Tips for settling a baby
Different techniques work for different babies so like everything we do as parents getting your baby to sleep on their own will come from trial and error. Here are some strategies that can help. Likely a combination of a few will be the key to getting your little one off to the land of nod quicker.
- Look for tired cues – It’s important to try to put your baby to bed at the right time, so look out for yawning or eye rubbing. Putting your baby down before they get overtired can really help get them to sleep quicker and more easily.
- Establish a bedtime routine -At a similar time each night let your baby know it’s time to wind down and get ready for sleep. A great routine can include a bath, story or lullaby and a calm environment with no tv, dimmed lights and not too much noise.
- Put them to bed when they are awake, don’t’ rock them to sleep – It can sometimes be easier said than done but to ensure your baby can put themselves to sleep they can’t rely on the rocking motion so placing them in bed settled and tired but not asleep can help them learn to sleep on their own. In saying that rocking them can help calm them if they have gotten overtired.
- Wrap young babies – Another settling technique for younger babies is ensuring they are firmly wrapped. They may feel more calm and secure if they are wrapped firmly as this simulates the familiar and comfortable environment they were use to in the womb.
- Use the support of a dummy – As part of a settling routine a dummy encourages baby’s natural sucking reflex which helps settle and calm them. This is a great technique for settling in your arms as well as transferring them to their cot or bassinet.
- White noise can provide assistance – Some babies, particularly younger ones can find the silence of the night unsettling and find comfort when their parents play white noise as it simulates what they could hear when they were inside.
If you’re unable to settle your baby with the above techniques it’s always worth re-looking at their comfort and checking the usual suspects:
- Full nappy – Do they need to be changed? Are they waking with a full nappy? Do they need to move to the next size?
- Temperature – Are they too cold? With the fear of SIDs parents can easily make their baby too cold but this can impact sleep.
- Hungry – Does your little one need more to eat? In saying that, to avoid bedtime feasts leave sometime between your baby’s feed and bedtime. You want to ensure your baby doesn’t associate feeding and going to sleep as they might become reliant on it to go back to sleep which is not ideal in the middle of the night.
- Teething – Sore gums can wake a baby or make it very difficult for them to settle. Watch out for signs like pressing on their gums or red and swollen gums. Pain relief might be required if you can’t settle your bub.
As a new parent trying to navigate your way it’s best to remember that every baby is different and you should do what works for your family. Also, nothing is permeant so if you fall into a bad habit whilst it might be harder to get out of it you can do it.