Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! Your baby has quickly come in and changed everything in your life for the better. That said, one area that could definitely use some improvement is nighttime. Here are some tips for helping your new baby learn to sleep through the night — so you can too!
1. Set Your Own Expectations
If you’ve just been blessed with your very first baby, you may not be quite ready for the rollercoaster that is a new baby’s sleep habits. As you set your expectations, prepare for incredibly erratic sleep, and lots of nighttime wakeup calls. Then, if your baby happens to sleep peacefully for hours on end, you can be pleasantly surprised!
2. White Noise is Your Friend
Birds chirping, doors creaking or neighbors laughing can be enough to wake your baby up. Remember, newborn babies are used to the regular rush of noise they hear inside the womb, and erratically interrupted silence can feel unnatural to them. That’s why some companies even make womb noise teddy bears. If you want something a little less … creepy, try a fan or a white noise machine. Most computers or tablets can download white noise apps that cost less than $5. Try a bunch of their different settings, from classic white noise to rain to wind to find what your baby likes. Some babies even like the sound of a metronome or ticking clock.
3. Adjust Bedtime
Some parents say an early bedtime is the key to a blissfully sleeping baby. Staying up late may get adults as tired as can be, but missing bedtime may actually make babies cranky, which makes falling asleep even harder. Then again, other parents swear that giving up on a 7 or 8 p.m. bedtime and letting their baby stay up later has made a difference. If you can’t figure out the right bedtime, try to talking to your pediatrician to find a solution that will work for your family.
4. Once You Find the Right Bedtime, Keep it Consistent
We all have a natural rhythm of sleepiness and wakefulness that adjusts depending on our schedules. You can train your baby to become tired at bedtime, as long as that time is consistent. Adjust your dinner plans or birthday parties for your baby those first few months. Your friends will understand, trust us!
5. Try a Soothing Bath Before Bed
Warm water will calm your baby down, and clean skin will help them feel cozy and ready for bed. This bath ritual can also become something your baby associates with sleep, training them to feel drowsy the second they feel the suds on their skin. Plus, they’ll have that clean baby smell that will make you want to cuddle for a couple extra minutes. If only you could bottle it!
6. Empower Your Baby, and Yourself
Babies need to learn how to soothe themselves at night and fall asleep naturally (that is, without a breast, bottle or cuddle). It’s hard at first, but letting them play around, giggle or even cry alone in their crib teaches them this important skill. That said, if your baby is crying at night, follow your own instincts (or your doctor's recommendation) when it comes to intervening. Lully doesn’t condone letting a baby cry it out if something is severely wrong!
These empowerment tactics don’t just train your baby, they train you when it comes to knowing when to step in, and when to stay back. Whatever new tactic you’re trying, give it substantial time to succeed. Stick with it for at least a week before deciding it doesn’t work.
7. Finally, Be Ok with Imperfection
It’s tempting to read every advice article in the world to master sleep for your new baby. That can easily lead to perfectionism, and the neurosis that comes with it. Remember, babies change day after day, and no routine is going to work forever. There isn’t a parent out there that has all the answers, no matter what their blogs say! Your baby will sleep through the night when they’re ready, and no list of tips can rush nature.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the improvisation that is parenthood!