Top tips to help your baby sleep better

8 Feb

A bedtime routine

This may seem as a laugh when your child is newborn. And it is. But at around two months according to my experience, it is possible to get into a routine that makes your baby want to go to sleep at around the same time every night.

Depending on how much time you want to allocate to this, you could give your baby a bath and a massage or both before putting him to bed. Or you can sing lullaby or read a story.

With three kids to put to bed, my routine for our baby was merely to wash him (no bath), put on a new diaper and a pyjamas, put the lights out and put him to bed with his stuffed animal and pacifier. I swaddled his lower body and one arm untli he was a few months old. I might have to go in and give him his pacifier a few times before he falls asleep, but that I can handle while helping my other kids to get ready for bed.

You need to introduce a morning routine too, getting up at about the same time every day, to make this work smoothly.

Do you think your baby wakes up too early in the morning? Here’s some advice.

Other than having some free time in the evening, there is another great advantage with having your child falling asleep in his bed – he will not become terrified waking up in the middle of the night! If your baby always falls asleep in your arms, he will start believing that this is his bed, everything else must be terribly wrong.

Would you go back to sleep if you found yourself on the floor instead of in your bed waking up in the middle of the night? Probably not. The same thing goes for a baby.

Put baby in bed while awake

Yes, they can go to sleep by them selves if not hungry!

This you should do both at night and every time your baby takes a nap at day time.

During his first weeks your baby will probably fall asleep at your breast every time he nurses (or with the bottle). Don’t worry about it.

When he is a little bit older, at two months or so, you can feed him while he is still not too tired and then put a tired, full baby to bed half an hour later.

Rock your baby’s bed
This one is not new to you, I’m sure. This is what all parents do, right? But a reminder of how much it helps might be good when deciding on where the baby shall sleep during his or her first months.

Two of my kids slept in a cradle during their first four months. Our youngest slept in a regular crib. Not good. How do you rock a crib?? Well, you could buy Vyssanlull feet to the bed, a great Swedish invention.

You just put them onto the crib’s legs and – ta da – you have a rocking crib. Great help.
If you can’t find any of these in your country, and you don’t want to invest in a cradle, you could use buy either a rocking crib like the DaVinci Alpha Mini Rocking Crib or a similar one or use your stroller. (Although, there might be safety issues involved. For example, the baby could fall out.) If you use your stroller I suggest that you only use it when you are awake.

My last suggestion is to put your baby in his crib on a flat pillow (again, check safety issues), not only his head, but a large part of his back. When he starts waking up, gently rock his upper body by slightly lifting the pillow up and rock it gently.

It is of course not ideal that the infant needs to be rocked to go back to sleep, but as a means to lengthen the time between his nursing moments, I think it is a great method, at least it has worked for me!

A lot of eating in the evening

This may also help a hungry baby sleep better. Feed him until he doesn’t want more. Do it ever second hour or even more often in the evening.

Stuffed animal or blanket that smells MOM
Mom and milk is usually what babies want when the most waking up. With a stuffed animal with your smell on it, he might not feel as lonely when waking up in the middle of the night.

Put the animal close to your body for a few day and nights and then give it to your baby every time he goes to sleep.

However, you need to use a small stuffed animal, to make sure that it can’t cover your baby’s face.

A light cotton cloth over the eyes
I know many babies that fall asleep almost instantly if their face is cover by a very thin cotton cloth. I suppose it helps them shutting out distracting visual impressions.

Try this for naps rather than falling asleep at night, and don’t leave the cloth with the baby out of your sight (for example at night) if you think there is even a remote risk that the baby could be suffocated by it, or that it could impact his oxygen uptake, and increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Slowly shorten nighttime feeding length
Do you have a very enthusiastic night time feeder? Try reducing the length (hence the amount) of every occasion, there by slowly teaching him to eat less at night.

Introduce a pacifier
Small children usually have a strong need to suckle. Both my youngest kids did not, however, accept a pacifier until they were 2.5 months old. So hang in there! And try some different kinds.

Some children need some help to learn how to use the pacifier. Having learned, it might be a lot easier for the baby to fall asleep in his bed instead of at your breast.

As an important bonus, recent research indicates that a baby sleeping on his back, using a pacifier runs an extra low risk of SIDS. Check this with your care provider!

A sleep bag
Babies who are too warm or too cold wake up more easily. Some sort of baby sleep bag might be of great help, as it keeps the baby warm: Also, there is no risk that the baby either kicks off the blanket or pulls it over his face.

Ahh, I almost forgot the most important point!

To give you an example – ten months old my daughter still woke up every second hour to nurse. We decided that we had to do something drastic. Starting a Friday night, her dad took her up when she started crying at night. He rocked her in his arms, gave her the pacifier and – believe it or not – she went back to sleep within minutes.

After only three nights, she only woke up twice a night. At these occasions, we let her eat, because she wouldn’t settle easily with dad. One month later she only woke up once and at the age on one, we did the procedure one more time to take away the last night time meal. It also only took a few days. WHAT a RELIEF! So WHY didn’t I try earlier???

Don’t do the same mistake! Work as a team with your spouse to improve your family’s nights. Babies weighing more than 10 pounds (don’t they all, almost?) and at least at 6 months don’t really need to eat at night. (As always check your specific situation with your care provider).


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