Baby Sleep: Help Your Baby Wind Down for Sleep
Do you have a little one that fights sleep? Do the waterworks start as soon as the door closes? Are you going back and forth into your child’s room to help them fall asleep? Trust me, you are not alone in the sleep struggle! Check out some reasons and tips on how to make bedtime a breeze.
Here are some of the reasons why your baby might be fighting bedtime sleep:
Timing: It is so easy to miss that perfect little window before sleep! When managing baby sleep, remember to follow age appropriate wake windows and sleep totals.
Too Much Support: Your child might be relying on you to lay with him to fall asleep at night. How your child is put to sleep is how he will expect to fall back asleep with each waking. This is why your child might call out for you at night to lay back down. Sleep props are anything that your child uses to fall asleep. Examples include; laying with your baby/toddler, rocking or bouncing to sleep, using a stroller/car ride, nursing or using a pacifier. White noise is also considered a sleep prop. The less reliant baby is on YOU to provide the sleep prop, the better able baby is to learn independent sleep skills. Choose props for your baby that he is able to use independently (swaddle/sleep sack, white noise, pacifier vs being rocked to sleep).
Too much “Roughhousing”: Dad or Mom might come home late from work and be excited to get that quality time with the kids. It is important to create a calm environment leading up to bedtime. Baths, stories, massages and quiet songs are great calming activities.
If you have a toddler or older kid, here are some additional reasons they might be fighting bedtime:
Screen time before bed: IPAD, Leapfrog, TV, you name it. The blue light emitted from these devices will affect your child’s melatonin levels which makes it more difficult to fall asleep.
Sugary Treats: We all know what happens when our kids eat ice cream too close to bedtime! Encourage your child to eat healthier snacks before bed (if needed). Also encourage snack time to happen before you begin bedtime routine (vs. right before bed!).
Fear of Monsters or the Dark: If you have an older child, they might complain for of monsters or being afraid of the dark. It’s best to try and avoid a nightlight if possible as sometimes they can create shadows which make fears even worse in the middle of the night. If your child insists on using a night light then try to turn it off when you go to sleep (if child accepts). Fear of monsters? Decorate a spray bottle filled with water and spray away those monsters.
How Can We Set Good Routines in Place?
Bedtime relies heavily on how your baby’s sleep plays out throughout the day. Make sure your baby is getting enough sleep and remember too much day sleep can also affect bedtime.
Watch those sleep props. If your baby or toddler is relying on your help (rocking, stroller, nursing) to fall asleep for naps, this will affect your baby’s sleep. Be consistent with day and night sleep!
Give your child plenty of attention/affection while awake vs. asleep. This can be especially important during regressions/developmental leaps, including when your child might be experiencing separation anxiety. A little extra affection (while baby is awake) goes a long way!
Pre-bedtime routine is equally as important. Dim the lights, screens off, calm environment.
Set a consistent bedtime/nap time routine in place. This will help signal sleep. Same goes for adults! Your routine doesn’t have to be long and involved something as simple as saving a special song that you only sing before bedtime and nap time can suffice.
Check your sleep environment: this can play an extremely important role in helping to promote baby sleep! A few things to set in place to help promote a good sleep environment include; dark room (black outs are a must), white noise, cover lights emitted from sound machine or humidifier, no mobiles on crib or night lights. Creating a sleep environment for your little one will help set him/her up for success. This is another way to help your baby learn to sleep independently.
Laura Colacci is a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant and Mom of 3 (4, 4 and 2). She is the founder of New Moon Sleep Co. based in Toronto, ON. Laura offers gentle sleep solutions for babies/toddlers and loves helping families get their sleep back. You can follow Laura on Instagram , Facebook or visit her website.
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League of Moms / 05/28/2019