Getting your baby to sleep all night is the ultimate parenting goal for year one. But even though you may be doing exactly what worked for baby number one, baby number two might have other ideas. You know to keep the lights low and feed your baby before putting them to bed. But what else can you do to help your baby sleep through the night?
Drowsiness makes for better sleep
Put your baby to sleep when they are drowsy, not fast asleep. Babies who drift off on their own are more likely to fall asleep quickly and learn how to soothe themselves more easily.
Try not to look your baby in the eye. This one sounds odd, we know. But a loving look from you can take your baby from tired to wired before you even have a chance to look away. Make plenty of eye contact during the day – it boosts brain development and bonding, but try to avoid it at night time so your baby knows it is time to sleep.
Darken the room
Win your baby over to the dark side. Lights trigger your babies biological ‘get up and go’ button. If your baby sleeps more during the day than at night, try using dimmer switches in all the rooms your baby might fall asleep in, and gradually dim the lights as bed time approaches so they associate darkness with sleepiness.
Make some noise. Babies spend 9 months in the womb surrounded by noise. Babies love noise – so let them sleep through it. White noise is the best; radio static, nature sounds CDs and even the sound of the dishwasher running. So don’t be afraid to make too much noise around your sleeping tot.
Make the morning bright
When it is time to rise and shine, get into bright light as soon as possible. This tells your baby’s biological clock that it is time to be awake and alert, and this helps your baby associate being awake with day time and being asleep with night time. Head out for a walk, or sit with your baby next to a sunny window.
And remember, the other certainty that comes with motherhood, is that no matter how hard the night-shift was, the sun will always come up tomorrow.