Of all the challenges new parents face, getting a baby to sleep is the most daunting. Sleepless nights for babies cause sleepless nights for parents, which doesn’t bode well for anyone involved. There are many tips on how to get babies to sleep, but these are the top six that never fail.
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Newborn babies have immature nervous systems that are still developing. This causes any involuntary movement of the arms and legs during sleeping to startle the baby awake. Many parents find that swaddling their babies with their arms tightly at their sides will prevent that from happening. Babies spend nine months in the cramped quarters of their mothers’ wombs, so recreating a little of that feeling will help many infants fall asleep and stay asleep.
It’s important for babies always to be placed to sleep on their backs, but many babies don’t like it very much. Also, parents are concerned when flat head baby spots develop because of this lack of variety in sleeping positions. The good news is that many babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep when they’re held or when they’re tucked close to their mothers while in special baby-wearing slings and carriers. Use this tip when babies are fussy and overstimulated.
Many babies are soothed by motion, such as swinging or riding in a stroller or vehicle. If this is the only way your baby can fall asleep, it’s okay to use it to ensure your baby is well-rested during the day. There are also special bassinets that can provide similar motion that can be a lifesaver for babies unable to fall asleep without it.
The womb is a very noisy place, so a quiet nursery is the last place babies feel ready for sleep. Using a fan or white noise machine in the room will help soothe your baby to sleep and keep siblings or pets from waking the baby up. Quiet singing or shushing is also a popular method for helping babies fall asleep.
Some parents fear using pacifiers or feeding babies to sleep, but babies have an innate need to suck, and many can’t fall asleep without it. Get your baby all changed and ready for bed, then use a pacifier or feeding to help your baby settle down enough for the both of you to get some shuteye.
It seems that babies are born without an internal clock, and some get very confused about their days and nights. That’s all normal initially, but you can help your baby get into a comfortable rhythm by keeping the intervals between naps consistent. Regardless of when your newborn wakes up, try to let him or her stay awake no more than two hours at a time and use whatever reliable method you have to soothe your baby to sleep when the time is up. Eventually, your baby will internalize those cues, making it easier to fall and stay asleep. It’s something that happens over time, but having a general game plan will get you both on the road to healthy sleep patterns.
Using these surefire tips will help you get your baby to fall and stay asleep. Rested babies are happy babies, and happy babies make happy parents.