There are some things in life we just can’t get enough of. Weekend family time. The changing color of the leaves come fall. Those chocolates hotels leave on pillows. And, of course, good sleep advice.
In fact, we’re on the constant lookout for helpful tips and tricks when it comes to improving zzz’s for babies and parents. So we thought we’d share a few with you.
Here are some of our favorite tips from some of our favorite sleep experts:
“Pick out the times of the day that you are most tired, for example 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Lie down with your baby at these times every day for about a week to get your baby used to a daytime nap routine. This also sets you up to get some much-needed daytime rest rather than be tempted to ‘finally get something done’ while baby is napping. Babies who have consistent nap routines during the day are more likely to sleep longer stretches at night.”
“Children should have a dedicated place to sleep, not several places to sleep. As adults, we have one bedroom, not multiple places where we sleep at night. So you want to dedicate a room, whether you’re co-sleeping, bed-sharing or the child has their own individual room. There should be a designated area where the baby sleeps day and night.”
“When you have a little baby, it’s OK to rock them to sleep and nurse them to sleep…However, they will get dependent on that. You [need to] feed your baby, swaddle your baby, turn on the white noise, and rock your baby to sleep. Then you slide them into the crib or bassinet and you wake them up — you tickle their feet or something and you wake them a little bit. They’re drowsy, they’re kind of drunk from the milk a little bit. They’re swaddled, they have the white noise, so they tend to fall back asleep in five to 10 seconds. Or, at most, you jiggle the crib a little bit to get them back to sleep. In those 10 seconds, they’re learning how to put themselves back to sleep in the middle of the night, without your help.”
“A gentle rubdown feels good (for both baby and parent!). But studies also suggest that a massage before bed increases melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone) in infants. Ready to apply some hands-on magic? Pick a spot that’s comfy and warm, and keep in mind that stroking away from the heart (from thigh to ankle, for example) is especially soothing.”
“If you are traveling to a different time zone, consider starting to modify your child’s daily routine by either 15 minutes earlier or 15 minutes later each day for a week before leaving on your vacation. These daily small changes will help get your child in tune with your destination’s difference in time and enable sleep to happen more easily.”
“Having worked with families for nearly two decades, it’s become really clear to me that babies and children are incredibly sensitive to parents’ mood and energy. Unfortunately, that means that your stress can show up as their fussiness or agitation. But the good news is that they respond incredibly well to your calm, too. And calm babies usually cry less, sleep and feed better, and have a much easier time managing the ups and downs of life. The easiest way to find calm no matter what is happening with your baby is to take several big, deep breaths as you attend to her. This can have an immediate calming effect on your child.”