Bedtime for baby is a glorious time for parents, whether it is napping during the day or bedtime at night. This is the time for weary parents to regroup, refocus and get some rest themselves! As with any other activity, baby’s bedtime should be relaxing,comfortable, secure and safe. You always want to ensure that your child obtains a proper amount of rest and must avoid these 5 baby sleep mistakes you might be making.
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Sending baby to bed with a bottle is absolutely horrible for their teeth. Tooth decay can occur when a baby is put to bed with a bottle (American Dental Association). Bottles should not be used to pacify a fussy baby. Let baby finish their bottle before bed time and then commence with your sleepy-time routine.
No Routine is Not a Good Routine
Be sure that your child has rest times at the same time each night and in their same sleeping space. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, for children 6 months to 6 years, the ‘Brush, Book, Bed’ program. Have children brush their teeth before bed, read their favorite book, and go to bed at a regular time each night.
It’s Too Quiet!
Have you or anyone you know gone around “shushing” everyone to keep quiet because baby is sleeping? Of course we want them to have uninterrupted rest. REM sleep is very important to the baby’s developing brain. But remember not to make things unrealistically quiet by being too quiet. A fan or a white noise machine can provide a relaxing sound that blocks out other household noises.
Rock’N’Roll Sleep Motions
Has your baby become accustomed to being ‘rocked to sleep’? Gentle motions can soothe the baby and calm them down if they are fitful before falling off to sleep, but the rocking sensation should not put baby to sleep. Once baby is calm and no longer fitful, the rocking can end and the snoozing may begin.
Let Them Cry it Out
After you put baby down, they may have a fitful moment or two. This is an opportunity for you to allow self-soothing to take place. Baby may whimper, whine or cry a little, but very often they will quickly settle down and fall into sleep. You may consider to not interrupt those moments of self-soothing to give baby a chance to doze off on their own. Of course, an overly fussy baby may require mommy or daddy’s assistance. New science suggests that allowing your baby to "Cry it Out" may be fundamentally dangerous, altering their brain and development. This fourth trimester is the equivalent of an external womb. Their world has changed, but you haven't. Their cry is essentially a notification that they have a need. Beyond basic eat, sleep and poop needs, all humans beings need love and affection. Giving babies what they need is really a basic right. Tag in a partner, family friend, or postpartum doula to help if you need an extra hand to get the needs met for you and baby.
All babies have unique personalities and needs, so be sure to follow your baby’s cues when it’s sleepy time. This will help to create good sleeping habits and prevent future bedtime battles.
Needing more help getting your baby to sleep? Check out some of our other articles about sleep and babies here.