New parents have many responsibilities. Close to the top of the list is to develop and nurture good sleep patterns and sleeping habits for their new baby. Newborns need to transition from sleeping with the mother to sleeping alone, but getting your baby to learn to sleep on his own takes some time. However, there are many benefits for both the baby and the parents when this takes place. There are a seemingly endless supply of tips and helpful hints to assist parents with this tricky task. Research and try as many as it takes to find out what works best for your baby and you. Trust your intuition and never give up until you have found that magic combination. The reward of your baby and you both getting a good night of sleep on a consistent basis is worth the effort.
Most of the advice you will find to help with your baby’s sleep deals with establishing schedules, habits and associations for your baby just before and during bedtime. Associating bedtime with sleeping is the goal. The sooner you can achieve that association, the more likely the baby will go to sleep without a struggle. Establishing the differences between daytime and nighttime is something that most advisors seem to ignore. Creating the understanding in your baby the change from being awake during daytime and falling asleep at night is a very valuable step. Here are some methods you can try.
Many times your baby has been very active throughout the day and is too stimulated to relax and fall to sleep. Employ one of those sling-type baby carriers that hold your baby close to your body while allowing you to be free to go about your regular activities around the house. Your baby will love being in close contact with you. This will provide ample time for your baby to calm down slowly from that hyped feeling of stimulation and excitement.
Many times the routine of transitioning between thirty minutes or an hour before bedtime is performed by the mother. This may be working against you. Try this with the father. Just before moving the baby into the bed, have Dad hold and cradle the baby close. His voice is generally much deeper than Mom’s is and often the baby can be more soothed by it. This change in routine can be learned as a triggering mechanism for the baby – “Dad is holding me, it must be almost time for sleep.”
Whether you find it in a listing of baby tips or discover it on your own, one of the methods of transitioning into bedtime is to simply take the baby for a car ride. While this idea may seem to be a perfect “quick fix,” I would advise against it. In the beginning, it may seem like a good deal. After all who wouldn’t trade a little inconvenience for a night of peace and quite and sleep? However, as your baby becomes accustomed to that nightly driving ritual, dependence may develop and it will not take long to become much more than just an inconvenience.
The idea is to begin slowly with these transition techniques. Once you and your baby have found the magic formula and have built an almost automatic routine, then just as slowly transition away from them and into a much more simple bedtime pattern. The goal here is to teach your baby to sleep on its own.
Good Night and enjoy your baby and your rest!