6 Expert Sleep Strategies to Put Your Baby to Sleep
Helping baby sleep through the night
It’s quite difficult for newbies to cope with the frequently changing sleeping patterns of their babies. At first, babies typically have a erratic sleeping pattern, but gradually they learn to follow a certain routine with the help of their parents.
When your baby hits around ten to twelve months old, they’re supposed to sleep throughout the night. But some children still have issues sleeping through the night, waking two to three times for one reason or another.
Parents can use some of the following tactics to help their babies either sleep throughout the night, or learn how to put themselves to sleep again if they happen to wake themselves in the middle of the night.
1. Teaching the difference between day and night
You can teach your baby the difference between day and night by playing and doing other activities in daylight, and keeping the dark hours strictly for rest. For example, if your baby gets up at night, you must not start playing or talking to your baby – instead, put bub back in the bed so that they can sleep again. This way, bub will slowly start learning the difference between day and night which will help develop a better sleep routine for your little one.
2. Using white noise
When there’s lots of noise or sounds of different frequency coming from all over an active household, bub often becomes restless, and soon gets used to waking to any noise. Avoid such disturbances by playing ‘white noise’, which is any noise with a continuous, uninterrupted frequency. This helps your baby feel relaxed, and can also help to drown out the sounds from the rest of the house, helping bub to sleep for longer.
You can play such sounds through mobiles, or any audio system, or purchase special-made white noise devices. Alternatively, you can also use a fan on a light setting, or similar, which will have a continuous sound – just loud enough to drown out outside noises, but not too loud so as to disturb a sleeping baby.
3. Avoiding dummies during the night
Your baby becomes addicted to using dummies during the night – it becomes reliant on the soothing nature of the sucking motion. But as soon as your bub loses the dummy, they instantly wake up from their sleep, disturbed by the loss of their comforter. To avoid this, try to wean your baby away from relying on their dummy – it will be tough for a few days, as your baby will likely cry and won’t go to sleep again easily, but ultimately, they will learn to sleep without a dummy. Read more on the pros and cons of dummies for babies here.
4. Avoid pulling baby out of the cot
A separate space for baby would provide them safety as well as comfort. But sometimes, babies feel alone and scared in their cot, and wake up at night crying out for your attention. Your obvious reaction is to pull the baby out of the cot and to soothe them, and put them to sleep with you. However, this would only exacerbate the issue, as it would condition your baby to continue this habit; they learn that every time they cry, they receive attention, so obviously, this is the best course of action.
The better option would be try to sooth the baby in their cot, and make them sleep on their own. In case your baby is unable to go to sleep on their own, pull the baby out of the cot, rock them to sleep in a separate chair, and then put the baby back into their cot. Tell the baby that you are there for them, and they will be all right.
5. Satisfy your baby’s appetite
One of the main reasons for waking up in middle of the night is simple: your baby is hungry. As babies grow, their requirement for food and milk increases. Usually breastfed babies do not feel full if they are not eating well.
Such babies find it very difficult to sleep throughout the night. You can top up such babies with a bottle of formula before going to bed, to fulfill their daily diet need. Once your baby feels full, they’ll sleep well throughout the night. It is therefore recommended for mothers to newborns and infants to learn to understand their baby’s cues of hunger and fullness. Read more on how to know if your baby is hungry or full here.
6. Changes in weather
Sometimes the room temperature is not suitable for your baby, and they either feel too cold or too hot. This makes them restless and uncomfortable – as it does any adult in the same situation! Keep an eye on the weather, as well as on room temperature, and dress up and cover your baby accordingly. Proper covering would protect your baby from getting cold or feeling hot.
If your baby keeps crying continuously throughout the night, then chances are they are not feeling well. In such cases, you should probably take your baby to hospital or consult your doctor for proper health consultation.