Poor sleep is quite possibly one of the most common hurdles of being a new parent, but it shouldn’t stay that way for long.
Most experts agree that babies can respond to sleep training as early as 4-6 months old. The good news is that taking the time to sleep train your baby will help you sleep better, too. It also means your child will be set up for successful, healthy sleep patterns that will last far beyond infancy. Here are some tips to get you started.
Make a Routine and Stick to It
Image via Flickr by oksidor
One of the best ways to ensure that your baby is able to fall asleep easily and quickly is to create a routine that you consistently follow each day. If that sounds like it will be hard to work into your lifestyle, start with a sleep time routine — which is a routine you should always follow in the 30-60 minutes leading up to naptime or bedtime. You need to be calm during this period, as a consistent, peaceful routine will help your baby anticipate sleep. Creating a routine is supported by the Weissbluth method.
Design a Nursery Conducive to Good Sleep
Just as you may find it difficult to sleep in a bright or noisy room, your baby will, too. In fact, children tend to be even more sensitive to things like temperature and materials. So, designing your nursery to think about your baby’s sensitive sleep habits will help you support good sleep patterns. You can control other factors, like light, with blackout curtains that you close during naptime. If external noise is a problem, you can block it out using a white noise machine.
More importantly, the environment your baby is in should be kept cool during the summer with a well-maintained HVAC unit. During the winter, you need to ensure your baby has ample insulation to keep them warm. The best temp for good sleep is between 69 F and 73 F, but temperature control is a major factor that goes beyond comfort.
Since babies cannot cover up, move around, or readjust on their own, the wrong temperature could leave them more susceptible to illness, as well. Make sure your HVAC system undergoes proper installation and service, or repair if necessary, to ensure a comfortable sleep setting for your baby.
Be Flexible and Adapt to New Changes
As experts point out, sleep training won’t be a linear process. For instance, when your baby makes a big developmental shift (like taking their first steps), you might see some “regression” in their sleep training or the onset of new habits. Likewise, as they get older and become more capable of self-soothing, their sleep requirements will change and so will the soothing habits you need in your routine.
Ultimately, it’s tough being a new parent, but when it comes to sleep, the main thing you need to focus on is making sure your baby gets enough rest in an environment that’s safe and comfortable to them. If you feel that sleep training isn’t in the cards right now, that’s okay. It’s never too late to start sleep training, so put your family’s needs first and try your own approach until you figure out what works best in your home. Discover more tips here at The Best Baby Sleep Help.
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