Newborns and infants have the innate ability to sleep for the majority of the day. Unfortunately, they do it in short bursts throughout both day and night. The biggest struggle some parents have is waiting for their baby to be ready to sleep for a few hours in a row at night, so that mom and dad can get some much-needed rest.
Here are a few things that may help your baby to sleep longer:
- Put your baby to bed when he is drowsy, not after he falls asleep. This can be a challenge, especially if you’re breastfeeding. If your baby is able to drift off to sleep on his own, he’s more likely to fall asleep fast in the long run. He’ll also be more prepared to sooth himself to sleep, which is an important part of staying asleep through the night.
- Don’t look her in the eye. Some babies are just very easily stimulated. A single look or coo from you can excite them greatly, and can undo all of that restful preparation they’ve been doing to that point. This is hard for mom and dad, of course, as there’s nothing quite like watching your baby’s eyes light up when she makes contact with your eyes. Unfortunately, when you make eye contact with a sleepy baby, you inadvertently ask them to move from their sleep zone to an awake state.
- Keep it dark. This should go without saying, but your baby will fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer if the room is dark. Darkness causes the brain to release melatonin, which is one of the key sleep hormones. Accordingly, you’ll want to go ahead and let it be at least a little bit bright during the day, even when baby naps. Consider room-darkening shades to help with the process.
Getting your baby to sleep longer is a process, and it’s one that doesn’t always come easily. Stick to the plan, though, and you’ll find that even the most restless baby is likely to be sleeping through the night within just a few months.