Let’s face it: when you help your baby sleep better, you help yourself, your spouse and your whole family sleep better too. For young families with infants, toddlers and young kids, every second of shut-eye is precious. Hence, we want to cut to the chase and teach you 6 ways to help your baby sleep better:
- 1) Differentiate day and night
- 2) Stick to a schedule and sleeping plan
- 3) Maintain optimal sleeping surroundings
- 4) Reduce screen time
- 5) Comfort your baby (especially if ill)
- 6) Sleep train your baby
Oh yes, if you have not read, learn the 9 possible problems deterring your baby’s sleep here too. As the Chinese saying from Sun Tzu’s Art of War goes: “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories”, you would always best solve your problem(s) by knowing them first. Yes, it can really be quite a battle!
1) Differentiate day and night
Help your baby sleep better by differentiating day and night clearly for your baby. As our babies grow up, they are adjusting to the normal day-night cycles of our world.
During the daytime, upkeep a schedule of stimulating and enriching activities for your baby. For example, do stuff such as physical activities, music, dancing, reading and experimentation with their senses. However, when dusk arrives, tone down all stimulation gradually. Then, reach a point where you can transit to the strict bedtime routine for your baby.
Additionally, acts like closing the curtains at night, changing into pajamas, and providing warmer milk will help too. Sometimes, in their excitement of learning, babies can regress and forget this differentiation. Hence, it is important to remind them of this differentiation every now and then.
2) Stick to a schedule and sleeping plan
As mentioned, a strict sleeping plan or routine is rather vital. For individual babies and families, this routine may differ. However, they largely comprise of similar components, in any way you wish to order them. Here are our suggestions:
- Shower if necessary
- Dim the lights
- Tone down or turn off any music/sounds
- Draw the curtains or blinds shut
- Turn off all electronic devices like phones and televisions
- Seek your house members / occupants’ help to maintain silent and reduce lights too
- Bring your baby to his or her sleeping place
- Avoid agitating your baby or over-stimulating your baby
- Sing or play very soft gentle lullabies
- Change into pajamas and fresh diapers
- Provide warm milk
- Brush their teeth
- Comfort, hug, kiss or pat your baby for a period of time (keep this duration the same regularly)
- Close your eyes to let your baby know it is time for sleep (for at this time, you could probably be drowsy too)
- Stay relaxed and peaceful as your baby drifts off naturally to sleep
A bedtime routine is equally important to the daytime schedule of activities. Not only will it help your baby differentiate day and night, it will also greatly enhance your baby’s ability to fall asleep naturally!
3) Maintain optimal sleeping surroundings
Thirdly, maintain optimal sleeping surroundings. This works hand in hand with achieving a standard bedtime routine. However, it may require additional preparation. For instance, before your baby is even born, it would be prudent to plan where your baby should sleep. Some parents want to sleep with their baby. Some may want to sleep in separate rooms. Moreover, there are a huge variety of cots nowadays to facilitate any arrangement types!
Ideally, it is the safest for your baby to sleep alone in a secure and stable baby cot. Keep all pillows, bolsters, soft toys and paddings away from your baby during sleep. This will ensure safety and prevent falls, accidents, suffocation, strangulation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Next, try to establish a regular sleep environment with these conditions:
- Dark Room (minimal or no lights)
- Cooling Temperature (not to warm or cold)
- Quiet Surroundings (no traffic, TV, radio or loud conversations near the room)
- Optional: Soothing lullabies or white noise may help your baby fall asleep
In conclusion, planning for optimal sleeping conditions for your baby does require quite some preparation beforehand. Trust us though – it will all be worth it.
4) Reduce screen time
Next, we talk about a hotly regarded topic of “screen time” because screen time can and will adversely affect your baby’s sleep. Honestly, just do a quick google search on “screen time for babies” and you will find hundreds of research articles eschewing effects of screen time. Our medical experts concur too on this. Furthermore, screen time is associated with many other negative consequences on our babies. Now, we certainly want only the best for our babies, right?
So, reduce screen time, or completely cut it off. Stick to any other activity such as reading, exercising, playing toys, learning music, playing instruments and a whole lot more. By doing so, it is proven to help your baby sleep better.
5) Comfort your baby to help your baby sleep better (especially if ill)
Help your baby to sleep better by showering him or her with endearing love. Before we place blame or stress ourselves out, understand that it is perfectly normal for parents to face sleepless nights some times. Quite often, such occasions are inevitable. For one, your baby might be teething or feeling unwell. In addition to bringing your child to see a doctor, and taking medications as prescribed, you should be extra patient and loving to your baby.
Understand too that your baby does not wish to feel unwell, and a mounting fever to fight the infection would make him or her uncomfortable. As such, your baby may not sleep that well during this period of time.
That said, there is little much else you can do except keep on being patient and comforting your baby. Try your best not to show your frustration, anger or stress in the presence of your baby as it may make things worse. Babies are greatly influenced by their caregivers’ mood too! Instead, keep faith that things will improve eventually when your baby recovers from the acute episode of sickness.
6) Sleep train your baby
Finally, sleep training is yet another super hot topic amongst parents. But hold up!
It is deliberate that we save this topic for the last. As much as sleep training is sometimes purported to be the “silver bullet” or “magic pill”, there is more to it than meets the eye.
First of all, it is crucial for parents to understand that “sleep training” should only be “used” as a last resort. We say this on the assumption that “sleep training” is defined as a particular and purposeful method to help your baby sleep better. Scientifically speaking too, sleep training is done via advice from professionals. In fact, following years of research and experts’ advice, you can read a summary of 6 popular sleep-training methods here.
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However, when many layperson (and parents) talk about “sleep training”, they may instead be simply referring to “methods to help your baby sleep better”. In such a scenario, parents are referring actually to tips on helping their babies sleep well. Also, many “sleep training tips” found in support groups or forums are not formally recognized as part of “sleep training”. Yet, we do not deny that many are valuable tips to improve babies’ sleep. Indeed, natural remedies can be quite a craze at times too!
In summary, there could be a thousand and one tips to aid your baby sleep. Some are better and some are meh. With our extensive experience and serious research drilled, we have came down to just these 6 key tips. Earnestly, MEIDE Babysitting hopes these 6 ways to help your baby sleep better would be a life-saver for you and your family in dire sleepless times!
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