Guest piece by Lisa Abidin and Suzy Giordano
Do you sometimes look at your friend’s baby who sleeps all through the night and naps during the day, and think, “why can’t my baby do that? I guess she’s lucky” or “it must be in the genes…” Well I’m here to tell you your baby CAN do that! The secret to controlling your child’s sleep is not up to luck or genetics – the power is in your hands to steer your child on the right path to restful nights and nap-filled days.
What is the key to all of this?
You must closely follow a bedtime routine, day in and day out. It is good to do 5-6 things consistently at about the same time, each night, to signal to your baby that it is time to wind down and go to sleep. Here is a list of possible nighttime rituals that we recommend:
- Lower the ceiling lights with a dimmer switch or turn on 1 or 2 lamps or nightlights with low wattage light bulbs.
- Close the blinds or lower the shades on any windows in the nursery.
- Turn the radio to a soothing music station (classical, jazz, love songs, etc.) or stream lullabies or other soft music.
- Give baby a bath and/or a massage.
- Put on a nighttime diaper and nighttime clothes (footed sleeper, sleep sack, pajamas, etc. depending on the babies age). These clothes should be different in some way from what you dress the baby in during the day.
- Shut the bedroom door to keep out other light and noise.
- Feed baby.
- Read and/or sing to baby.
- Place baby in the crib AWAKE!
- Turn on a soothing musical crib toy.
- Give baby a safe age appropriate blankie or emotional toy that has the mother’s scent.
- Kiss baby and tell her goodnight.
- Darken the room, leave the room, and close the door behind you.
This will take self-discipline on the part of the parents but the payoff is tremendous in terms of rest for your baby AND for you!
Consistency is crucial, especially when you are first establishing your baby’s nighttime routine. Try to pick a week where you will be home in time to do the rituals at the same time, in the same order.
For more help in getting your baby to sleep thought the night, please check out the books 12 Hours Sleep by 12 Weeks Old and The Baby Sleep Solution. Both books are full of specific and practical advice that you can use to get your baby (and yourself) the sleep he or she needs. Also feel free to visit thebabycoach.com if you need one on one consulting tailored to your family’s specific needs. Together we will have your baby sleeping through the night and napping twice a day in no time!
Written by Lisa Abidin and Suzy Giordano, authors of Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old (TarcherPerigee) and The Baby Sleep Solution (TarcherPerigee).
To learn more about these books or to purchase go to: http://www.thebabycoach.com/untitled