There’s possibly no other more universal parental desire than that of better baby sleep. Whether you’ve read all the books or you’re just starting on your journey, it’s important to know that every baby is different and every night can be different. There is no perfect solution for sound sleep. Arming yourself with as many tools and as much information as you can is the best strategy. So, here are our essential tips for how to get your baby to sleep better – and we hope you leave yours in the comments below!
Feed and burp your baby. No one sleeps well when they’re hungry, so make sure your baby has a full tummy (that doesn’t have gas bubbles) before you put him to bed. And, be prepared for nighttime feedings for at least the first 6 months (though, some babies wean off of them earlier and some need them longer).
Swaddle. Being firmly wrapped has a calming effect on young babies since they’re used to the cramped quarters of the womb. Try the Cloud b LullaWrap designed to make swaddling simpler. Just fold, tuck and secure (then breathe a sigh of relief). Once they’re a few months old, you can transition to the Lullabag, which gives baby a little more room to wiggle, while still keeping him cozy and safe.
Set the scene. Lower the lights or use something like our Twilight Turtle that projects calming constellations around the room. Then make some noise, ssshhh-ing in your baby’s ear helps re-create the sound of the womb. The Cloud b Sleep Sheep is a great helper, too with proven soothing sounds to lull your babe from coos and cries into calm. Use light-blocking curtains to help keep the room as dark as possible – great for helping baby sleep later in the morning and better during naps.
Be proactive about possible discomfort. Dr. Sears offers the following thoughtful advice for helping your baby sleep better:
Clear the nose. In the early months, babies need clear nasal passages to breathe. Later they can alternatively breathe through their mouth if their nose is blocked. Bedroom inhalant allergies are a common cause of stuffy noses and consequent night-waking. Dust your baby’s bedroom as much as possible.
Relieve teething pain. Even though you may not yet be able to feel baby’s teeth, teething discomfort may start as early as three months and continue off and on all the way through the two-year molars. A wet bedsheet under baby’s head, a drool rash on the cheeks and chin, swollen and tender gums, and a slight fever are telltale clues that teething is the nighttime culprit. What to do? With your doctor’s permission, give appropriate doses of acetaminophen just before parenting your baby to sleep and again in four hours if baby awakens.
Change wet or soiled diapers. Some babies are bothered by wet diapers at night, most are not. If your baby sleeps through wet diapers, there is no need to awaken her for a change – unless you’re treating a persistent diaper rash. Nighttime bowel movements necessitate a change. Here’s a nighttime changing tip: If possible, change the diapers just before a feeding, as baby is likely to fall asleep during or after feeding. Some breastfed babies, however, have a bowel movement during or immediately after a feeding and will need changing again. If you are using cloth diapers, putting two or three diapers on your baby before bedtime will decrease the sensation of wetness.
Remove irritating sleepwear. Some babies cannot settle in synthetic sleepwear. A mother in our practice went through our whole checklist of night-waking causes until she discovered her baby was sensitive to polyester sleepers. Once she changed to 100 percent cotton clothing, her baby slept better. Besides being restless, some babies show skin allergies to new clothing, detergents and fabric softeners by breaking out in a rash.
Hopefully these tips work for you and your baby! Please let us know in the comments if you have other tips for helping babies sleep better!
Don’t forget to check out our full line of award-winning sleep aids – kids LOVE them! Sign up for our #CloudbClub & receive 10% off your order!