The burning question that parents everywhere are asking: How can I convince my baby to sleep? This dilemma is as old as child-rearing itself and has no shortage of different methods and approaches. Tired mothers and fathers need rest, which is a tall order when your child’s bedtime habits are inconsistent and ever changing. Fortunately there are several tricks that have stood the test of time and focus on a natural approach. So, let’s take a look at some foundational techniques that will help you stay sane and well rested as your little one grows.
What do I need to know about my baby’s sleep habits?
The first thing you should know is that a baby’s sleep patterns will change multiple times in their first year of life. In the newborn phase, it is recommended they should sleep somewhere between 16 to 20 total hours a day, with about one to two hours of awake time in between sleep sessions. For infants past that early phase, those hours adjust down to about 13 to 15 hours of sleep each day.
You should be aware that certain developmental checkpoints can cause sleep regressions. For example, teething and colic can cause more frequent sleep interruptions and emotional turbulence. Though those phases are challenging, try to deploy as much patience as you can. Your baby is trying to navigate a lot of changes, and they are depending on you to help them.
Is it helpful to implement a routine?
Routines are truly the foundation of a good sleep schedule for both parents and child. Although there are many different elements you can integrate, don’t feel like you have to include them all. The usual routine staples are feeding, bath, lotion, book, swaddle, and gentle rocking to soothe your baby. The ideal time to start using a sleep schedule would be when your child is about 8 weeks old.
A good routine should not last longer than about 30-45 minutes. What a routine will do is help your baby associate the difference between nighttime and daytime. When a routine is executed with consistency, most adults find that it stabilizes sleep patterns efficiently. When you finally lay your baby down, it is best if they are not completely asleep but perhaps drowsy. This means your child will learn how to soothe themselves to sleep for that last little bit.
What are some natural aids to encourage my baby to sleep?
You understand your child’s sleeping needs and have established a schedule, but you are still having trouble. It may be time to add a few new elements to encourage a soothing and relaxing environment. Comforting tools could include things like a pacifier, white noise machine, or a swing. Babies, like many adults, love backrubs and gentle massages before they go to bed.
Some natural sleep remedies for babies include medicines you can try, such as homeopathy. Homeopathy can look like small balls of sugar or come in creams or drops. They can be used for all ages, although infant-specific varieties can be found. There are formulas geared toward nightmares, overexcitement, and even anxiety. When in doubt, consult with your pediatrician for recommendations and dosages. Some have found that humidifiers and lightly scented oil diffusers help relax young children, as well.
Natural sleep aids for babies is a multifaceted topic of interest. Sleep is vital for the early growth and development of younger children and infants. Natural approaches can give you peace of mind while also ensuring everyone gets to bed on time. Fluctuating sleep tendencies are quite normal in babies and can be addressed with patience and consistency. Adding a routine to your evening is beneficial and teaches your child how to self soothe and take cues.
If you need to add elements to your environment, it is OK to use swaddles, pacifiers, white noise machines, and other aids to promote restful interaction. Even dosages of aids like homeopathy can be extremely helpful when utilized safely. If your child is displaying symptoms and behaviors that are alarming, consulting with a healthcare professional can help you better understand your baby’s needs. Time, patience, and love will make a team out of you and your little one as you work to create the best sleep habits together.
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