Getting babies to sleep at night

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Getting babies to sleep at night is often an issue for parents

Having a newborn is fun, exciting and stressful all at the same time. Parents often deal with the same struggles, which includes getting babies to sleep at night. Attempting to take care of an infant when you haven't had much sleep yourself can be difficult and frustrating. However, you may be able to encourage your little one to doze off by following a few tips.

Be Flexible

There is no rule that states your newborn must snooze in her crib or cradle, so don't feel like you have to get her to rest there. Allow your little one to snooze wherever she will. You can try a swing, a rocker or even the couch. Sometimes, just wrapping your precious one in a comfy blanket is all it takes to get her to drift off to dream land.

You can place her on the couch, just as long as you prevent her from rolling off, or even a bassinet; wherever she and you feel comfortable. Switching up her rest area is also helpful for when she is older, as she can she can spend the night over someone else's house and get comfortable.

Be Realistic

Setting your expectations too high is a surefire way to feel like a failure. Every child is different and will respond to the same techniques in different ways. If your methods aren't working, feel free to switch things up. Just because something you did worked on your other children, doesn't mean it will work on this one.

Additionally, you have to realize getting a newborn to sleep through the night is almost impossible. They become hungry every few hours and will wake up because of it, particularly those who are breast fed. Furthermore, infants will become uncomfortable because of soiled diapers and will also get up for that.

Staying calm throughout the process will help your little one to stay relaxed, too. Getting stressed, even though you are sleep-deprived, will only make things worse. Realize that you will get to sleep eventually.  

Switch Up Sleep Associations

Children who get stuck on one way to fall asleep often struggle because of it, and their parents usually do, as well. Rocking your little one every night in order to get her to doze off creates a pattern that is typically destructive. You don't want her to rely on one particular way to drift off, therefore, alternate what you do every evening.

For instance, rock her one day until she dozes off, but nurse her until she does the next day. Rub her back the next evening and so on. This helps her to become more flexible in her snoozing methods, which is good news for you, as well.

Establishing a Routine

Just because you should alternate sleep associations, doesn't mean you should give up on routines all together. In fact, routines help your child to wind down and get in the mood for dreaming. Even though she is an infant, she will still benefit from this activity.

Start the routine about two hours before you want her to hit the sack and give her a bath. A warm bath can relax just about anyone, including your newborn. Washing her with gentle soap and warm water will help her to calm down and ultimately drift off. You can even use soaps that contain lavender to really help her drift off.

Once she is dried off, put her in a pair of comfy pajamas. The soft fabric can help her relax and get in the mood for snoozing. Hand her a favorite small stuffed animal or tuck in into her crib where she can see it.

Next you can feed her. A full belly is sometimes all it takes to get a newborn to enter dream land, and that's healthy -- and normal. However, if she drifts off this way tonight, attempt to keep her awake for the feeding portion tomorrow.

Once she is fed, sing quiet songs, play soothing music, or read books to her. A rhymthic, soothing  voice can put your little one into a trance, where she can then let snoozing overtake her. Avoid getting too loud or animated, as doing so will only excite and keep her awake.

From here, you can go onto your method of putting her to bed that night.

Getting babies to go sleep at night is all about patience and finding what works. Stay calm and do your best -- that's all you can do.


Ask Dr. Sears: 31 Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep and Stay Asleep

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