Sleep is what most every parent dreams of in the distant future. Babies love predictability. I am not a doctor or in the medical profession. I do love my children and am thankful with a little help I was able help both children have sweet dreams.
I remember the sleepless nights trying to figure it all out. Everyone offering advice and not knowing where to turn. We purchased Harvey Karp, The Happiest Baby, and were watching the dvd at 11:30 pm!! He recommended swaddling, which they taught us in the hospital, and a swing. We packed up our 5 month old baby and headed to WalMart! That was the beginning of our sleep again.
There is no magic way to get your little one to nod off and no two babies are the same. Our first loved to be swaddled and placed in a swing. Our second would have none of the swaddling but love to co-sleep with us. They are 8 and 10 now and we still have our bedtime ritual that helps create a safe, relaxing and nurturing atmosphere.
Let’s talk about ways to encourage sleep:
- Create a bedtime ritual: I believe this is the number one successful advice I took advantage of! Settling your child in for the night isn’t just about putting them into bed. Little ones need a routine and they feel comforted when they come to know what to expect. Infants who go to bed at a reasonable time each night usually have less trouble nodding off on their own and sleeping through the night. Sometimes it might be easier in the moment to let your little one fall asleep in your arms while you watch tv but that routine hurts the child in the long run. We are telling our children you need noise and you need to be in my arms to fall asleep.
Our routine has not changed a lot since they were infants.
- Warm Bath before bed;
- Story time;
- Swaddle your little one (again this didn’t work for our youngest);
- Soft music or some people use white noise;
- Lavender in the diffuser.
Fast forward 9 years and our bedtime ritual looks very similar (minus the swaddling).
- Warm shower or bath before bed;
- Story time (read books together as a family or they are allowed to read in their rooms);
- Oils on their feet (we love Lavender, Peace and Calming, Cedarwood and Valor);
- My favorite is the 10 to 15 minutes snuggled up next to them talking about their day, dreams, concerns and questions;
- Soft music or Audible for another few minutes while they have their alone time;
Our children are normally asleep by 8:45 pm. Find what works for you and your family. The only “rule” is consistency. I am so glad we invested in a bedtime ritual. It has paid off. Now when I need them to put me to bed early they do the same ritual for me…lol.
- Lull your little one into a slumber. If your little one is comforted during breastfeeding or bottle feeding, let them drift off in your arms. Be careful to prevent tooth decay and ear infections, don’t let your little one fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth. Once your baby is sleeping, you or dad can safely place them in their crib.
- Try co-sleeping. This is what worked for our second. We tried swaddling, crib beside the bed but nothing worked. We tried the quickest way for everyone to get a good night sleep was to have him attached to the side of our bed or in our bed as he grew. Try various sleeping arrangements. I’ve found that the easiest and quickest way to resettle your baby when he wakes at night is to have him sleep in your room. You can move your newborn’s crib next to your bed or buy a crib that attaches to the side of your bed. The idea is to comfort your baby before you and he are fully awake.
- Look for the “why” behind your babies sleep trouble. When children wake up crying, and feeding or changing doesn’t provide any comport, check for a stuffy nose, is it too hot or too cold? Does your baby have reflux, food or milk allergies, or ear infection? Talk with your doctor is you believe you have tried everything.
- Tummies: We use Tummiegize from Young Living
- Calm and Soothing: Lavender
Imagination Library – Receive a book a month until your child turns 5.
Just registered our little ones for this great program.