Babies need so many things to stay healthy and grow. Sleep is one of the most important of these needs.
Besides food and water, sleep is the most important thing for your child and you must ensure that he/she gets as many hours of sleep as possible.
As a parent, you also deserve some hours of sleep at night and you can’t enjoy this if your baby doesn’t sleep through the night.
Getting your child to fall asleep may not be a lot of work but having them sleep for as long as necessary in the night can be an issue.
This is especially true when you consider the fact that the baby also needs to feed properly even in the night.
How do you get your baby to get adequate sleep every night? There are many things you can do but the following strategies are effective and safe:
1. Give Your Baby Supervised, Awake Tummy Time Every Day
This is one of the odd but highly effective strategies to get your baby to sleep better at night.
From the moment your child becomes ready for tummy time, ensure that he/she gets enough time on the play mat during the day.
This will not only help the little one sleep better at night but can significantly lower the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
2. Use Light Strategically
In the early days of life, children will sleep for several hours of the day and night. This, however, does not mean that they are not sensitive to light.
They are more likely to wake up in the day time than in the night partly due to different levels of brightness. You should lower the lights about two hours before bedtime to set the mood.
You should avoid switching up the light when your child wakes up or carrying him/her into a brightly lit room or area of your home.
3. Put Your Baby to Bed When He/She Is Drowsy, Not Asleep
Many new parents erroneously assume that the baby needs to be put to bed when he/she is already asleep.
You need to put your little ones to sleep once they are drowsy. This is because when babies sleep off on their own, they are more likely to learn to soothe themselves to sleep.
This doesn’t mean you should drop your baby on the bed when he/she is wide awake. You can soothe the baby until he/she is drowsy.
You need to understand timing and learn to read your child’s behaviour. Once the baby starts quieting down, put him/her to bed before he/she finally nods off.
4. Go To Bed Sooner
If you are the type that sleeps late, it is important that you don’t drag your little ones into it. It is recommended that you go to bed sooner with your baby.
Try to put your baby to sleep between 7:30 and 8 pm every day.
You should also go to bed at the same time and be ready to attend to the baby again when the need arises in the night.
Early bedtime is also great for toddlers as it makes them sleep longer and better.
5. Offer Your Baby One Last Feeding Every Night
Babies need food as much as they need to sleep (if not more). In the early days of life, they can’t stay so many hours without food and you need to consider this when trying to make them sleep through the night.
The healthy and recommended strategy is to offer the child one last feeding every night.
You can wake your infant up for late-night feeding between 10 pm and midnight. This is a proven strategy for getting babies to sleep for longer stretches.
6. Learn To Wait a Moment Before Going to Your Baby
It is not necessary to jump at every squeak you hear over the baby monitor. Doing that will only teach your child to wake up often.
Most often, babies will go back to sleep almost immediately or a few minutes after waking up. You should wait for a while to see if your little one can go back to sleep after appearing to wake up.
This doesn’t mean you should leave the baby until he/she starts howling. Observe for a little if the baby can go back to sleep and step in to soothe him/her only when it is apparent he/she is fully awake.
7. Don’t Always Make Eye Contact When the Baby Is Sleeping
Do you know that most babies are easily stimulated? They are mostly super-sensitive to their environment and will wake when their attentions are signalled.
By simply meeting their gaze, you can engage a baby’s attention and stimulate him/her for playtime.
If you want your little one to sleep more often, try not the make eye contact, especially when it appears they are starting to wake up.
You need to keep your interactions at minimal when night comes so that your baby can sleep better.
8. Don’t Be Too Eager To Change Diaper at Night
While it is important that you change diapers often, it is not necessary to do that every time the baby wakes up.
Taking several minutes to change diapers at night can disrupt your baby’s sleep and makes it very difficult to get him/her back to sleep.
It is recommended that you put your baby in high quality, nighttime diaper at bedtime and wait till morning before a diaper change.
9. Start ‘Sleep Training’ Once Your Baby Is Ready
Sleep training will help to get your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. This, however, is not something you will want to rush.
You have to wait till your baby is ready for sleep training before initiating it. 4 months is the recommended age for this and you should only use healthy techniques.
10. Be Ready For Sleep Pattern Changes
You need to understand that your baby’s sleep pattern will change at certain stages.
Babies and toddlers generally have minor sleep regressions around major developmental milestones.
Do not panic when you notice these changes as they are often not permanent.
Your baby needs to get adequate sleep to grow and develop properly. You, as a parent, deserve some sleep too.
There is a need to get babies to sleep through the night and the strategies discussed here can be very helpful.