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All parents struggle with getting baby to sleep. Parents must go through this learning process to get their babies to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced that only about half of the infants in the United States go to bed in a way that follows the best medical advice.
My husband and I were so paranoid about how my son was sleeping. We watched him like a hawk in the sky. He’s at the stage where he now wants to sleep on his side, which is becoming scary because we can’t watch to ensure he is ok and doesn’t suffocate.
Thanks to increased awareness about safe sleeping practices for babies, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) cases have fallen by more than 50% in recent years. While progress has been dramatic, there’s still a long way to go.
We knew once he got to a certain age, he could sleep on his tummy with no problem, but he isn’t quite there yet, and it’s freaking us out that he even wants to sleep on his stomach this soon, LOL.
The newborn stage is a very nerve-racking part of new parenting. So many products on the market will help you ensure your baby gets to sleep.
You can tell in your baby’s face if they are getting a good amount of sleep or if it’s something that needs to be looked into further.
Every parent wants to ensure they create a soothing bedtime routine that their little one will love, but that might not always be the case.
Understanding what you must do during infant sleep and your baby’s development can be overwhelming. Still, there are only a few key things that you need to understand and worry about.
This post is about getting baby to sleep.
If you are a Millenial, most of our parents will tell you that when it comes to sleep training, they did what they wanted. Only later did sleep problems because more of a concern and guidance was adjusted for how newborns should sleep. New parents will be tempted to keep soft objects in the crib, but honestly, until your baby is closer to one year old, you should avoid it.
Below is a quick list of the easiest ways to prevent SIDS:
Place your baby on their back.
Lying on their back is the safest position for an infant because their breathing won’t be blocked by having their face against the mattress. Put your baby on their end, even if lying down for just a few minutes.
Forget about nightcaps or hats. It’s best to keep everything away from your baby’s face.
Keeping the Baby Cool
A onesie is usually all that your baby needs to wear. Overheating can also contribute to SIDS.
Skip the blanket
Covers can come loose and twist around a baby or make them too warm. If you think a sheet is necessary, talk with your doctor about how to swaddle correctly.
Clear out the crib
Keep everything else out of the crib beside your baby and their mattress. That includes pillows, bumpers, and stuffed toys. It can be tempting to put items in there for your baby, but in the first weeks of life, it’s not the safest, and it should be as clean as possible. You want to minimize the risk of your baby choking or being smothered.
Breastfeed, if possible
In addition to all the other benefits, breastfeeding babies are less likely to experience SIDS. It’s a good practice for you and your baby because you have to get up to feed every few hours, reducing the risk of SIDS. You should ensure that your baby is in their own bed after feedings. You want to develop this happen early so that later on, you don’t have to worry about transitioning your child out of your bed as they get older.
If you can’t breastfeed in the early weeks, you will still be feeding your baby on demand so that you will be up every few hours.
Immunize your baby
Immunizations appear to protect babies from SIDS, as well as other diseases. However, it’s essential to watch for signs of a reaction after any immunization and seek immediate medical treatment for any concerning symptoms. Follow your pediatrician’s recommendations.
Suppose you are putting your child into daycare. In that case, you must ensure your child has certain immunizations before enrolling them. Depending on where you live, you might be able to delay some vaccines until they are older but again, work with your pediatrician.
No Co-Sleeping, if possible.
Be careful about sharing beds. While some families believe in sleeping together, studies show it can be risky. Someone in the bed could roll over on your baby.
Be especially careful if you’re a heavy sleeper. If you co-sleep in bed, put the baby in something higher up from the bed, so the risk of injury is low. Here is the in-bed co-sleeper we used that you can use around the home, and you don’t have to worry about rolling on your child.
Share a Room
Sleep in the same room. On the other hand, sleeping in the same room can help to keep your baby out of harm’s way. A crib that attaches to your bed may be the ideal way to stay close. Make sure your baby is sleeping on a firm mattress at all times. There are also great co-sleepers that you can put next to your bed as well. Here is a popular co-sleeper that many new parents put on their baby registry.
No Smoking Around Baby
Avoid cigarette smoke. Smoking around your baby can lead to ear infections and other health problems that can lead to lifetime illnesses. If you’re trying to quit smoking, minimizing the risk of SIDS gives you one more good reason. Try a combination of methods if you need extra help with quitting.
Open Line of Communication
Talk with other caregivers. Share these facts about SIDS with everyone who cares for your baby. Get your nanny, babysitter, parents, and in-laws on board. If you ever feel like someone is not practicing safe sleeping practices with your child, let them know and if needed, use other caregivers more in line with your wishes.
