As a new parent, establishing a sleep routine for your infant is one of the most important things you can do to promote their healthy development. Sleep plays a crucial role in an infant’s physical and cognitive growth, and it also impacts their overall mood and behavior. However, getting your little one on a consistent sleep schedule can be challenging for brand-new (likely very exhausted!) parent.
Let’s explore the top 5 mistakes that parents tend to make when trying to get their infant or toddler to sleep.
Mistake #1: Not Establishing a Routine or Schedule
It’s so important to establish a consistent sleep routine and ACTUALLY stick to it. You don’t need to be legalistic but babies thrive with some level of structure and pattern in their day to day routine. This can help your baby learn WHEN it’s time to eat and sleep and can make bedtime less of a struggle. Establishing a sleep routine for an infant or toddler is important for promoting healthy sleep patterns and habits, regulating the body clock, reducing the likelihood of sleep disturbances, and making bedtime less stressful for both the child and parent. Babies like to know what comes next. This gives them a sense of security and peace and their body begins to become more regulated as time goes on. The routine starts to take root over time and slowly but surely healthy sleep patterns emerge. Their body begins to learn when it’s time to sleep and thus they will get tired at these times.
Mistake #2: Not Allowing Baby to Sleep Enough During the Day
Another mistake I see so often is not providing enough sleep opportunities during the day. Babies need a lot of sleep while they’re in this vital stage of growing and learning. It’s important to make sure they’re getting enough naps during the day to support healthy growth and development. When your little one is showing signs of sleepiness during the day, go with that! Babies sleep window is typically short so take these opportunities to put baby down for a good nap and maybe sneak in some time to rest yourself as well.
Mistake #3: Not Providing the Right Nursery Environment for Good Rest
Babies are accustomed to the dark and noisy environment of the womb, so a bright and quiet room may not be very comfortable for them. However, creating a great sleeping environment for your baby doesn’t require expensive sleep products. You only need a few nursery essentials, such as a white noise sound machine, blackout curtains, and a safe sleeping space, to help establish a conducive sleep environment.
Mistake #4: They Aren’t Swaddled Properly
Swaddling is a technique that recreates the snug environment of the womb, which can prevent newborns from waking themselves up due to the Startle Reflex. However, some parents do not swaddle their baby either because they are not aware of the benefits or because they believe their baby does not like it. If your baby is fighting the swaddle its likely the swaddle isnt snug enough. Using a swaddle blanket like a miracle blanket or an Ollie Swaddle can make swaddling so much easier!
Mistake #5: You’re Interfering With Their Sleep
It is common for babies to make noises like crying, squawking or grunting while sleeping, and sometimes they may even let out a small cry before going back to sleep. When you hear your baby make these noises, it’s often best to give them a moment to see if they can settle themselves back to sleep. Many times they aren’t even actually awake!
Mothers with more than one child may have experienced situations where their baby falls back asleep on their own because they were occupied with their other child and couldn’t attend to the baby right away.
However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean you should ignore your baby’s cries. Instead, take a moment to assess if your baby is truly awake and needs your attention before responding.
Don’t forget about your own sleep needs, too! Taking care of yourself will help you be better equipped to handle those sleepless nights. Don’t be afraid to seek support from friends, family, or a professional if you need it. Tag teaming with your husband can also make the first 3 months quite a bit easier.
I hope these tips help you and your little one get the rest you both need. Sweet dreams!