Desperate to close their eyes in hopes of getting a small burst of energy, many new parents crave the peaceful slumber they used to have before the baby arrived. They would preach to their childless friends, "Don't take sleep for granted. Enjoy it while you still can."
When I was younger, sleep was always an afterthought since I "knew" that I could make it up anytime. But it wasn't until after I had a child, that something as simple as a bedtime routine would change so drastically.
Night after night, I spent countless hours feeding, changing and soothing my precious baby. It was quickly wearing me out! After doing some research during the few moments of quiet time available, here are a few tips that I found to help you get some much needed zzz's.
Rise with the Sun
Get in the habit of waking up the same time everyday. If your baby is still sleeping, open the blinds and let the sunlight in. The light will naturally wake the baby up and help set their biological clock. The goal is to train the baby to wake up when there is daylight and go back to sleep when it is dark.
Play During the Day
Keep the stimulating activities during the daytime and avoid them at night. Baby will eventually stay more awake during the day and start winding down and become more relaxed when the sun sets.
Create a Bedtime Routine
The baby will begin picking up bedtime cues if you do them consistently before they sleep - for example bathe/change them, put the baby in the crib and turn the lights off. This should calm them down and signal that it is time to fall asleep.
It may take several tries, but eventually, the child will get there. If your baby starts crying, fight the urge to immediately check on them. As the days pass, try to add 5-10 minutes to your response time. Most likely, the baby will go back to sleep on their own.
Maintain a Safe Sleep Environment
Babies spend a lot of time sleeping in their crib so of course you want to make it a safe place for them. Remove any loose items, such as stuffed animals, pillows or blankets, to avoid possible suffocation. If it is cold, swaddle the baby or use a wearable blanket to keep your child warm. For more safety and baby proofing tips, check out Keeping Baby Safe.
Follow these steps and you will be that much closer to a good night's sleep.