Sophisticated Hacks To Get Your Baby To Sleep (All Backed By Science)
21 Dec 2021
Parents expect a few restless nights when raising a newborn baby. But when the screaming goes on for months and months – that’s when things start to get really tough.
The good news, though, is that science is riding to the rescue. It’s unearthing dozens of little hacks that you can use to get your baby to sleep, even if they are refusing to do so.
Check out the advice below if you’re having difficulties.
Toughen Yourself Up A Bit
Do you remember when you were at college and you spent most nights partying until the early hours? In those days, it didn’t matter if you hit the sack at 5 am and had to get up for a lecture at 8 am. You just got on and did it.
You want to adopt a similarly tough-nosed approach to raising a newborn. You’re almost certainly going to have a string of sleepless nights once they arrive. The trick is to prepare yourself psychologically for that event. You don’t have to always get a solid 8 hours of sleep every night. Your body will cope with the odd bit of sleep deprivation here and there.
Put A Pacifier In Their Mouth
Sometimes, it’s not entirely clear what’s irking your baby. You pick them up, pat them on the back, offer them food and nothing seems to work.
Usually, the issue is just one of simple comfort. If they feel safe, they’ll quickly fall back to sleep and forget about the whole episode.
Pacifiers are a great way to achieve results fast. Try one on your baby and see if it has any effect. If it does, then you’re home and free, and you can go back to bed. Your child will probably flop off quickly as well!
If grandma tells you to dip the pacifier in whiskey, ignore her advice.
Some babies love the feeling of being swaddled. It immediately sends them to sleep. Others can’t stand it.
The trick here is to find out which camp your baby falls into. Do you have a child who loves being wrapped up warm? Or does your infant prefer to sleep with as few bed clothes as possible?
Let Your Baby Speak To You
Researchers now believe that babies tell their parents when they are tired, just not in a particularly helpful way. Becoming more vocal is a telltale sign. You’re likely to hear more gurgling, cooing and babbling when they want to rest.
If your baby starts to bat their lashes, pay close attention. This might be a time for them to get some shut-eye – and you too.
Wait Five Minutes
Most parents get straight out of bed the moment they hear their baby crying. It’s just a natural instinct. You want to soothe your child.
However, sometimes if you wait five minutes, the problem will solve itself. The child will stop crying of their own accord and simply fall asleep again.
Many babies become hyperactive in the middle of the night. It’s not their fault. It’s just their body clock.
For parents, though, it can be exhausting. And there seems to be no reason for it.
The good news is that after about 20 minutes or so, the child will usually fall back asleep. If this happens, try changing your baby’s sleep time in 15-minute increments. You may find that they sleep all the way through if you make their bedtimes slightly earlier or later.
Nap Them Often
Regular naps seem like the last thing babies would need to keep them asleep at night. But, interestingly, science is pointing in the opposite direction of common sense. It turns out that a baby who does not sleep during the day can become overtired and, therefore, less able to get shut-eye at night.
When napping, follow age-appropriate schedules for their age. The amount of sleep they need during the day should decline as they get older.
Use More Static Sounds
Static sounds are helpful for people living with tinnitus. However, babies enjoy it too. It helps to drown out all the other noise, allowing them to gently relax and fall asleep.
Today, there are numerous devices you can use for this. They have different types of static sound, not just white noise, so you can play around and see which works best for your baby.
You can also just play sounds through your speakers. However, you’ll need to find a soundtrack online. Hardly anyone uses analog radios anymore.
White noise machines are also part and parcel of creating a safe sleeping environment for your newborn. They allow you to get up for the toilet in the night without the noise you make waking them up.
Put A Hot Water Bottle In Their Crib
Hot water bottles (properly sealed), mimic the sensation of your warm arm on your baby. They can be a great comfort to young children, particularly when you leave the room.
Put a hot water bottle in the crib or use it to replace your arm as you set your baby down. Then once you put the baby down, remove the bottle so that it leaves a nice warm patch for them.
Change Their Diapers Before Bedtime
If your baby is uncomfortable in their diaper, they are much more likely to become restless at night. Don’t allow them to go to sleep with any soiling. Instead, clean it all up and provide them with a fresh diaper until the morning. Yes, they are likely to go during the night, but by changing it now, they are much more likely to be comfortable.
Check Their Eyes
You can tell if a baby is in deep sleep. Their eyes appear to be darting from side to side under their lids. Their muscles relax and they breath deeply.
When placing them in the crib, be sure to lay them down gently. Keep one hand on their back, and the other on their tummy. This way, you can maintain familiar sensations as you move them from your arms to their bed.
Muffle Their Bedroom Door
Creaking and noisy doors are the bane of many parents’ lives. Just when you think you’ve got your child settled, you close the door only to hear a creak, followed by screaming a few seconds later.
Muffle the bedroom door in any way you can. Grease all the hinges with WD40 and use rubber bands on the handles and door frames to stop it slamming. Buy mufflers to fit to the side and bottom of the door.
Use Infant Massage
When you’re finding it tough to soothe your baby, you might want to try infant massage. This involves using special strokes to target stress points across the body to achieve greater relaxation.
You can also try wiping a soft tissue over your baby’s face. Again, this helps to calm them down and make them sleep better.
Buy Blackout Curtains
Many families live in cities with a lot of light pollution. In fact, the problem is so bad that around 50 percent of urban dwellers in Europe and North America never see the stars.
All that light pollution can adversely affect your baby’s sleeping habits. Bright lights send signals to their brain that it’s time for them to wake up – not what you want in the middle of the night.
Fortunately, there’s an easy solution that doesn’t involve petitioning your local politician to eliminate the street lights outside their bedroom window: blackout curtains. These are made of special, double-thick fabric that blocks out the majority of light, ensuring that it is extremely dark in your child’s room.
Reduce The Room Temperature Slightly
Parents generally believe that they need to keep babies warm at all times. However, just like adults, they sleep best when temperatures are slightly lower.
Research shows that 68 degrees F is optimal. That’s slightly cool, but not cold enough to give them hypothermia. When the outside temperature is at this level, your child will feel warm and cozy under their blanket.
Get Into A Routine
Babies love routine. The more they have of it, the better. Setting fixed feeding and sleeping times makes them happy.
The trick here is to make your life as boring as possible so that everything remains the same from one day to the next. Get home from work, go to bed, and get up at the same time every day. Go through your routine mechanically. If it seems boring, just remind yourself that it won’t last forever. Just a few months of Groundhog Day, and you’ll be done. Plus, you won’t have giant bags under your eyes like practically every other parent.
The good news is that there are multiple methods you can use to get your baby to sleep. Researchers are finding that newborns will sleep, so long as you give them the right environment.
Be warned, though, babies that sleep perfectly do not exist. If you notice that yours seems to be sleeping the whole night through every night, take them for a medical checkup. It could actually indicate that there’s something wrong.