As a new mom sleep becomes a luxury instead of a need. I relied heavily on coffee and my daughter’s need for me to take care of her to keep me running. I would try to nap when she did but it was difficult because she would fall asleep much faster than I would and by the time I did fall asleep she was waking up again. My mom watched her one morning so that I could catch up on sleep and I remember waking up so refreshed and the time that I spent with my daughter that day was so much higher in quality. After that day I researched ways to make my daughter sleep better at night. I did not have very high expectations because how could I expect my month and half old baby to sleep through the night while some babies still can’t achieve that after a year. I set out on my search and here are a few things that I have found to work really well:
- Making a Clear Distinction Between Day and Night
Getting your baby familiar between day and night is very important, getting them used to that fact that night time is for sleeping and day time is for being active. During naps I would go about my regular activities (even running the vacuum!) without being afraid of waking her during her nap times. I did not do things to purposefully wake her, but if she did wake up it was ok, because if she was actually tired she would quickly go back to sleep. I kept her downstairs during the day even for naps, letting her rest in her swing or changing pad on the floor with blankets. Then at night time, she knew that when I put her in her bassinet that it was time for bed.
2. Making A Routine
Giving your baby a routine and consistency helps with my baby sleeping longer at night. She gets a bath, lotion massage, has her last bottle of the night, and then I rock her while reading a book. She usually falls asleep before I finish the book. I didn’t bathe her every night but the rest of the tasks are done nightly. Although on nights that she does get a bath she seems too sleep longer and stirs less. Not only is this time relaxing for her, it is one of my favorite times spent with her.
3. Make Your Baby Comfortable
Make sure your baby has a clean diaper on before bed. For my daughter it is also important that the room temperature is comfortable and that she is all snug in her sleep sack. Additional things that I do besides the obvious are spraying lavender spray on her blankets, turning on the essential oil diffuser, and I just started to incorporate a sound machine. I’m not sure how effective the oils are but I know for a fact that the sound machine helps a ton. It is calming but also helps to diffuse noise if I get up in the middle of the night so she doesn’t wake up. Comfort is key.
4. Offer a Last Bottle of the Night
Sometimes my daughter may not be acting hungry after her bath, so I offer her a bottle anyways. She usually takes it but doesn’t always finish it. I never force it on her. This is somewhat controversial, but for my baby it doesn’t effect her in any way, she doesn’t have it if she’s not hungry and she doesn’t over eat. Listen to what your baby needs when doing this and be extremely receptive.
These are all just tips and might not work for your little one how they work for mine. You may have to try a couple different method to come up with the perfect formula for your baby to sleep through the night. Also, my daughter doesn’t sleep through the night every night but she is a better sleeper than average after incorporating these things. Trial and error is inevitable.