light
Darkness triggers the release of a key hormone melatonin, while light helps us wake. By keeping your baby’s days brighter and his nights darker it will naturally help get your infant into a good sleep/wake pattern. During the day, keep those curtains open, letting sunlight in, or spend time outside. Even when it’s naptime, be sure the room is well-lit. To induce sleepiness in the evening, lower all the lights (dimmers are really helpful), about two hours before bedtime which will help trigger that melatonin.
Put Your Baby to Sleep When Drowsy
While it can be difficult, if you can figure out the timing, allowing your baby to drift off on his own will help teach him to soothe himself at night. The best time to put him to bed is just before he’s about to nod off.
Don’t Let Baby Nap Too Long
Waking a sleeping baby isn’t something many parents want to do, but if you let your infant sleep too long during the day, you’re setting yourself up for a long night. Try to limit naptime to no more than two hours if possible. If you can break up sleep into shorter periods during the day time, it can go a long way toward helping baby sleep better at night.
Get a White Noise Machine
Many babies sleep better when using white noise as it will block out startling noises that can wake them. White noise machines can be a big help, or you can simply put a fan on in the baby’s room, provided it doesn’t blow directly on him.
A Consistent Routine
Babies and children of all ages thrive on routine. Creating a consistent routine now is not only going to help baby sleep much better over the short-term, but can help long into the future, bringing order to a chaotic world. This means going through a routine before bedtime like giving him a bath, dressing him in his pajamas, reading him a book or singing a lullaby before a quick cuddle and a kiss good night. If you can follow the same routine as consistently as possible, over time, your child will automatically understand that sleep should follow.
Note: Don’t encourage the start of a bad sleep habit by rushing in as soon as your baby makes a sound or starts rustling around. It’s common for babies to wake up, move around and babble a bit before going back to sleep again, which means you should give baby a little time to see if he’ll resettle on his own.