Anyone who has ever watched a baby knows that they are fascinated with everything around them. The whole world is new to them. Every new sight, new sound, new thing to touch, is a whole new experience. Who hasn’t watched as a baby, just beginning to understand how its hands and fingers work, turned a set of keys over and over, admiring the way they look, the way they sound, the way they feel and, to mom’s chagrin, the way they taste. We love watching these precious little ones’ wide eyed wonder as they explore the world around them, and try to offer them as much stimulation as we can. But when it’s time for baby to go to sleep, be careful about offering baby too much stimulation.
One of the ways to make sure baby isn’t overstimulated at sleep time is to make sure to use soft colors in her sleeping area. Pastels are a popular choice, and work very well. Avoid fabrics that have busy patterns. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use sheets and blankets with cute, cuddly characters on them. Just avoid loud colors and patterns.
Also, don’t put baby to sleep with too much stuff around her. Too many things to look at and play with will keep baby’s mind racing, causing her to want to stay awake and play as long as she can. It’s better to lay her down in the dark with only a blanket and, if she’s over a year old, a favorite stuffed animal.
Make sure to keep things as quiet as you can while you’re first trying to get her to sleep. Most babies will sleep through normal conversational tones once they’re asleep, and many will even fall asleep despite them, but it’s generally best to keep the sounds soft for baby while she’s starting to nod off. Speak or sing in a soothing tone to her, and continue to keep sounds down until she falls into a deep sleep. You can tell she’s in a deep sleep cycle when her muscles relax and she stops making facial expressions. When she wakes up, refreshed, she’ll be ready for some stimulation again.