Whether you are a first- or fourth-time parent, approaching sleep - or the lack thereof - can feel daunting. Although every infant is unique, sleep is vital for all newborns (and for you!). Thankfully, there are some general guidelines that can help create a solid foundation for baby sleep, which will help both of you get a good rest.
The Basics of Baby Sleep
Step 1, it’s important to ensure your baby’s environment is safe for sleep:
- The sleep surface is firm, flat, and has been labeled as a sleep product (not a lounger or a swing, for example).
- The sleep surface is free of any objects for the first year (i.e. pillows, blankets, stuffed animals).
- Your baby is placed on their back to sleep for the first year (if they flip onto their tummy independently, it is safe for them to stay that way).
Step 2, create a bedtime routine (and do a modified version before naptime, too!)
- Aim to create a simple routine in which you and your child do the same things in (relatively) the same order every night in order to cue their brains for sleep.
- For most children between 0 and 24 months of age, the ideal bedtime range is between 7 and 8pm, when their energy levels naturally begin to lull.
- Aim to begin the bedtime routine 15 to 40 minutes before bedtime.
- Some ideas to include in bedtime routines: have a bath; put on diaper and pajamas; feeding; read a story; sing a song; put on swaddle or sleep sack; turn on sound machine; place baby in bed and turn out the lights
Step 3, discover age-appropriate nap schedules:
- At each age and stage in your baby’s development, they will require a different number of naps and varying lengths of awake time in between.
- Using nap schedules and following wake windows as guidelines during the day can help set up your baby for successful night time sleep.
- There are many different resources available online, including this great free resource from TakingCaraBabies.
If your little one still can’t sleep? We’ve got you covered. Here are some general tips to help your baby sleep well:
- Keep your baby active during awake time - stimulating the brain and body can help them to sleep more soundly.
- Keep baby’s sleep environment cool, dark, and quiet (or use a sound machine).
- Encourage baby to fall asleep independently (ie, placing them into bassinet or crib while awake), as this allows them to better consolidate night time sleep.
Sleep is an important part of your little one’s health and development. To help you get the rest you both need, don't hesitate to reach out - we're here to support you! Contact us if you’d like to talk to one of our team members.