Getting baby to sleep can be challenging for any new parent, as you know your own restfulness the following day depends upon their comfort. It’s also important to remember that, when it comes to sleep, one size doesn’t fit all, because every baby and every age is different. Maybe you’ve had experience with a previous child, or a niece or nephew – or perhaps this is your first one and you have no idea where to start. Here are a few tips on how to get the little one to bed, and what precautions to take for baby sleep safety.
The first few months can be stressful – you are learning everything you need to know about having a new little one and it is tiring. One of the most important things to know about when it comes to sleep is that SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is responsible for the highest infant mortality rates between the ages of one and twelve months. Research has proven that SIDS occurs at a much higher rate when babies are placed on their stomachs to sleep, so babies should always be placed on their backs in a blanket that prevents them from rolling over.
This is where swaddling comes in – a technique that will keep your baby from being disturbed by her own startle reflex, while keeping them toasty, and preventing little one from moving or rolling when sleeping. Try it after you’ve made sure baby isn’t hungry or wet. Swaddling mimics the feeling of baby being in the womb and will help the transition from that security into the real world. Be sure to have a few baby swaddling blankets for the beginning stages of baby’s life. It is important not to swaddle baby too tightly – improper swaddling by keeping his or her legs bound too tightly can affect the soft cartilage within baby’s joints. After about a month, pay attention to baby’s responses to being swaddled – some of them may prefer more freedom of movement when they aren’t sleeping.
Be sure to feed baby before bed – it will prevent a sooner wake up time. Remember that the goal of baby’s bedtime is twofold: get rest yourself, and meet the emotional and nutritional needs of baby. Remember you cannot force baby into a state of sleep, it is your role to create a comfortable environment that naturally induces slumber. Change baby before feeding, so if he or she falls asleep during, you won’t have to reawaken.
Be open to trying various sleeping arrangements. Do what you feel is right – if separating the infant in the crib seems too extreme initially, then it is fine for the child to lie in between mommy and daddy. Sometimes baby is so sensitive to mommy that he or she can be too close to settle down for the evening, and if this is the case, yet you still want to be near each other, keep a crib near your bed.
Whenever it seems like you can’t make it through another night of screaming, remember how quickly these days pass. In no time, baby will be walking and talking and putting himself to sleep! Cherish the time you have with him in your arms.