Are you getting enough sleep! Encourage effective sleep habits right from the start and you won’t need to break bad ones down the road!
Take advantage of the window of opportunity (W.O.O.) to encourage healthy sleep habits.
Initially, when a baby comes into the world, he (or she) keeps his eyes closed tight in order to limit the sights and sounds that threaten to overwhelm him. However, around six to eight weeks of life, a tiny baby comes out of his shell, and begins to enjoy his world. He stares at lights, appreciates his hands, gazes into your eyes, and flashes a heart-melting smile. It’s at this precise moment that your baby's big smart brain is busy forming and filing away memories. This is huge! It means at this precise moment, the sleep habits your infant is exposed to are the ones that will stick. This is the window of opportunity to nudge your little guy towards healthy sleep habits. The true beauty of this method is that a young baby is primitive and sensitive, which means only gentle and loving nudges are needed. Wouldn't you rather peacefully instil effective sleep habits than be forced to break bad habits with strong arm techniques?
Step 2Create feel-good bedtimes.
When you surround a new baby with womb-like conditions, he’s able to relax, let go, and fall asleep. Here’s how (think wow):
· White noise
· Oral ease
White noise: After sleeping in surround sound for nine months, babies crave noise. White noise helps lull a baby to sleep as it inundates the ear with so many tones that the brain simply cant distinguish one sound from another, so it surrenders to its calming nature. They key is to ensure that the sound you are using is as loud as a vacuum or blow dryer. Don't be surprised if your baby prefers it blasting; many do.
Oral-ease: Sucking makes babies feel good. In fact, studies show that sucking releases chemicals in the brain that decrease stress, heart rate, blood pressure, and pain. Whether you give your baby a pacifier, finger, or nipple, sucking is your baby's number one calming tool. If you choose a pacifier, offer it after breastfeeding is well-established.
Wrap: There’s a reason why swaddling has been around for centuries. It helps a new baby feel at home and this in turn triggers contentment.
Step 3 Charm your baby into sleepy contentment. Here’s where you wrap your baby in words and lull him to sleep. After you pop your baby in bed, gently stroke and reassure him until he is calm and then step back to allow him to fall asleep on his own.
What if your baby fusses? Stroke his head, pat his tummy, or hold his hand. And if he just cant settle, pick him up and give him a cuddle but, please, please, please, put him back in bed awake, and try again. Let Dad try. Babies associate Mom with milk and this makes it trickier to fall asleep when mom is nearby.
This is a great place to ask your questions. Anything from prenatal to preschool. From feeding to sleeping...ask away!