When you have a baby, you accept the fact that you’re going to lose some sleep. It’s just part of the deal. Newborn babies in particular can only sleep two to four hours between feedings. At times, frustrated parents may feel helpless when it comes to getting their little one to sleep. While there is no single sure fire way to guarantee that baby will pass out and stay out, there are some things you can do to help ease your baby into sleep and keep her there.
In most cases, the best thing parents can do for their baby’s sleep (and their own, by extension) is to establish familiar routines before bed time. What you do, exactly, is not nearly as important as the doing the same thing night after night.
Here are some examples of routines that will help ease your baby to sleep:
- Read a story. There are countless baby books, and many of them, curiously enough, are bedtime themed. We wonder if they may have been written by sleepy parents. Good Night, Moon and The Going to Bed Book are excellent examples of good bed time reading for baby.
- Give baby a bath. A nice, warm bath is often the best thing for fussy babies, and babies, like anyone else, are better able to relax when they feel nice and clean. Of course, some babies are stimulated by baths, so judge for yourself whether baths are part of a good bed time routine for you, or whether they’re better earlier in the day.
- Massage. There are several good books and web sites dedicated to baby massage techniques. The long and short of it, though, is that even if you don’t have the technique down, a gentle rub down is relaxing for anyone, and babies in particular.
- Rock your baby. A good glider or rocking chair quickly becomes indispensable for baby parents. Rocking babies to sleep has worked for farther back than anyone can remember.
- Sing a song to baby. Of course, the songs you sing at bedtime should be soothing, and it helps if you keep the bedtime tune selection down to 1-3 songs. This helps baby associate those songs with going to sleep.
Remember, when it comes to bed time routines, it’s not as important what you do as that you do the same things consistently. It’s best to choose two or three things, which you will do every night before bed time. While this won’t guarantee that baby will sleep through the night yet, it will lay a foundation for baby, and help her to associate bed time with relaxing and sleeping.