Ah, baby sleep. If you’re reading this, you’ve likely got a little one who is wide awake. I’m no sleep expert, but I do have three little ones who are great sleepers – after lots of reading, routines, and work! I’ve picked up a few little tips and tricks that have made me a happier mama that I’ll share with you below. I’ll assume you’re already swaddling and working towards putting baby down in the famous “Drowsy but awake” fashion, which I recommend starting as early as possible.
- Hum, don’t sing. Your baby will be soothed not only by a sweet melody, but also by the vibrations on your chest as you hum. Is that cool, or what?
- Routines Really Do Rock: Do the same thing every night from as early on as you can (around 2-3 months is a great time to start!). Keep it short and sweet and follow your own rules. For example: Bath, pajamas, milk, story, sing, off to bed. I even like to read the same book and sing the same song. I find having a routine is so helpful, especially to be able to fall back on after a vacation or illness when things may have gotten off track. They key to a good routine: Same lullaby every night. Get to the point where when you hum a few bars, your kids’s eyelids start to droop!
- Get Handy: If you’re putting your baby down asleep (we’ve all done it! Drowsy but awake can be tricky!), learn to press your hand very firmly down on the mattress as you put baby down. This will create a small gap between you and baby so you can slip out your hand without disrupting your little one. But really, I do believe the drowsy but awake is key!
- Start as you mean to go on. One of the hardest parts of baby sleep is when you want to change things, so within reason, if you don’t want something to become an issue, try not to do it. For example, if you don’t want to drive around the block to get your baby to fall asleep every night, then don’t start! I personally don’t like too many “extras,” so I’ve never done soothing products with sounds, songs, and lights – they just end up annoying me with battery changes, toddler demands (“Again!”), and addictive qualities (No, we aren’t bringing an aquarium with us to the hotel, thank you very much!).
- Sleep Begets Sleep: The more they nap, the better they sleep, in general! I cut off nap times at 4pm, but aside from that, a good nap often leads to a good night of rest. Early bedtimes are also key! Not only will your child be more well rested, but having some alone time in the evening can be a sanity-saver.
- Be a FAN of sleep: Every baby room should have a fan in it! They keep baby cool, they offer some serious white noise, and they even come in lots of cute colors and styles.
- Keep Baby Sane: How would you feel if you fell asleep on the couch, and then woke up in a completely different room, with different smells, lighting, and sounds? Weird, right!? Totally disorienting! I would probably cry too! Teaching baby to fall asleep on her own is such a gift. It may be frustrating at first, but it will allow baby to fall back asleep on their own when they wake up in the night.
It is also helpful to read up and talk to other moms, as your baby may be in a growth spurt or sleep regression! Learning about sleep and understanding wakeful patterns is truly helpful in your journey as a parent – after all, we spent a lot of hours of our lives asleep!
A well-rested household is a happy household! If you’ve found this post helpful, be sure to read my popular post The 14 Habits of Happy Stay-at-Home Moms!