As a parent of a baby, quality sleep can seem like a myth. One way to improve your own sleep is to first improve your baby’s. You’ll still need to wake up for feedings and the changing of diapers, but the time in between can be filled with rejuvenating sleep, for the both of you. All it takes is seven easy changes to improve your baby’s rest so you can enjoy yours.
Change #1 – Blackout Shades
For both bedtime and naptime, blackout shades can keep your baby’s nursery cool and comfortable in the summer and calm and peaceful throughout the entire year. Blocking outside light will limit distractions, helping your baby go to sleep and stay asleep. When purchasing blackout shades, make sure to choose a cordless option, keeping the nursery calm, comfortable, and safe for your baby. However, be aware that using blackout shades during naptime can sometimes confuse your child’s understanding of nighttime and daytime, potentially making it more difficult to sleep during the day without blackout shades. But the final choice of when to use blackout shades is up to you. Not all shades are created equal, however. But these blackout shades block out 98% of outside light, allowing that 2% to give a sliver of light, which can help alleviate disorientation. They are also insulated, so they will keep the nursery cool or warm, depending on the season, and even block sound from outside.
Change #2 – White Noise Machine
Babies are easily startled by sudden noise, whether it’s a creak in the crib mattress or the sound of a garbage truck collecting the trash outside. White noise provides a consistent stream of soothing sounds, which helps both babies and adults stay asleep and unaware of many startling noise. Instead of using a white noise machine, you can opt for a fan or even playing calming music. Experiment with different sounds and see which one your baby responds to the best. But make sure to try each one out for a few days before switching. It can take that long to adjust to new noise, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be an effective tool for encouraging a sounder, deeper sleep.
Change #3 – Be Consistent
Consistency can be one of the hardest parts of parenting. Even so, bedtimes and naptimes should generally follow the same routines. That means putting the child down to sleep around the same time. But that isn’t always easy, especially if you’re away from home during naptime. Changing sleep environments can make it difficult to find a great sleeping routine, and a disruption in that routine could wreak havoc for a few days. However, if you stay consistent, your baby will get back on the right sleeping schedule eventually.
Change #4 – More Active Daytime
Make your baby’s days as active as possible. Just as with adults, the more active and the more energy you use during the day, the better you generally sleep at night. The same idea applies to your baby. Play and interact with your baby more throughout the day. Organize a baby play-date and let them crawl around together and interact. If you have pets who are baby-friendly, supervised play sessions might be the perfect way to make sure your baby uses all the stored energy.
Change #5 – Watch What You Eat
If you’re breastfeeding, make sure to avoid caffeine and other food and drinks that might be making it hard for your baby to sleep. If your baby is eating food, make sure to avoid foods that make her gassy at naptime and bedtime. Stomach discomfort might end up making your baby fussy rather than sleepy.
Change #6 – Baby Massages
Gently massage your child’s feet, legs, tummy, and arms about fifteen minutes before bedtime. This can help your baby relax even more, and it provides a nice physical connection for the two of you. Baby massages is another great thing to add to any nighttime or bedtime routine.
Change #7 – Limit Interruptions
Simply opening your child’s bedroom door can be enough to wake her up. If you don’t need to go in there, don’t. One easy way to avoid unnecessary sleep interruptions is to invest in a baby monitor. A great option is a video monitor, so you don’t have to just rely on sounds. You can easily make sure your baby is safe, sleeping, and comfortable without risking disrupting her sleep.
Quality sleep is a main staple of our physical and emotional health and happiness, no matter our age. While your baby’s sleep is important, you can’t forget about yourself. If you can instill healthy sleep habits from an early age, it has the potential to benefit your baby for many years, if not for the rest of her life. After all, you’re not just raising a baby. You’re raising a beautiful human being, one day and night at a time.