Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sleepy Time in Babytown

In their earliest days, babies sleep more than they do any other single thing.  (You've probably noticed.)  But sometimes when they sleep, or more accurately, when they don't sleep, can be an issue.

As part of our "new year, new baby, healthy lifestyle" theme, I want to share some tips that have worked for me, with Emma.  And I want to encourage each of you to join the conversation, either by commenting here or on the Cloud 9 Facebook page, where we have started a new feature called "Tip Jar Thursday" just for the purpose of sharing such helpful tips and ideas.

We are all creatures of habit in a lot of ways, and babies are no different.  So one thing you might try is keeping the baby's bedtime routine the same, as much as possible.

As I said on the first Tip Jar Thursday, we swaddled Emma from the day she came home.  I would darken the room before I took her in.  I'd remain very quiet and low-key as we entered her room, and I'd always say "Night night" as I laid her down.  That is what has worked for us, as she has been a great sleeper!  She knew when we swaddled her, it was sleepy time in Babytown.  And as a bonus, swaddling has been shown to help prevent SIDS!

Here are some other tips, which come from a book called "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" by Tracy Hogg.  (Hogg. 2005, Ballantine Books.)  My husband and I both read it and have found it very helpful.

-Look for the signs.  Like us, babies will yawn when they start to get tired.  I never watched a clock when it came to nap times for Emma, I watched her instead.  Some other signs of sleepiness can be rubbing their eyes, losing interest in toys, or loss of coordination.

-Wind down.  Many adults like to read a book or relax and watch television before going to sleep.  Babies need the same time to unwind.  A bath, massage, rocking your baby, or singing them a lullaby can all serve as a method of winding down for your baby.  I would rock Emma before nap times and bed time, locking eyes with my precious baby.  It was one of my favorite times with her.

-Another thing you might try is putting your baby in their crib before they fall asleep.  If you baby falls asleep in your arms then wakes up in the crib, they could be a bit disoriented, or even scared, wondering "How did I get here?"  Putting your baby down just as their eyelids are starting to get heavy can also help them develop skills needed to go to sleep on their own.

Of course, not every tip works for everyone.  That is why I sincerely hope you will join the conversation.  Let us know what has worked for you, and even what hasn't.  I feel that as a parent, I am constantly learning.  And I hope that by sharing ideas, we can help our children have a healthier, happier lifestyle.

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