Babies sleep a lot but getting them to sleep when you want them to can be complicated, unless you are one of the lucky few who find putting your baby down for a nap as easy as 1, 2, 3. For the rest of the mums who have not mastered the art of nap time, you can use all the help you can get, because when your baby sleeps better, you’ll sleep better too.
Although there is no magic wand that will make the ritual of sleep-time easy, there are a few tried and tested methods that can make sleep time less of a nightmare and more of a dream. Here are 3 tips to make sleep-time a little more soothing, for both you and your baby.
1. For Your Baby: Winding Down
A steady bedtime ritual is important to implement as it will help your little one wind-down and anticipate what’s to come, i.e. sleep time. Since day-time and night-time sleep routines differ greatly, introducing certain nuances can help lull your baby to sleep. When in the womb, babies are soothed to sleep by motion, and they are wide awake when you’re resting. Research published in the Journal of Current Biology found that carrying your baby in a pouch, sling or even picking them up can help them unwind and find serenity. If that fails, worry not because dimming the lights or closing the curtains, playing some calming music, and even a massage might also do the trick. According to Miami University researchers, babies and toddlers who were massaged for 15 minutes before bed each night, fell asleep more easily within just one month. Once they are calm and dozing, you can either let them fall asleep in your arms or the sling before setting them down to rest in their crib.
2. For You: Watch Your Caffeine Intake
Between changing nappies, reading all the ‘How To” articles you can get your baby-drooled hands on, attending to all life’s daily tasks and trying to avoid all the hacks that come with raising a baby, you may be tempted to drink a few more cups of coffee than recommended. But do note, if you are breastfeeding, the caffeine that’s giving you the boost you so badly crave, could be more counterproductive than you think. Drinking caffeine keeps you awake —great, but it also keeps your baby awake, which is not so great. Moreover, babies take much longer to eliminate caffeine from their systems than you do, so when you have another cup of coffee, you perpetuate the vicious cycle. Thus the best thing to do is to reduce your caffeine intake or swop-out the coffee for an apple, which will boost your energy levels the healthy way.
3. For Mum and Baby: Co-Sleep
By now, the lack of caffeine, baby massages and walking up-and-down has got you feeling rather exhausted. And seeing the word ‘co-sleep’ probably sounds like the best thing on the list thus far. But before you shut your eyes, you need to understand what co-sleeping entails and how it will help you and your baby get a restful sleep.
Co-sleeping simply means sleeping beside or near your baby. Many scientists benefit co-sleeping or shared sleep cycles to long-term emotional health as well as a more peaceful sleep for both mother and child. Just remember that if you are going to sleep in the same bed as your baby that you should follow co-sleeper guidelines. For example, you should avoid sharing a bed with your baby if you are a smoker or if you have consumed alcohol, also ensure that you have a firm mattress, after all, who wants to sleep on an uncomfortable mattress after spending 9 snug months in the womb.
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