Getting Baby to Sleep

Posted by Ranie Denver on January 27, 2015

So you can't get your new baby to sleep at night? 

I never had a bit of problem with my three kids so I will tell you how to handle it. Right. My youngest daughter was such a light sleeper that she would wake up if anyone walked into the room. I would rock her and eventually she would drift off to sleep, but I couldn't put her down without waking her up. I would sit beside her on the bed and she would go to sleep, but I couldn't get up, no matter how careful I was, without waking her up.

What's a parent to do? Wait until they grow out of it? Far be it from me to tell you how to make your kids go to sleep (you can't), but I learned a few tricks along the way that might help.

Realize right off the bat that you are the adult. Now, that doesn't mean you pull rank whenever you want something. It means that you are mature enough to change your attitudes and your schedule to accommodate your baby. He doesn't have the ability to stop wetting his diaper and he doesn't have the ability to be hungry or sleepy on a schedule without some gentle guidance.

Bedtime rituals should be soothing and calming. A full tummy, a warm bath and a snuggly blanket will be signals that sleep time is coming on. Reading a story, a session in the rocking chair or singing to a baby can be part of it, but not the last thing before sleep.

What the baby sees, hears and feels when he is drifting off is what he expects when he wakes up. If he sees you and hears you singing or reading and he wakes up later and you're not there, it will frighten or upset him, so you will need to get up and soothe him back to sleep. The difference between light and dark, Mom or Dad's presence and being alone, the sound of voices or absolute quiet can cause confusion in baby's mind.

The same things that keep adults awake can keep a baby awake. Too much light, too much noise, discomfort due to pain or a stuffy nose, too cold, too hot... or having a wet diaper, which is exclusively a baby thing. Simply make your baby comfortable.

Embrace sleep yourself as something natural and pleasant. Babies takes their cues from parents and if you're anxious for them to go to sleep so you can do other things, they will pick up on the anxiety and not relax. For the older toddler, stretch, yawn and remark that you are looking forward to going to sleep. Mean it! Kids know when you're faking. When you become drowsy, say so in such a way that they see it's a pleasant state to be in.

Discomfort and feelings of insecurity or fear make babies not want to sleep, so once these are minimized as much as you possibly can, sleep can become a good thing and your baby will welcome it, or at least not fight it. Then maybe you can sleep, too!