People that claim to "sleep like a baby" most probably don't have a baby. Putting a baby in bed is usually an adventure, depending on the baby's temper and the ever changing circumstances. Our pediatrician has many tips for us and so do other mums that use to manage through trial and error. Every baby has its own temper and it is only through trying new things that we can find what works and what doesn't to make a baby sleep well for longer. The good news is that kounia bella is a true helping hand by nature as it helps a baby fall asleep, mimicing mommy's hug.
• Your baby may not talk yet but in a way it does. Listen to him or her and respect their preferences and temper. While one baby is an owl another baby is an early bird so it would be a good start to have a plan depending on their nature.
• It usually is very helpful to follow a sleep routine and prepair the baby to start connecting sleep time with certain pleasant and relaxing activities such as a warm bath right before nap time, a massage right after bathing using lavender oil, listening to peaceful music, singing a lullaby or telling a story with a calming voice. Soon your baby will link the activity to sleep.
• Always lay your on his or her back. Research has indicated that to protect your child from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) you have to avoid the prone position and always lay the baby on his or her back. In any case make sure the baby has burped before laying it down.
• Don't be anxious because your baby will be anxious too. Give your baby all the time he or she needs, respecting their own pace and don't by any means act nervous. Even if your baby is restless or crying before it sleeps try talking calming and this may be all your baby needs, your comforting presence.
• Babies move around while asleep so don't worry if it constantly moves or makes noise or even if she or he wake up for a few minutes. Some infants are particularly energetic even when they start to fall asleep or in order to wake up. You don't have to constantly check if something is wrong because most probably you will wake the baby up. Only check if you suspect the baby is hungry or in an uncomfortable position. Otherwise just wait for few minutes and the baby will fall asleep again. However we should never let them cry to sleep.
• During night feeding hours keep it low key, dim the lights, move peacefully, talk calmly or don't talk at all so that the baby remains relaxed rather than alert. Avoid and hide what usually attracts the baby's attention, however you don't have to exaggerate. The baby should be able to fall asleep with the usual noises around the house. In any case, when it comes to conditions a room that is cool, dark and quite is the best choice.
• Make sure the environment matches the time of the day. A night is peaceful and quite and its natural "light" is the dark. A day is noisy and there is light. Experiment with different light conditions to match your baby's mood so as to make the baby feel comfortable and safe by investing in dimmer switches that mimic the sunset (or sunrise) light.
• Be patient. If the baby is not sick or hungry or uncomfortable due to room temperature or just because it needs a diaper change you don't need to be nervous. Calm down yourself and the baby will follow.
• New borns tend to sleep for an average of 16-18 hours, infants for around 14 hours and toddlers for around 12 but other children need more or less sleep. You'll figure this out together.
• Tty not to exhaust yourself because your baby needs you. Ask for your partner's help, when available, especially during the night in order to rest. The more tired and stressed parents are the more anxious the babies. A well rested parent can me more effective when it comes to peace and quite at home.
• If breast feeding avoid caffeine because it remains in your baby's bloodstream for 3 days.
• Always check the quality of the fabrics your baby's clothes are made of and don't forget that some detergents may irritate your baby's skin resulting in restlessness.
• If your baby's nose is congested leave the bathtroom's faucet runnning. Hot water will help the baby breathe better and feel sleepy.
• When teething, give the baby a toy suitable for biting (putting it in the fridge might help cause low temperatures are soothing for the gums) or opt for a chamomile gum gel that will comfort the baby.
• If the baby has colic, be patient and wait for the pain to go while combining any of these soothing and relaxing tips: After a warm bath, which is a good way to start anyway, hug your baby and place your hand on its stomach to keep it warm. Always comfort your baby when it hurts. Keep it close to your chest and let it relax listening to your heartbeat. Lay it on his back and bend his knees to release gas. Massage its little belly in gentle circular motion. Always keep in mind that colic is harmless and has nothing to do with your baby's health or growth. It is just a natural phase and it will naturally pass within 3 months time.
In the end of the day, be realistic. Keeping the baby asleep for a whole night is an ambitious task and if you fail it doesn't mean that you are failing as a parent. Take your time, try to understand your baby's habbits and you'll definitely find your own way to communicate and help your baby (and yourself) benefit from a quality night sleep.