The first several weeks with a newborn might seem as if there’s only time for feeding, diapers, and sleep. That’s pretty normal, but soon you’ll probably start feeling ready enjoy longer sleep at night! Here are three tips to help your baby sleep longer, start adjusting to day and night sleep, and begin a bedtime routine that helps them know it’s bedtime.
Tip #1: Develop healthy sleep props
A “sleep prop” is anything your baby needs in order to fall asleep. Know that there are positive and negative sleep props. Breastfeeding, holding, and rocking your baby are wonderful until neither of you sleep for very long. This is an example of a sleep prop and the reliance will become increasingly harder to overcome as your baby gets older. Helping babies under five months old to sleep is completely fine, for example, holding or rocking to sleep. Beginning around five months you can reduce the amount of time you are helping your child fall to sleep for them to learn that you don’t always put them to sleep.
Tip #2: Create a clear separation between “day” and “night”
Around three and four months old your baby will begin to understand that daytime is for play and nighttime is for sleep. This might seem like a challenge when your newborn seems to do nothing but sleep and wake no matter the time, but here are ways to create a clear separation between the two periods:
· Take your baby outside during the day to enjoy as much fresh air as possible. This helps set their circadian rhythms and encourages them to sleep better at night.
· When your baby wakes at night, stay in his room and keep the lights dim and the conversation to a minimum. He should learn as soon as possible that nighttime is not a time for play.
Tip# 3: Establish a bedtime routine
Establishing a good bedtime routine is a great way to help your baby understand day verses night and start to sleep longer stretches of time at night. A bedtime routine should be a consistent pattern for your little on to start understanding that it’s soon time to sleep.
Here is an example of a bedtime routine:
· Bedtime book or song
· Kisses goodnight and into crib or bassinet
By following a consistent routine, you will teach your baby to look forward to bedtime and anticipate what is about to happen next. Children are creatures of habit and they thrive on routine! You’ll be surprised by how fast your child learns a consistent routine and you can begin as early as two months old with a short bedtime routine!
Use these three tips to help you and your baby enjoy longer nights of sleep sooner. Remember that consistency creates success! It takes time to establish but you and your baby will enjoy more consistent days and nights with these tips. Enjoy your new little one and here’s to happy sleeping!