Lulling oneself to sleep is consistently difficult. Adults everywhere are struggling with insomnia, inconsistent sleep, and early morning wake up calls. Put a crying infant on top of that and well, good luck! Teaching your baby to sleep through the night may very well be the most important task to embark on in the journey of new parenthood, for your mental and physical health especially. Here are some pieces that may be missing from your sleepy time puzzle.
Create a sleep routine
Repetition, repetition, repetition. Play the same sleepy music, dim the lights to the same level, feed them at the same time - every night. Find the right balance - just the right amount of sways on mommy’s shoulders, just the right amount of snuggles. It’ll be a process of trial and error, but once you start picking up on what works and doesn’t work, create a routine will be easy.
Keep daytime and nighttime feedings and activities very separate and specific
Stimulate your babies senses in the daytime - bright lights, louder sounds, sing to them while you’re feeding, be more affectionate and playful. Do the complete opposite for nighttime feeding - be as quite as possible, no bright lights, don’t do whatever playful maneuvers you did earlier in the day. Make it palpably different so your baby can begin to feel the difference.
Let as much daylight in during the day as possible
Take walks outside, get them use to naps in the daylight. If it’s muggy out or you don’t have a lot of natural light coming through your windows, keep your lights on. I know it’s easy to just let them comfortably fall asleep in a dark room for their daytime naps, but they’ll never be able to learn that night time sleep is supposed to be different and longer than daytime sleep.
Watch for cues
Yawning, rubbing eyes, fussiness - don’t wait to put them down if you’re seeing their sleepy cues. Don’t distract them from these motions, don’t give them anything to grab onto. You have one mission and one mission only, get your babe into bed without any distractions!
Give yourself a break
Sometimes no matter what you do to prepare your baby for a restful night sleep, they have a developing mind of their own and can often times go rogue. Just be mindful, observant, and diligent, and your lil’ one will get the hang of it, eventually.