Put baby to bed drowsy but awake
When you put your baby to bed drowsy, but not asleep yet it gives your little one the chance to associate falling asleep with being in bed. This way your newborn will be more likely to self-soothe when they wake in their bed in the middle of the night.
Self-soothing is when your baby can calm down, relax and go to sleep again on their bed. Babies who can self-soothe sleep for longer periods and have longer total sleep times at night. Isn’t that what all moms are looking!
If your baby associates falling asleep with rocking or feeding, your baby will want rocking or feeding in the middle of the night when they wake up. I made this mistake with my first born and she woke up every hour and a half and we would have to rock her back to sleep. I don’t know how we got by on that little of sleep and in the end none of us including my daughter slept well.
Here are some ways you can help your baby settle in bed, drowsy but awake:
- Give your baby some time to settle. Avoid picking up your baby as soon as they make a sound. Try and give your baby girl or baby boy a minute or two to settle. But if your baby starts crying, they need comforting.
- Try the patting settling technique. You gently pat your baby until they calm down, but you stop just before sleep comes. A benefit of patting is that your baby is still going to sleep in the cot.
Starting a sleep routine
When it feels right for your baby and you, it can help to start doing things in a similar order each day – for example, feed, play, sleep. A baby sleep routine like this will help your baby settle into a sleep pattern.
So when your baby wakes up during the day, a routine might be to:
- feed your baby
- change his or her diaper
- play and cuddle
- when your baby shows signs of being tired put her/him down for sleep tired signs.
At night, you might choose not to play and instead try and settle your baby straight to sleep.
With a newborn you need to be flexible about feeding and sleep times – but it is still a great doing things in a similar order and will help a lot when they get older.
Do you have any favourite sleep routines? Please share them!
Hi, I am Tanja, a professional Newborn and Maternity Photographer based in Vancouver, BC.