Every mother remembers those first few months with their child. They fill our lives with so much joy and purpose, making every minute feel like a blessing. It almost feels natural to adjust to our new roles as mothers. However, there is one small challenge that we can’t seem to adjust to – the sleep schedule. Are you awake at hours that no living human should ever experience? Have you tried everything you can to help get your baby to sleep? While it can seem like an impossible task, we’ve found five easy ways that you can help get your baby on a manageable sleep schedule.
Enjoy the Sunshine
Many parents go through what is called a “day-night reversal.” Children that used to sleep through the night just can’t manage to keep their eyes open during the day but lay awake all night. This is commonly caused by a lack of exposure to daylight. A bright light has a strong effect on our natural sleep rhythms, and this can affect babies more than adults. Make sure to get a little daylight with your baby. You’ll likely see your baby sleep better than they ever have before.
Wait it Out
When your baby is crying, our natural instinct is to comfort them. Just because your baby can make it through the night doesn’t mean they’ll be sleeping the entire time. They need to learn to wake themselves up and go back to sleep on their own. Once they’re 6 months or older, you should delay the time it takes to respond to them. The first time they wake up, wait two minutes before entering the room. Give her a comforting pat, then return to your bed. This time, wait five minutes before repeating the cycle. Then ten. It’s important to show your child that you’re there for them, but this is an important skill they need to develop.
Find Alternate Ways to Comfort
Some babies will wake up feeling a little fussy, but picking them up only seems to make them cry more. You can try comforting them from outside the crib by gently resting your hand on their back. Their mother's touch will let them know that you’re there, allowing them to go back to sleep. If they’re seven months or older, you can try speaking softly to them from the doorway. If you hate to leave your child crying, this is an excellent alternative to waiting.
Get in a Routine
If you’ve noticed a significant change in your baby’s sleep schedule, it’s possible that there has been some minor disruption in their daily routine. It could have been the family vacation, or perhaps a change in your daily activities. Try keeping your daily routine solid. This will help you they get back into a natural rhythm, providing more restful sleep.
Sleep is certainly essential to your baby’s development, but the majority of it should take place at night. If they’re unable to sleep through the night, you may want to consider shortening daytime naps. At first, you may find that they are a little more tired during the day. Generally, most mothers notice an improvement in their sleep schedules within a few days.
Written by Emily Green for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.