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MAXIMISING YOUR BABY’S SLEEP

We’ve talked before about the importance of a regular sleep schedule for your baby.  Below are some tips on how to help your new baby maximize their sleep.  Remember, a well rested baby is a well behaved baby– well most of the time.  And don’t forget to always try to sleep while your baby is sleeping.

  • After the first few weeks, start to develop a night time sleep routine.  Some babies sleep all day and stay up all night.  You can’t live like this, so develop a night time routine where you put the baby down in the early evening even if it appears they are wide awake.  This may be tough for new parents, but stick with the plan and the baby will adjust.

  • Start developing a bedtime routine & set up a regular sleep schedule for your baby.  Each night, do the same routine so the baby will start to sense that it’s time to rest.  Only if you lay the groundwork for bed time will the baby follow.

  • Set a routine and repeat it every night around the same time. This may involve giving your baby a bath, changing him, having a story together and then settling him to sleep.

  • Always try to put your baby down to sleep in the same place. This way your baby will associate that place with sleep time.

  • Keep the babies bedroom dark, cool and quiet. Your baby’s room should be at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. Keep your baby warm during sleep, but not too warm. It should not be too hot or too cold.

  • Do not smoke around the baby or permit your guests to smoke near your baby. Do not allow pets to sleep in baby’s bed.

  • Always put your baby down to sleep on his or her back. Make sure everyone who cares for your baby knows to place your baby on his or her back to sleep.  And talk to your doctor about sleep positions.

  • Avoid sleep surfaces that are too soft. A safe crib is the best place for your baby to sleep. Ensure your baby crib is certified safe. Keep your baby close, but not in your bed during sleep.

  • Work out a simple bedtime routine lullaby or message such as “night, night sleep tight”. Repeat this every night and your baby will also learn this is another cue to sleep.  We would also sing a song called “Tu Tu, Tu Tu.”  It’s a brief melody and it would put our kids to sleep faster than most lullabies.

  • Make sure the sleeping area is dimly lit as bright lights and activity usually keeps babies awake.  This is true for adults too.  Bright lights during sleep do not allow you to reach REM sleep as fast, and bright lights may also prevent you from reaching the essential REM sleep altogether.

  • If your baby wakes up, check to see if he / she needs a diaper change or if your baby is feeling too cold or hot.

  • If your baby wakes after she has settled, stay in the bedroom to soothe her back to sleep.  Don’t always give in and take her out of the room.  Stay in the sleep environment and rock the baby until she goes back to sleep.

  • Play soft lullaby music to help soothe him off to sleep.  Or try classical music or soft jazz.  These both work wonders for our children.  They really appreciate the softs sounds of Miles Davis and even John Coltrane.  We also discovered that our babies really are soothed by the sound of the xylophone– who knew?!?

  • Rocking and walking with baby in your arms often settles a crying baby and gently patting your baby may calm her to sleep.  Sometimes I pat my daughter for five minutes.  She tries o resist the calming rhythm of the patting hand, but is barely able to last longer than three minutes.  It’s so cute to see her fall asleep.

  • Use a white noise machine or try a sound conditioner. The steady hum of the noise is a soothing sound for babies.  We did not have much luck with the white noise music we bought on iTunes, but our favorite radio station worked well.  The point with noise solutions is to find the one that works best  for your baby.

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