Help Your Baby Sleep

Every year National Sleep Awareness Week occurs the first week of March. The week ends with Daylight Savings Time, which falls on Sunday, March 10, 2013 this year. This means that we will lose an hour of sleep on Saturday night as we move the clock forward. Unfortunately, many kids/babies do not get the message that moving the clock forward means to sleep in 1 hour. One hour less of sleep may contribute to more sleep issues for baby and as a result the parents. With that in mind, here are some helpful pointers and facts to create healthy sleep habits for your baby:

1. See this page to find out how much sleep your baby/child should be getting in a 24 hour period.

2. Set a consistent and relaxing bedtime routine. This will teach your baby when it is time to sleep (bath, book, bed). You can start this from the beginning so eventually your baby learns and understands what is happening when the process starts.

3. Keep the nursey environment calm to help them settle and fall asleep – no bright lights, use white noise (machine or app on a tablet/phone), turn on a nightlight, maintain a moderate room temperature.

4. Avoid rocking, singing, bottle feeding or nursing your baby to sleep because if they wake up in the middle of the night, they will get accustomed to needing that to fall asleep again.

5. Set a nap and sleep schedule for your baby.

6. Be flexible – do not expect your baby to sleep through the night from the beginning!  Once your baby starts sleeping through the night, be prepared for setbacks (teething, illness, nightmares, growth spurts, age etc). Your baby’s sleep pattern will change as they grow and know those changes will come!

7. For more help…read any of these books by baby sleep experts.

8. Last but most important is safety – make sure you put your baby to sleep on their back, remove all loose blankets, pillows, toys etc. Keep cords out of reach from the crib and lower your crib mattress as needed so there are no accidental falls from the crib (be ready when your baby starts to sit to lower and when they pull themselves up to standing.