Whether you're a new parent or not, putting a baby to sleep isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Babies can suffer from colic, teething pain, behavioral sleep insomnia, sleep regressions, and more. Here are our 10 sleep hacks to make bedtime a little less like a battlefield.
Create and stick to a bedtime routine
Routines give babies a sense of security and stability. Dinnertime, bathtime, and an infant massage are a good place to start when creating a bedtime routine.
Provide a good sleep time environment
Dim the lights, check the temperature, eliminate any screen time an hour or two before bedtime (screen time is not recommended at all for babies before the age or 12-24 months), and silence any loud noise. Make sure your baby is wearing an overnight diaper or change them right before bed to eliminate late night and unnecessary diaper changes.
Experiment and find what works best for your baby
Try out white noise which provides a blanket of sound or baby sleep music. You can also try swaddling or weighted sleep sacks to help your baby get the Zzzzs they need.
Wait your baby out
Younger babies sleep in cycles of 50-60 minutes, each cycle is made up of active and quiet sleep. Babies sometimes get fussy, make noise and/or move around during active sleep. Wait your baby out for 5 minutes or until they are properly screaming. Some babies get fussy but will self soothe themselves back to sleep.
Pay attention to your baby’s cues
Babies have different ways of showing they’re tired. They might begin to get fussy, rub their eyes, pull their hair or become more vocal (i.e. cooing, gurgling, etc.).
Avoid eye contact
While eye contact is a great way to bond with your baby, it also stimulates them which is not the best for stimulating sleep.
Timing is everything
Try to put your baby down, not over tired or under tired. Keep track of your baby’s sleep windows according to their age. They are great guidelines for how long your baby should be awake at a time, you can also read How Many Hours Should a Kid Sleep? to make sure your little one is getting enough sleep.
Use all tools available to you
Some parents will swear by a large list of items and while it’s possible to get your baby to sleep without them, try some out. You might be surprised. Try baby sleep apps or Storybook’s infant massage and bedtime story app. Baby swings and moving bassinets are also popular. Taking a drive or a walk can also put your little one right to sleep or some moms swear by products such as essential oils or Lush’s Sleepy Body Lotion.
Make sure to take care of yourself
While it’s not also possible to “sleep when the baby sleeps” as everyone will advise you, try to nap when possible, take shifts with your partner, and go to sleep earlier.
Plan for things to not go to plan
Younger babies do not have well-developed circadian rhythm, meaning they cannot distinguish well between day and night. Don’t compare your baby to others, think of your little one as an individual and prepare for unplanned teething pain and sleep regressions.
The important thing is that your baby is getting enough sleep which is essential for their development. So, try out these hacks to make it a little bit easier. If you are concerned about your baby not getting enough sleep, please consult your pediatrician.