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5 Tips to Help Establish a Healthy Sleep Routine with your Baby

Establishing a Healthy Sleep Routine in your Baby
In the early morning hours, I receive an email from a sleep deprived mom desperate to help her baby establish a healthy sleep routine. For me, this is just another Tuesday, but for my clients it may be the end of their rope.

 

When parents, usually the mom, approach me, it’s typically after several months of long nights with very little sleep for anybody. They’ve typically tried everything they can find online without any success and they’re desperate to find somebody who can finally help.

 

As a certified sleep consultant and mom of four, I’ve learned to treat every child I work with as an individual, but quite often in my experience, there are recurring themes that are often prohibiting sleep and the consolidation and linkage of sleep cycles. So when Evan and MacKenzie at Snuggin approached me about sharing some of my top tips for helping new moms get their little, loved ones into a sleep routine, I knew I had to help.

Tip #1 – Make Sure your Baby’s Sleep Environment is Optimized for Sleep

The most important aspect of setting up a healthy sleep routine for our little ones is making sure their sleep environment is optimal for sleep. Darkness is essential due to light triggering the release of hormones which tell the body to wake up.  It also prevents the production of melatonin which induces sleep. Make life easier on yourself and your baby by blacking out their room. You’ll know the room is dark enough if you are unable to read a book without additional light.

 

Tip #2 – Provide a White Noise

White noise is a great sleep tool for the first 12 months of your child’s life. The white noise provides a good constant sound for our little ones to focus on which helps dull any outside noises or other environmental disturbances. The white noise should be as loud as running water in a shower for it to be effective. When selecting a white noise, search for something that has no beat or rhythm, as an ongoing beat can provide the opposite reaction, causing your child to become stimulated, rather than lulled to sleep.

 

Tip #3 – Consider using a Swaddle

Swaddling is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to get your 0-5 month old to settle to sleep.  It gives your baby a sense of security and simulates the snug feeling they experienced in the womb and helps prevent the moro startle reflex. If you find your baby fighting against the swaddle, be persistent as this is often just how our little ones get comfortable and they’re using their last bit of energy before they go to sleep. Just like us, they are moving around to find their optimal sleep position/feeling. Once your little is able to roll over (typically around 5-6 months) it is time to transition from a swaddle to a sleep sack.

 

Tip #4 – Social Interactions through the Day are Important

Social interactions throughout the day and into the evening are an important part of a healthy sleep routine. From day one we need to help our little ones their circadian rhythm, establishing their days and nights. Begin by ensuring the majority of their social interactions are in the light. During these daylight hours we should keep them active and provide encouragement. In comparison, at night our interactions should be dull and boring. During nighttime feeds, keep the room as dark as possible and ensure your interactions are low energy and quiet to prevent midnight parties.

 

Tip #5 – Introduce a Soothing Toy for Use at Night

A cuddly or a lovey is an effective tool to help our little ones learn to self-soothe and self-settle more easily. The easiest way to introduce a cuddly to your little one is if you are able to wear it under your top for a couple of days to transfer your scent/smell to the cuddly. This will make it smell familiar and help your little one settle easier. Cuddlies are to be only introduced once your little ones are out of a swaddle and have their arms free. Introduce it by giving it to them to hold while feeding/nursing them or during their quiet time or story time.

Helping establish a healthy sleep routine with your baby requires patience and perseverance but if you are diligent and take the right steps, you and your little one can be sleeping through the night before you know it!
Hannah Peterson is a Mom, a fully qualified Pediatric nurse, and a highly experienced and certified infant and toddler sleep consultant who has developed a program to help establish healthy sleep routines in babies through her company Dream Baby Sleep Consultant.

Hannah offers a free 15-minute consult, and encourages moms to reach out to her any time of the day at 602-842-2055.

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