February is the month of love, and what’s not to love about sleep? If you are a new parent, you may be frustrated and confused about why your new little one doesn’t seem to love sleep as much as you do. One of the biggest surprises new parents often encounter is learning that their baby needs help when it comes to sleeping and more importantly, sleeping well. Shouldn’t they just close their eyes when they are tired? If only it were that easy!
Some babies are naturally good at putting themselves to sleep, but it’s not usually the norm. Not to worry, there is so much you can do to support your child and help them establish positive sleep habits that will ensure the whole family is feeling well rested.
Go With Their Flow – Circadian Rhythms
It can be hard to change your schedule based on your baby, especially if you don’t want to feel trapped by the clock, but on the other hand, dealing with an overtired, cranky baby is no fun either! We naturally follow a 24-hour clock, which controls changes in the body that help us sleep. After four months of age, babies start to follow those patterns which are called circadian rhythms.
Use this tool to your advantage! Put baby to bed while their body is naturally telling them that it’s ready for sleep and you will notice the following – it will be easier to get them to sleep (no more bouncing, rocking or driving around trying to quiet them) and they will get healthy, restorative sleep making them better rested and happier during awake times. When they aren’t fighting so hard against sleep, they will come to love the comfort and quiet it brings them.
Make the Room Work For You
The environment that your baby sleeps in can make a huge difference in how much they love their sleep. Just like adults, when you create a positive environment for sleep that supports what your baby needs, they will have a much easier time falling asleep.
Here are some tips to try:
- Dim the lights when you start your bedtime or nap time routine. This signals to your little one that things are slowing down and that it is time to get ready to rest. Using a light that gives off a soft glow, like the Mini Star Light, can help set the right mood.
- Make sure the room is the right temperature. The ideal temperature for baby and child sleep is between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. Adding a Gro Egg to your child’s room will allow you to easily know when the room is too warm or too cold.
- Blackout blinds. Your baby’s room should be dark for both daytime and nighttime sleep. A dark room will help with the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone, which will aid in making your baby nice and drowsy and ready for sleep.
- Get cozy. Swaddling young babies with soft organic swaddling blankets (Modern Burlap makes great ones!) or a cozy sleep sack will help them feel secure while also keeping them safe.
Okay, this part isn’t really a tool for your baby, but more of a tip for parents. Learning to be a good sleeper takes practice! And you will need to be patient as your little one figures it out. Be consistent and use a sleep routine that helps both you and baby relax together. Enjoy those sweet snuggles and in time, your baby will start to love sleep just as much as you do!