Who doesn’t love cuddling your baby, kissing them on the head, placing them in their crib, and watching as they soundly drift off to sleep? If only life was that easy, right?
Let’s face it; every single baby is entirely different regarding sleeping habits, routines, and likes and dislikes, so finding a bedtime routine that works for your little one can be a minefield.
The Baby Bedtime Basics
Throughout this feature, I presume you already know that before you even consider putting your baby to bed. You ensure they are well fed, have a clean nappy, have cool, baby-safe sheets, and sleep in the correct environment. If any of these things aren’t in place, then you are running the risk of your baby fighting sleep, no matter how tired they might be.
It is also vital that you ensure your baby is healthy. All the techniques I will discuss with you, keep in mind that your baby is not poorly or suffering from anything such as colic or teething problems. Of course, any discomfort your baby might be experiencing will hinder their sleep.
Before trying any of the following techniques, perfecting your baby’s sleeping environment is essential. After all, they might be new to the world, but they are still highly aware of their surroundings. The wrong temperature, distracting items in the room, or bright lights can affect how easily they fall asleep.
Some of the following techniques will be the same things that help an adult drift off to sleep tonight. Think about what you find relaxing before bedtime, soothing sounds, reading a book, or taking a warm bath.
Another thing to remember is that your baby will pick up on your feelings, so if you’re stressed while trying to comfort your infant, this can transfer to them.
As you can see, there are a few obstacles to overcome before you can think about putting your baby to sleep, but now that those have been covered. Let’s look at the tactics you can implement to help your baby fall asleep in 40 seconds.
1. Sleep Schedule
A sleep schedule is essential for adults, older children, and babies alike. It’s probably the most vital step towards getting a good sleep-wake balance.
Getting your baby into a routine from the very early stages will benefit not just your baby but you and the rest of your family in the long run.
It’s believed that babies are somewhat nocturnal when they’re first born; this is because you’re moving around during the day when pregnant. The rocking motions soothe the baby to sleep in the womb, so when they’re first born, it’s entirely expected for them to wake up when still and silent during the night.
For this reason, it’s your job to introduce a routine to your baby’s life from the day they’re born regarding a sleep schedule.
What your routine is, depends on your circumstances; it can be singing a lullaby, spending an hour feeding in a dimly lit room, playing soothing music, or rocking, basically, whatever works for you and relaxes your baby. Whatever it is, though, should be kept consistent as a nightly motion. This way, your baby will soon realize that these actions indicate it’s almost time to sleep.
As I mentioned, when the baby is in the mother’s womb, they become accustomed to the mother moving around during the day, thus rocking the baby to sleep, which is where the concept is believed to have come from.
Rocking a baby to sleep is a technique that goes back thousands of years, and it has been scientifically proven to help a baby fall asleep.
The concept is simple and can be done in your arms or using a modern-day apparatus such as a bouncing chair or rocking crib.
Before you begin the rocking technique to get your baby to sleep, ensure you have everything in place for them to be put into their crib. For instance, be sure that the transition to their crib won’t be too disruptive. Then make sure they’re dressed in the clothes you instead for them to sleep in, and make sure they’re warm enough, but the room is a comfortable temperature.
3. Sounds And Smells
Another thing you can add to your rocking motion is some soothing sounds. This can be singing them a lullaby, but if you don’t think you have the kind of voice that will send a baby into the land of nod. Try playing one on a speaker or buying something that plays relaxing music when turned on.
You can also use calming scents, another sleeping technique that can work for adults and babies; some of these include lavender and rose. However, please check the safety labels before introducing any scents to your baby’s environment. Never apply essential oils directly to their bedding, clothes, or skin.
4. The Belly Button Technique
Some may believe this belly button method is an old wives tale. However, I have included it in this guide because, from personal experience, it really does work.
Placing your fingers inside your baby’s belly button has a high chance of causing them to drift off to sleep after just 30 seconds. However, this can go one of three ways, it could tickle and cause your baby to laugh, or your hands could be too cold, and it could cause them to cry.
As I say, this is a hit-and-miss technique, but if you’ve tried every other trick in the book, it has to be worth a shot, right?
Some Final Tips
Apart from the techniques I have discussed so far, there are plenty of other simple things. You can introduce your baby’s nightly routine that can determine how quickly they fall asleep. Some of them may seem obvious. However, it could be that you’ve simply never considered them.
- Don’t put your baby in their bed if they appear wide awake or agitated; put calming measures in place to help them feel drowsy before taking them to their crib.
- Ensure you have the ideal sleeping environment; as with adults, the room should be dark, calm, and quiet.
- Make sure your baby isn’t going to bed hungry, and establish a routine that incorporates feeding within the hour leading up to bedtime. A hungry baby will fight sleep or wake up at night.
- Stay consistent; it can be tempting to try something different each night that your baby struggles to fall asleep, but these things won’t happen overnight. They can take a while before your baby starts to recognize the meaning of their new routine.
- Be patient; it will take some time for you and your baby to come to terms with their sleeping habits; losing your patience or becoming overly frustrated will only make your baby anxious. This can escalate any sleep problems. Stay calm, talk in soothing tones, breathe slowly and walk away for five minutes if you feel overwhelmed, (ensure your baby is safe and secure before you do this.)
Taking Everything Into Account
You might be reading this guide at a point where you feel like you’ve tried every trick in the book to get your baby to fall asleep calmly and quickly. However, after looking at this information, you’ve come across one or two tips you hadn’t considered till now, which is my main point here.
I hope that with the information I have concluded, you will be on your way to a relaxing bedtime for you and your baby.
It’s also vital to keep in mind what I talked about at the very start, your baby’s health. Ensuring they are happy, healthy, clean, and well-fed is the best and end-all of a baby’s quality of sleep and life. Keeping up with pediatrician appointments and taking note of any changes in your infant’s behaviors is your first point of call.
Suppose you’re even slightly concerned that your baby might be in pain or feeling discomfort of any kind. When they seem unwell, seek professional medical help immediately.