Often, new parents are unsure or afraid to put their baby in a bassinet or a crib.  This can lead to more exhaustion for the parents and a less than ideal sleep situation for the baby. While it is ok and also encouraged to hold and love your newborn baby often, they also need to become familiar with being in their crib. This will be their bed for the next two or three years.

This is NOT sleep training (which should NEVER be done with a newborn). Rather, here are a few simple ideas that you can implement right from the beginning in order to assure that your baby will gradually fall into a routine down the road and form better sleep habits.

Here are five things that you can do to help establish healthy sleep habits. Some can even be done before your baby arrives.

  1. One way to assure that your baby will sleep well is to use black-out curtains either in the baby’s nursery or in your bedroom. Note: There is a difference between “Room Darkening” curtains and “Black-out” curtains. Make sure you purchase black-out curtains. Everyone wants their nursery to look perfect and unfortunately, using black-out curtains may affect the look of your nursery, however, it is well worth the investment to have the black-out curtains. Your nursery will still be beautiful!
  2. Science has clearly shown us that red lights do not act as a stimulant (like blue, green white, pink, orange or purple hues do). Red lights have a soothing effect and a much higher wavelength than the other hues of light. In addition, red lights will not block melatonin production. Using red light bulbs in the baby’s room, your room and wherever you would use a night light, (especially if light will shine where the baby will be sleeping) is sure to help with a tranquil transition into a more restful sleep.And, while we are talking about lighting, it is a good idea to get into the practice of turning down lights, and turning off TV’s, smart phones, computers, etc. in the evening hours to prepare you and your baby for bedtime. All of these electronic devices delay the body’s circadian rhythm (Internal clock), suppress the release of melatonin and make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  3. Purchase a quality Sound Machine.  While you are trying to avoid over-stimulation, especially at bedtime, using a sound machine and only using white noise is actually very helpful. White noise contains all of the different frequencies and masks or blocks out other sounds. Unlike other “soothing sounds,” white noise frequencies are equal in intensity and provide an even sound that does not disrupt sleep. You can turn on the white noise machine 15-20 minutes before starting the bedtime or nap routine and leave it on, or you can leave it on continuously throughout the day and night. This way, every time you go into the baby’s room, he will already be conditioned to start the wind down process. Here are a few of my favorite white noise machines:  Lectrofan Micro2 Sleep Sound Machine and Blue Tooth Speaker
    Yogasleep Dohm Classic (Black) The Original White Noise Machine
  4. Swaddle your baby! Swaddling has been around for centuries and for good reason!  There are many benefits to swaddling your baby: it mimics the environment that babies were used to when they were in the womb. Swaddled babies tend to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer than unswaddled babies. It keeps the Moro (startling) reflex from waking or startling a sleeping baby, it typically has a soothing or relaxing effect and finally, the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) still considers swaddling a safe practice if done correctly and it can help babies to stay on their backs, thus reducing the risk of SIDS.

    With the proper swaddle and swaddling correctly, you and your baby can have a more restful night’s sleep. Please note that it is important to make sure your baby is not too warm. It is generally recommended to keep the  temperature of your home set to 68-72 degrees and your baby should only wear one layer more than what you yourself would comfortably wear.

  5. Finally, once your baby has been fed, has a clean diaper and is showing signs of sleepiness, lay your baby down when they are drowsy, but not fully asleep. Simply put, your baby will be very sleepy and very relaxed, but not truly asleep. Your baby will start to know what to do and by around 12-16 weeks of age, many babies can easily fall asleep on their own and just as great, fall back to sleep when they wake up! 

With a little planning, consistency, and commitment on your part, you can actually look forward to helping your baby establish a routine that will not only benefit your baby, but also your entire family.

For more information or for individualized coaching, please contact Lori Wade, “Knoxville Baby Lady” at www.knoxvillebabylady@gmail.com or call 865-719-5485.