January 30, 2012

Tips for getting your little one to sleep.

I kind of consider myself a self appointed infant sleep whiz. You see, my son, Buggie, was very sleep challenged as an infant. I thought I was going to go crazy! Here are my tips and facts about infant sleep that may aid you in some sleep-filled nights.

1. For the first six to eight weeks of your baby’s life do whatever you can to get them to sleep! That’s right. If baby likes to be carried, invest in a baby carrier whether it’s a sling, wrap or front to back carrier. If baby likes the swing, use the swing. If baby needs to be nursed to sleep or swaddled, do it. At this point you will not create any “bad” habit of sleep for your baby.

2. Develop a nighttime routine early and stick to it. This can be anything from taking a soothing bath, reading bedtime stories, nursing baby, or cuddling baby. For my kids we start quieting down about 20 minutes before actual bedtime, we read three books and finish with Sandra Boynton’s The Going to Bed Book. For
my oldest son, Buggie, whenever we’d start to read The Going to Bed Book to him he’d let out this big sigh and just relax. It’s good for kids to know what to expect and if they know sleep is coming then they can be ready for it.

3. Keep track of how long your baby has been awake and don’t push her to the limit. If your baby is a newborn (especially over six weeks old) the absolute longest length of time she can stay awake is two hours. This was definitely true of my son, Buggie. My youngest, Lady Bug, could only stay awake for an hour
and a half at the longest and that was a rare occasion. Once your baby is six months old and older she can stay awake for three hours at the most between naps.

4. At four months of age babies remember where they were when they fell asleep. I learned this one the hard way with my son. At four months of age, while he fell asleep for his naps and at night well on his own, when he got up to eat at night I bounced and rocked him to sleep still. At precisely four months of age he started getting up 90 minutes after I laid him down. Why? Well, a baby’s sleep cycle is only 90 minutes long. At the end of every sleep cycle all human beings wake up; as adults we just don’t know it b/c the awakening is very brief and we have the ability to soothe ourselves back to sleep. During that awakening, Buggie expected to still be in my arms, me bouncing away and swaying. After that I started making sure that when I laid Buggie down he was drowsy but awake. Problem fixed and I got better sleep too.

5. Early to bed, late to rise. Late to bed, early to rise. It’s contrary to what an adult’s sleep pattern is which was really hard for me to grasp when I first became a mom. The more sleep a baby gets the longer the baby will sleep. It also goes along well with the saying, “sleep begets sleep.”

I think that along with these five tips you’ll hopefully have a happier baby and a more peaceful day and restful night!

Do you have any sleep tips?

Elizabeth (aka Bert) Anderson married her college sweetheart in 2005, and started her journey into motherhood in 2008 with the birth of her son.  She started blogging in 2009 as a way to keep track of her thoughts on being a first time mom, especially her struggle with postpartum depression, and as a way of reaching out to other moms who are struggling with the same things.  This June, Bert had another first in her motherhood travels - a little girl!  Even though she's newly a mother of two, Bert maintains that no matter how many children you have you will always be a "first time mom" because there's a first time for everything!  Visit her blog, at FTM. Bert is a contributor for She Thinks Media.


We love the Going to Bed Book! The early to bed late to rise doesn't seem logical but it does work! I notice if my little guy goes to bed late he gets up early. Thanks for the tips!