The area of infant sleep is somewhat controversial. Some advocate letting babies “cry it out,” while others believe in meeting baby’s needs around the clock. Still others support co-sleeping, while the crib camp points to the advantages of baby having his or her own room.
Following are some tips for helping your baby sleep. None of these tips is intended to advocate or promote a particular parenting style or school of thought; these are tips that are applicable to all sorts of parenting approaches. Here are some ideas.
For young babies, especially newborns, the lights, open space, and cold (relative to the womb) temperatures can be overwhelming. Swaddling, or wrapping your baby closely in blankets, can go a long way to helping baby feel secure enough to sleep.
If you have trouble with swaddling, or it does not seem to be working, try wrapping baby more closely. Remember how tight he or she was in the womb just days or weeks before! It sometimes surprises parents how closely baby needs to be swaddled to feel comfortable. Of course, you should never tie or fasten anything tightly around your baby.
Fans or white noise devices can be very helpful for promoting baby’s sleep. Some parents use an air purifier, or even a radio set on static. Pretty much anything that makes a steady hum and does not pose any risk to baby’s safety will work.
Despite what some sleep trainers claim, you are better suited to make adjustments to your baby’s lifestyle than your baby is to yours. There may be something small that you could do that may make a big difference. For example:
- Baby does not have to sleep in a crib or bed right off the bat. As long as it’s safe, there’s no “wrong” place for a baby to sleep. If baby sleeps well on a blanket on the living room floor, great!
- Try varying how you put baby to sleep. Some experts note that this keeps baby from expecting a particular action – rocking, singing, nursing – in order to fall asleep and fall back asleep. So it’s recommended that you vary your methods for putting baby to sleep.
If babies do not get a lot of cuddling, interaction, touch, and a certain amount of peace and quiet, they may look to have those needs met at night. Try to satisfy your baby’s needs for closeness and touch during the day, and you may find that he or she rests more peacefully at night.