Babies wake up in the middle of the night. There really isn’t any way around it. If you’re like most parents, you probably want to help your little one get back to sleep as soon as possible. While babies can’t sleep through the night at first, their midnight snacks don’t need to become three hour affairs, either. Here are some things you can do to help your baby fall back to sleep more quickly:
- Have everything you need for taking care of baby is a convenient location. Preferably, all of your bottles, nipples, burp cloths, diapers, wipes, pacifiers and anything else you might need for a night time wakening should be within arms reach of baby’s crib. Make sure that you keep yourself well stocked. The difference between a brief wake up time for a diaper change and a fussy baby can often be as simple as making sure you have the diapers on hand.
- Make use of every mother’s secret weapon: the rocking chair. Some things endure for generation after generation, as others fade away after a brief time in the spotlight. There’s a reason why rocking chairs have been around so long. They work. After baby has eaten or been changed, a brief session in mom or dad’s arms in the rocking chair is often all that is needed to send her back to dream land.
- Be aware of baby’s needs. This may sound obvious, but being aware of baby’s needs is not always as simple as it sounds. Of course, when they are very young, we can pretty much figure that they need to eat when they wake up. But as babies get older, their range of needs tends to change a bit. Learn when to look for, how to treat, and how to recognize signs of teething, night terrors, and other conditions which can affect baby’s sleep.
- Be aware of baby’s sleep patterns. Babies, just like adults, go through periods of heavy and light sleep. The difference is that babies spend more time in light sleep than adults do. You can recognize light sleep because baby will move, make faces, or make noise. With many babies, lightly rubbing their back or legs can help them stay asleep while they are in light sleep periods. Being aware of what light sleep looks like can help you to prevent baby from waking up (unless she actually needs to) in the first place.
- Use a pacifier. Not only will it help your baby fall back to sleep by allowing her to indulge her natural instinct to suck on something, but it has also been shown to reduce baby’s risk of SIDS.