If you’re a new parent, you may be looking for ways to get your baby to sleep — and to sleep well. As pediatric experts in newborn care at Northeast Pediatric Associates PA, we understand your struggles.
We've had the pleasure of working with countless families to navigate the world of baby sleep. Here, we share six ways you can take a proactive role in helping your child get the rest they need:
1. Establish a consistent bedtime routine
One of the most effective ways to promote healthy sleep habits is to establish a consistent bedtime routine. Babies thrive on predictability, and a well-established routine signals to their little minds that it's time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
This can include activities like a warm bath, a gentle massage, reading a bedtime story, and singing lullabies. Stick to the same routine each night, and watch as your baby starts associating these activities with sleep.
2. Create a soothing sleep environment
A calm and peaceful sleep environment can work wonders for promoting restful sleep. Make sure you keep the room dimly lit, quiet, and cool or warm enough. Consider using a white noise machine or a gentle lullaby to drown out any distracting noises that may disrupt your baby's sleep.
Investing in blackout curtains can also stop excessive light from coming in the room and create a cozy atmosphere.
3. Master the art of swaddling
Swaddling mimics the feeling of being in the womb, providing babies with a sense of security and comfort. This age-old practice can help soothe your little one and promote longer sleep periods. Use a lightweight, breathable swaddle blanket or a swaddle sack to ensure your baby feels snug and secure without overheating.
4. Implement a sleep-friendly feeding schedule
Your baby’s feeding schedule can affect their sleep. Aim to feed your little one at regular intervals throughout the day, and make sure they receive enough nourishment. These actions will help regulate your baby’s internal clock.
Avoid feeding them to sleep, as this can create a dependency on nursing or bottle-feeding to fall asleep. Instead, encourage them to self-soothe by placing them in the crib drowsy but awake.
5. Encourage daytime naps
Contrary to popular belief, skipping daytime naps doesn’t guarantee better nighttime sleep. In fact, overtired babies often struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Help your baby establish a healthy sleep routine by providing regular daytime naps. Watch for their sleepy cues, and create a calm and quiet environment to encourage napping.
6. Be mindful of sleep associations
Babies are quick to develop sleep associations, which are specific cues or conditions they rely on to fall asleep. Though some sleep associations (like a pacifier) are harmless, others, such as rocking or feeding to sleep, can become problematic if your baby wakes up during the night and can’t recreate the exact conditions.
Encourage self-soothing techniques and gradually wean them off sleep associations as they grow.
Your baby is unique and may respond differently to various sleep techniques. However, we’re confident that practicing these hacks with consistency will set your baby on the path to more restful nights.
If you have any concerns or questions about your baby's sleep, don't hesitate to reach out to our team. We have offices in San Antonio, North Central San Antonio, Schertz, and Castroville, Texas. Just call or book online or make a telehealth appointment as a convenient option.