Your bundle of joy is a miracle, a living bunch of potential and creative energy waiting to manifest. At the moment, though, your baby is just up all night. And so are you. Here are six tips to help you corral your baby’s endless enthusiasm into nighttime slumber that leaves you refreshed and better prepared for each day’s adventures in parenting.
1. Ferberization For Fitful Nights
Ferberization, or the Ferber method, is a sleep training technique developed by Dr. Richard Ferber. To implement the method, put your baby to sleep at roughly the same time each night. Your baby should be drowsy but still awake. Be sure to position your baby on its back for safety reasons.
Allow your baby to cry and fret for longer periods each night before returning to comfort and soothe her/him. Start with five-minute intervals of progressive waiting: Wait five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, etc., between comforting sessions until your baby falls asleep.
Do not pick your child up. Merely use comforting sounds. Your presence and your comforting sounds are sufficient to engender a relaxing cue that your baby begins to adhere to readily over time.
2. Encourage Daytime Activity
Whatever you do, try to avoid daytime naps and maintain activity throughout the day, states the Mayo Clinic. Daytime naps throw off sleep patterns among adults and babies, although individuals differ. Daily stimulation essentially keeps your baby awake, resulting in a fairly tired, sleepy baby when bedtime rolls around. It should roll around at the time each night, which can’t be stressed enough.
3. Explore White Noise Sounds
Babies are incredibly light sleepers, often coaxed from sleep or jolted awake by the slightest sounds. Reducing background noise and audio distractions possibly enhances your baby’s sleep comfort and the amount of time she/he slumbers.
Turn on a fan or an artificial white noisemaker at bedtime. White noise drowns out disrupting sounds, and your baby quickly associates the “whoosh” with bedtime, which elicits a Pavlovian response.
4. Take a Minute For Your Baby
Babies are naturally fussy. Some more than others. At bedtime, give your baby a minute to fuss, fidget and cry before she/he discovers just the right position in which to sleep. Soothe your baby with sounds, a reassuring tone quality and positive facial expressions.
Consider giving your baby a pacifier to help with settling down. Pacifiers also reduce the likelihood of SIDS, so they’re definitely worth a second thought. Aim to wean your baby off the pacifier before the end of the first year, preferably by eight to 10 months, according to Parents.com.
5. Reduce Nighttime Feedings
As your baby ages, nighttime feedings become less of a necessity and more of a convenience. Roughly 90 percent of 6-month-old babies can sleep through the night without food. Look to your pediatrician for guidance on when exactly to cease nighttime feedings entirely. In the meantime, instead of rushing to feed your baby, attempt more Ferberization.
If you deliver care to your baby in the wee hours, or even if you decide to give a nighttime feeding, keep it as laid back as possible: Very low lighting, gentle movement, reassuring sounds, etc.
6. Put The Crib or Bassinette In Your Bedroom
It sounds contrary to your goal of attaining a good night’s rest for you and your baby, but it’s not. Placing your baby’s bed close to you decreases the risk of SIDS and the amount of time it takes for you to deliver soothing comfort to your baby.
Since you’ll be sleeping mere feet away, you can soothe your baby back to sleep from the comfort of your own bed. Your baby’s realization that you’re close by during the night reduces stress and separation anxiety.
Bear in mind that the first year of parenting is synonymous with inescapable sleep deprivation. Babies under four months generally slumber in five-hour increments. It gets better, so hold on. Sleep’s coming soon. It usually takes nine months to a year before your baby begins sleeping through the entire night, providing you spend the year implementing habits conducive to this particular goal.