For some babies, the issue isn’t so much falling asleep in the first place as it is staying asleep. Some babies will drift off at a wink, only to wake up every half an hour or hour. This can be just as frustrating for parents as a baby who won’t sleep at all. Some would say it is worse, as just about the time mom and dad fall asleep and think they’re safe, baby wakes up and they have to start all over again.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live with this kind of situation. There are a number of different techniques you can use that may help your baby to sleep longer, letting you have the opportunity for some well-deserved rest. Here are some techniques to try:
- Stay-asleep dressing. One way to help your baby sleep longer is to dress her appropriately. In the early months, this means securely swaddling your baby in a blanket. Older babies will prefer to have a little more freedom of movement. There are even swaddling blankets that you can buy that will help your baby to sleep at night.
- Stay-asleep sounds. Keep the baby’s bedroom quiet. You don’t need to create an environment that’s completely noiseless, but if your baby wakes up with slight or sudden noises, be aware of things like the ringer on the phone, or the dog barking and asking to go outside. Put the dog out early and turn down or off your ringer when you put baby down. You might also consider a sleep CD or MP3. This might include the sound of a ceiling fan, a vacuum cleaner or other soft, repetitive, monotonous recordings.
- Stay-asleep darkness. Consider getting room-darkening shades for baby’s room. This may buy you as much as an extra hour of sleep in the morning if your baby is especially sensitive to light.
While there’s no guarantee that these techniques will work for your baby, the fact of the matter is that most babies will respond positively. If your baby is having severe trouble sleeping or staying asleep, you should talk with your pediatrician about the issue, as it may be indicative of another type of problem.