Lulling your baby to sleep is not an easy task, at least for the first few weeks of his life. But once the routine is set, believe us, a good night sleep is not a far-fetched dream. Here are some strategies which should work for you to steal a wink.
Foremost try to set a routine. Start by getting the baby tuned to his body clock by making him understand the difference between day and night. You can do so by keeping the baby up and active during the daytime (but not too much as to make him cranky, a newborn sleeps for almost 15-16 hours a day), make his surroundings lively and fun which should be toned down to a quiet and soothing atmosphere as evening approaches. This will help in setting the baby’s body-clock and eventually he will learn to associate night time with sleep.
During the bedtime, make everything simple and quick before you put baby to sleep. Changing into night-dress, nursing, giving body massage or singing a lullaby shouldn’t take more than half an hour, otherwise by the time you finish, baby will feel refreshed instead of nodding off. You can also try swaddling (wrapping the baby in a soft blanket) which prevents the baby from waking up when startled by his own reflex action. You should also look for cues and signals. Put your baby to bed when he looks drowsy or tired without waiting for him to fully asleep in your arms. This routine will teach the baby to self-soothe himself, so that when he wakes up in middle of night, he drifts off to sleep all by himself.
With newborn you can cuddle up in the same bed for providing comfort and security, but don’t make it a habit. Once the baby is two or three month old , try other methods like giving a pat on the back to soothe him if he wakes in middle of night or placing a soft toy next to him to give a sense of security. Also make sure his tummy is little full before he goes to sleep, that way baby can sleep for 4-5 hours in a stretch. Middle of the night nursing or changing the diapers should be done quietly and without making any eye-contact with the baby so that he doesn’t get stimulated into waking up.
The next important thing is to keep the conditions in the bedroom right. Put thick curtains to block any light instead use night lamp. If baby wakes up don’t switch on the lights, a brightly lit room will signal him to wake up wide. Remember to turn-off the phone ringer, see to it the bed-spread is not cold and dress the baby according to weather conditions.
Lastly, check for any medical reasons like colic (stomach pain due to gas) nose-block, fever etc. as the reasons behind the baby’s waking up in middle of the night.
P.S. Image courtesy of tungphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net