Sleep is an important part of life, so it should be regular and of good quality. But often the first year of a baby’s life is a real challenge for parents. Even something as seemingly simple as putting a newborn to sleep sometimes becomes a challenge.
The so-called “short nap phase” is a perfectly natural developmental process, but it can be exhausting and disturbing for parents.
In the first months of life, many babies go through a short sleep phase during which nap time is drastically shortened.
What to do to help your child sleep better
When a child sleeps little, daily activities can be very difficult for parents. It’s all the more important for parents to develop a routine and regularity around children’s sleep to avoid overtiredness.
To help your child sleep as much as they need, we’ve put together some helpful tips for you on influencing children’s sleep cycles:
- Don’t look at the clock; look at your child. Try to recognize the signs of fatigue. For example, when a baby yawns, rubs his/her eyes, stares blankly. This will help avoid over-fatigue and long phases of restlessness.
- Feed your child baby formula when they are hungry and, if possible, not because they’ve just awakened and you want to soothe them back to sleep.
- Sometimes you can get your baby to sleep longer, but you don’t have to go over to the crib at the first sounds your baby makes when they wake up. You can safely try to wait a little longer. But please don’t confuse this with outdated “sleep training” methods. If your baby is screaming, don’t leave him or her screaming alone!
- Try not to spend hours trying to put your baby to sleep. If they don’t fall asleep in 10 minutes, they won’t sleep no matter what you do. After just a couple of minutes, you can tell if it’s worth continuing or if it’s time to stop.
- Focus your efforts on what’s important. Take your baby in your arms and rock him/her if he/she is very restless and screaming. But if possible, try to keep rocking the crib.
Everyday rituals that might help your baby fall asleep
Some of the usual evening rituals are:
- Bathing in warm water with your baby’s favorite bath products and a light massage.
- Soothing sounds – “white noise”. These are monotonous noises that have no meaning. They soothe and help babies fall asleep. For example, flowing water, metronome, ticking clock, or records of nature sounds.
- Lullabies and fairy tales.
- Saying “goodnight”, “sweet dreams” or other phrases you only say before bedtime.
- A filling meal of high-quality baby food such as Holle cereal. Just make sure they don’t overeat.
As you can see, there are multiple ways to help your baby fall asleep faster and better. But they
need to be used in accordance with the age of your child, their habits, and the peculiarities of their nervous system. Your task as a parent is to organize your baby’s daily routine and prepare him/her for sleep by calming him/her down and creating positive associations with the process of falling asleep.