Tips for your baby to sleep better

Tips for your baby to sleep better

Here’s a short summary of what you can do to maximize your baby’s ability to sleep during the night in a simple step-by-step format.

Safety first

Always lay your baby down for sleep on his back every time you put him down to rest, and tell this to everyone who may look after your baby. Discuss your baby’s sleep with your pediatrician.

Day and night

Help your baby learn the difference between daytime and nighttime. As soon as you feel able, begin taking your newborn outside everyday for walks. Be active with your baby during the day, and at night limit your interaction keeping things low-key and mellow. Develop a special nighttime routine that is soothing and involves your one-on-one attention such as reading stories and singing lullabies.

Make a decision on where your baby will sleep

Create a safe sleep environment for your baby. I recommend a crib within monitoring distance of your bed, and the Canadian Paediatric Society agrees. If you choose to bring your baby into your bed, do everything you can to minimize risk.

By the time your baby is four-months-old, think about your family’s sleep arrangements. If your baby sleeps in the same bed with you and you do not want to continue this for the long-term, make the change to a crib now, as it will only be harder if you wait.

Gradually delay feedings at night

Delay nighttime feedings perhaps by changing the diaper first. With bottle-fed babies, a delay may already be built-in to the process of preparing the bottle. Delay by only a little at first, and then gradually try and stretch the time between feedings.

Lay your baby down to sleep while she is still awake

When you notice your baby is not falling asleep during feeding, begin laying her down for sleep while she is drowsy but still a little awake. Do not always rock her to sleep. If she drifts off to sleep in your arms, you can try gently nudging your baby awake before laying her down.

Give her the space to figure out how to fall asleep on her own. Pay attention to how she reacts and what sounds she makes.

Give your baby space to fall back to sleep

Once your baby is about six-weeks-old, do not rush to pick him up when he calls for you at night. Give him a chance to self-soothe back to sleep. Learn the differences in your baby’s sounds so you know when you need to respond more quickly, and when you can let him be.

Trouble self-soothing?

If your baby has trouble self-soothing, read this article. Try staying in the room with the lights low, and gradually withdrawing your attention or pretend to sleep yourself, reinforcing the concept of bedtime. Some babies may find it more difficult to learn to self-soothe and you may need to make more of an effort.