Newborn Safe Sleep
While you can’t control diaper changes, it’s a good idea to understand all aspects of your baby’s schedule. Developing a consistent bedtime routine will help you and the baby long-term. Children thrive off consistency, so good sleep habits decrease unexpected night wakings. In the baby’s first year is the highest risk of newborn babies needing to follow a firm sleep schedule.
It can be hard to put your baby in another room, creating separation anxiety for both parents and baby. The best way to approach this is gradual. When doing nighttime feeding in the middle of the night, start by going longer stretches of putting your baby in their room or not checking on them so often. Never leave an unattended baby on the bed since it can begin to roll, which is unsafe.
Sleep regression doesn’t start until the four-month mark, so for a few weeks, you will see an increase in more extended periods of sleep with your newborn and infant. Your baby will have growth spurts which can also mess with sleep patterns, but most of the time, within a 24-hour period, the sleep cycle should return to normal.
If you are looking for a list of basic essentials for newborns, click here to read my blog post on how I got through the newborn phase with my son. I also have a blog post about baby development milestones that you can read here. Both posts detail what to expect before the baby and after the six-month mark.
Baby Sleep Products
After the first couple of months of age, you will start wondering what you can get to help your newborn sleep better. In the early months, some children like using a white noise machine, while others can have hours of sleep and don’t need anything to assist. My son rarely slept in his baby’s crib because he co-slept with us during the first year of life.
When it was time for the daytime naps, he would nap in our bed, and we got bumper pads to prevent him from falling off the bed.
Additional Sleep Suggestions for Babies
- Create tummy time. Lying on a baby’s stomach benefits your baby, as long as they’re awake and you’re watching them. While your baby enjoys playing, they’ll strengthen their muscles and sharpen their motor skills. You can extend tummy time as they get older.
- Work towards a consistent sleep schedule. At first, you’ll need to follow your baby’s lead. Starting at about two months, you’ll probably find that a regular sleeping schedule is becoming more feasible. You can expect to wake up several times during the night.
- Take naps. Take advantage of your baby’s nap times to get some rest for yourself. It’s common for new babies to doze at least four times a day.
- Being a new parent is a tough job. Ask for help. Take advantage of the experience and assistance of others. Let your family know what you need and seek out the support of other parents.
- Use soft music. This can help your baby associate sleep with a soothing sound which can help the baby fall asleep faster and for a long time. You can use it for nap time as well.
Giving your baby a warm bath before going to sleep at night regularly is another great way of tapping into having your baby sleep for longer periods. There are a lot of bath products for babies made with lavender that smell great and help your baby fall asleep. This one by Aveeno is perfect since it comes with lotion as well.
Different Methods of Sleep Training
After a few days with your new baby, you will want to develop a consistent routine to ensure your baby gets deep sleep. In the beginning, it can be challenging. There is so much information, and your medical professional telling you their opinion. It can be hard to determine what method suits you, your family, and your baby. Aveeno doesn’t dry out your baby’s skin. Because they also make adult products, you can use them interchangeably with your child.
This is the “cry it out method” created by Richard Ferber. Before doing this method, ensure you understand how your infant sleeps and if it’s something your baby can tolerate. Your child will be fussy and stressed, and so will you during this time, but make sure you understand this before trying this method since it might not work for you.
Car Seat Sleep Association
When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, sometimes it can discourage you. One of the top ways that parents get their children to go back to sleep is to have the baby ride in the car until they fall asleep. While this is effective for some children, it might not be a suitable method for your baby. Doing this can sometimes make your overtired baby more tired, and it doesn’t lead them to be better sleepers.
Most of the time, two-thirds of babies and young children will fall asleep in the car, but that isn’t the best way to ensure restful sleep since the car seat is not designed for more prolonged sleep.
Pick Up/Put Down
Even though you love to hold your baby, you will have to put them down for them to get a great nighttime sleep. When night feedings happen, there may be times when it takes a while for your baby to fall back asleep. If this happens, you are to let them fall asleep while holding them and then put them down in their crib or sleeping area once they are asleep. This is the best way to reduce the risk of suffocation and develop healthy sleep habits.
Seeking Sleep Consultant
If you find that no one is getting a good night’s sleep, you may want to reach out to s sleep consultant. This professional will either come to the home or meet with you virtually to get an idea of the challenges you are having with your baby.
Sleep consultants will help develop regular bedtimes. If the amount of time your baby is sleeping is getting or needs improvement. An overview of the nap schedule, and create a sleep routine that will work for you and your family. The sleep consultant will also advise if you need additional medical assistance. Since it could be more medical as to why your child is not sleeping, including gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).
Since babies spend more time asleep than awake, it’s up to you to keep them snug and secure while they sleep. Your children will start growing up healthy, and you’ll sleep better, too, knowing that you’ve taken every precaution against SIDS.