When bedtime comes around, we all know how unpredictable our little ones can be when it comes to sleep. There’s no real schedule to follow by and there’s no manual book.
Some days, you find yourself operating on 2 hours of sleep and on most days, baby’s not sleeping until 3 or 4 in the morning. Who’d knew motherhood would be so tiring? (no pun intended)
The good thing is, it’s possible to change this horrible and exhausting routine. When I had my daughter, she once had her night and day switched at 4 months old and it was the worst switch ever.
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I was mentally and physically exhausted to the max. No energy to do anything. Night and day meant nothing to me and I rarely found motivation to do anything else all because my daughter was sleeping during the day and staying awake at night.
But I’ve learned to use sleep-promotion methods to implement a bedtime routine that worked great for my baby and I.
Up until this day (daughter is 2 years old), I have been able to get my 8-hour sleep and go to work in a better and happier mood.
Let’s take a look at 8 methods you can use to help your baby sleep at night.
Disclaimer: I am not a baby sleep professional but only hope to share methods you can use in creating a sleep routine. I have used some methods below and found it effective in creating a routine that works for me and my baby. For professional advice, please consult with a medical professional or with your baby’s care provider.
1. Read a Book
One of the most common and popular methods to help you create a bedtime routine is to read a book. Reading a book is a great way to encourage brain development and can also be used as a sleep-promotion method.
According to the American Academy of Pediatricians, parent-child home readings help develop cognitive skills. It can encourage brain activity and help with language and visuals.
As your little one grows older, he or she will be able to pick up more words and process more information as well.
Here are some of my favorite books for baby:
2. Use a pacifier
Another way you can help your baby sleep is to use a pacifier as a soother.
Pacifier-use has been known to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and is especially beneficial during the first six months of life. It can calm your baby when he or she is fussy and may also reduce pain and anxiety.
I have used a pacifier with my little one until 21 months of age and throughout the months, it helped her sleep better at night. It was my way of forming a routine that both my daughter and I can follow.
If you’d like to learn more about pacifier use, read on here.
3. Sing a lullaby
On the nights where your baby is unable to sleep, you might want to try lullabies.
Lullabies are soft, gentle songs that encourages brain relaxation. Popular songs like, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” “Hush Little Baby, Don’t Say a Word,” and “Rock-a-Bye Baby,” are great examples to start with.
Not only do lullabies help baby sleep but it also promotes bonding with your baby.
The physical touch of holding your little one skin-to-skin or cradling your baby in your arms gives him or her a sense of security and comfort.
4. Tell a story
Perhaps you want to get creative and try the, “princesses and dragons,” route. Even storytelling can play a role in putting baby to sleep.
The sound of your voice can provide comfort to baby and also, as he or she grows older, it can encourage mental imagery and oral comprehension.
A good way to implement this into your bedtime routine is to first set the mood, and then tell a story after baby finishes feeding or while he or she is feeding.
Need help with stories to tell? Start with these places below:
5. Give a bath
A bath is a great sleep-promotion method because it gives baby a clean and fresh feeling that prepares him or her for a cozy snuggle.
Just how it works effectively on adults after a long, exhausting day, it will do the same for babies.
Giving a bath is one of my favorite methods I use to help my little one sleep.
I began the routine when my daughter was 4 months old and continue to do so today. If I ever skip a night without a bath (happens very few times), my daughter struggles to sleep faster and can take an extra 30-minute to an hour until she sleeps.
When I first implemented this into my daughter’s bedtime routine, I found that using lavender shampoo helped in reducing stress. I used this lavender shampoo and it always smells so good during baths!
6. Set the mood
While you’re exploring sleep-promotion methods, don’t forget to set the mood! This is one extra step that can make all the difference.
To set the mood, there are two things you should consider: noise and light.
With noise, you can implement a quiet bedtime routine or a routine with music or sound. With light, you may want to try a Himalayan lamp, night light, or with no lights.
The best tip is to adopt the same environment you can sleep in so that it works for you and your baby.
For example, I’m a person who always needs quietness to sleep and have implemented the same with my daughter. Now my daughter requires the same quiet environment to sleep as well – which works in my favor!
7. Give a massage
When no other alternative is helping your baby sleep, you may want to try giving a massage instead.
Massages are great in relieving physical stress that has been built up over time. And yes, babies get stressed too!
There are two ways you can give a massage: a body massage or a head massage.
With a body massage, you are slowly massaging your baby’s body from head to toe. You want to massage in circular motion starting from the head, and slowly make your way down to the arms, hands, and body and then legs.
You may use baby lotion to make it easier to massage.
As for a head massage, you are massaging your baby’s head with light, circulating movements that will encourage relaxation for the body and mind.
I’ve tried this method a few times with my daughter and I was surprised how great it worked. It took a good 5-10 minutes to go into effect but it is a great idea to try on days that your baby is fussy.
8. Hum a tune
Rather than singing a song, humming a tune may be an alternative.
The benefits are similar to that of singing a lullaby but the great thing about it is that you don’t have to use words to provide music therapy.
It’s the simple act of humming any tune you know that comes to mind and putting baby to sleep.
You may complement this with the perfect mood (dimmed lights) so that it works even better.
Oh, and one more thing.
If you found this post helpful, please spread the word and share with other moms? They may find it helpful as well!