One of the most infamous struggles of early parenthood is sleep, or perhaps in better words, the lack of sleep. While each baby carries unique sleep tendencies, one thing is for certain when you become a parent.
Your sleep is no longer your own.
Some aspects of your child’s sleeping patterns are a part of their nature, and will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to change. But other aspects result from how they have been nurtured, and this is where baby sleep remedies come into play.
So if you need to catch some more ZZZs, test out some of the below remedies. An accurate assessment of each remedy will require you to first make your baby comfortable with the change. This may require up to two weeks in order to make a proper determination. Your little baby girl or boy will likely fight any change initially. But after making gradual adjustments, and allowing enough time for your baby to adapt, then you can determine if these baby sleep remedies are winners.
1. Dim the lights
Bright lights and the resulting shadows will keep your baby alert and awake. As the sun sets and the days darkens, follow a similar schedule in your home. Feel free to keep the light on and shades open during day naps, but try to keep the lights off at all costs at nighttime. Even if you must change a diaper or feed your baby in the middle of the night, try to do so with as little light as possible.
2. Stick to a regular bedtime
Select a strict bedtime for your baby, and stick to it! Experts believe 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. is an appropriate end to the day for babies younger than 1 year. Resist the temptation to occasionally push back or pull forward that time in hopes of an earlier or later awakening. A regular schedule will help to balance your baby’s internal clock.
Give your baby a leg and foot massage before bed, or if he or she wakes up in the middle of the night. The intimate action will not only create a bonding experience between you and your child, but also encourage sleepiness. Use some coconut oil to accompany your soft strokes and moderate pressure, if you desire.
4. Send an aromatic signal
As aromatherapy gains popularity as a tool for health and wellness, use that diffuser you already have laying around to put your baby to sleep! Lavender oil is a good choice of scent, but be careful not to overwhelm your baby. Dilute the oil in an approximate ratio of 1 drop of lavender to 2 tsp of a carrier oil. Get your own pure lavender oil below:
5. Put your baby to bed when drowsy
While rocking a baby to bed, slipping it into its crib and carefully creeping away seems the tried and true method for putting a baby to sleep, studies suggest that this practice might not be the best option for keeping your baby asleep. Try placing your baby in its bed as it grows drowsy, but is not yet asleep. Doing so will teach your child the act of falling asleep on its own.
A warm bath can also prepare your baby for a long night of sleep. Make sure that the bath is relaxing and calm, rather than exciting. Soothe your child with loving strokes, a low voice and a soft washcloth.
7. Get some fresh air
Careful, getting fresh air immediately before bedtime will likely achieve the opposite of drowsiness. But studies have implied that babies who spend time outside — earlier in the afternoon — sleep better than those that don’t.
8. Stay close
The co-sleeping debate is, well, quite the debate and one we’re not about to dive into for the purposes of this article. Sharing a room has been shown to better regulate a baby’s sleep patterns. If you are desperate for sleep, this may be a good option to test out, at least in the first months of childhood.
9. Clear the crib
Extra blankets, stuffed animals and toys in a crib are not only hazardous, but distracting! Top the crib with a fitted sheet, swaddle your baby tightly and clear away any non necessities.
10. Pop in a pacifier
Pacifiers really are all they’re cracked up to be. Select a soft binky to help your baby fall asleep, and then carefully remove it after he or she falls blissfully into dream land. Studies have shown that pacifiers may also prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Is your baby asleep yet? Give you and your child plenty of time to become accustomed to these changes, in hopes that it might encourage positive changes in your baby’s sleeping pattern. These baby sleep remedies just might help you (oh yeah, and your baby) catch some ZZZs!