Helping Your Baby to Sleep Better
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Gentle Baby Care
It’s a biological reality and a tiring facet of new parenthood: babies wake up frequently during the night. Luckily, there are a number of ways that you can help your baby sleep better.
Babies make many noises during the night, and not all of these noises mean they need attention. Some of these are sleeping noises, and though your baby may be grunting or whimpering, he isn’t even fully awake. Often he is transitioning between sleep cycles, and if let alone will return to sleep on his own. If your little one is down the hallway and you’re listening in on the monitor, you may find yourself making many trips to the crib only to find that he’s still asleep, or even worse, you may unknowingly be waking him when you enter his room to check on him.
Consider nestling your baby beside you in a co-sleeping bassinet like the Arm’s Reach patented attachment. You can stay in your own bed while you listen to his noises. When you wake up and hear your baby’s sounds, don’t immediately respond — just wait and listen. He may not need your help to return to quiet sleep. Therefore, when he doesn’t fully awaken, neither do you!
If your baby really is waking up, he may just need your touch and reassurance to go back to sleep — simply reach over, pat him, rub him or gently jiggle him and murmur quiet shushing noises. This may be all he needs to return to sleep.
When a pat and a “shh” isn’t enough, your baby likely needs to be fed. It’s important to allow him to remain in a sleepy state and fall back to sleep quickly. Simply pull him close to you for feeding. Avoid unnecessary diaper changes, don’t turn on any lights and don’t play with him — the goal is to help him fall back to sleep quickly so that he will develop longer night sleep spans.
With a little practice you’ll learn how to tell the difference between your baby’s awake noises and sleepy noises. Handling this appropriately will encourage your baby to sleep through the night much sooner.
The Secret to Your Breastfed Baby’s All-Night Sleep
Many babies develop a very strong association between breastfeeding and sleep. Often babies head toward their first birthday and are still waking Mommy up multiple times in the night to nurse.
If your baby is waking every hour or two to breastfeed, you can try to solve this by moving him over to his Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Bassinet after he is done actively nursing, but before he is totally asleep — when his rate of sucking changes to an intermittent fluttery pace (which is more for pacifying than nourishment). Once you move him he can fall asleep independently. You can reach over and pat or rub him as he falls asleep if necessary.
A Co-Sleeping Family’s Best Friend
Families who choose the family bed as their infant’s primary sleeping place will find that the Arm’s Reach solves several of the typical problems that arise from exclusive co-sleeping; naptime and making the change to independent sleep when the time is right.
The first benefit of the Arm’s Reach unit is how it can help your baby to have naptime independence. An endless number of co-sleeping mothers must sleep with their babies for nearly every naptime, since their little one cannot sleep alone. This can be frustrating for a mother who doesn’t want to take a daily nap, has other children to tend to, work to complete or who just needs a little time for herself. A baby will welcome the familiar place for naptime. (Just remember to stay nearby or use a baby monitor to keep an ear on your baby.)
Preparing Your Baby for Independent Sleep
The Arm’s Reach Bedside Co-Sleeper Bassinet is a wonderful tool for preparing your baby for independent sleep. Moving your baby from the family bed is best done gradually, and a bedside attachment is a wonderful first step in independent sleep. Your baby is still very close by, can be easily tended in the night, yet experience solitary sleep that can prepare him for the time when he’ll have his own bed.
Vacation with Your Baby
Since the Arm’s Reach unit folds up easily for traveling, you’ll find that it’s a life-saver when you’re taking baby on a vacation. Trips are notorious sleep disrupters, but bringing your baby’s normal sleeping place along with you can provide security and comfort to allow him to sleep easily in an unusual place. Follow your usual bedtime routine, no matter where you are. If you bring along your baby’s regular bedding and crib toys, and add a familiar sound — such as lullabies or a white noise recording — your little one will be sleeping normally just about anywhere!
Courtesy of ARA Content
Copyright Elizabeth Pantley.
About the Author:
Elizabeth Pantley is the author of several books, including Gentle Baby Care : No-cry, No-fuss, No-worry — Essential Tips for Raising Your Baby, The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, Kid Cooperation (with an introduction by William Sears, MD), Perfect Parenting, as well as her latest The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers and is also president of Better Beginnings, Inc. She is a popular speaker on family issues, and her newsletter, Parent Tips, is seen in schools nationwide. She appears as a regular radio show guest, and has been quoted in Parents, Parenting, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, American Baby, Working Mother, and Woman’s Day magazines. Visit Elizabeth’s web site http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth.
Do you know your baby's birth stone? Birth Flower? How about when you'll be handing over the car keys? Check out our popular Fun Birthday Facts Calculator to discover fun trivia about your baby's birth or due date!