Simple Tips for Baby SleepJul 27, 2021
Simple, gentle & essential tips for baby sleep
Hello! I’m Kerry Bajaj, sleep enthusiast, mother of two and author of Sleep, Baby, Sleep. My girls slept from 7pm to 7am since they were 7 months old. I get a LOT of questions about this! The main question is – HOW?
Here are my 5 top tips. Start doing these simple and gentle sleep strategies and you’ll be on your way to a good night’s sleep – for you and baby!
Newborn sleep is pure chaos.
Baby sleep is ever-changing, as you go from 3 naps a day to 2 to 1 to none.
The 12-hour rule is a simple rule of thumb, to bring order to the chaos!
Here’s the rule:
Your baby needs 12 hours of night sleep!* This means your baby’s day can go from 7am to 7pm, or 8am to 8pm. Your morning wakeup time should be consistent every day. Bedtime should be 12 (or 13) hours later.
*This is true from around 4 months to 6 years of age. Some babies will only take 10.5 or 11 hours of night sleep and that’s ok too. This doesn’t include naps.
A lovey is a soft toy/ security blanket combo that acts as a comfort item for sleep. You can show the lovey to your pediatrician before you introduce it. Please be mindful of choking or suffocation hazards (no buttons or small pieces that come off). Sleep with the lovey for a night so it has your smell. Offer it for naps and bedtime only. We were gifted a Bunnies by the Bay lovey when Leela was born and we love it – they are so soft! If you search for “lovey soft toy” on Amazon you’ll find some other options.
I’ve heard many stories of bedsharing babies who need constant physical touch with mama. They develop quirks like pulling her hair, scratching her face or touching her breasts. All night long. These habits become unmanageable as months go by. Introduce a lovey so baby has an attachment object to comfort him through the night. Keep offering the lovey for snuggling, instead of your face for scratching.
When Leela was born, we got a cheap white noise machine on Amazon and we’ve been using it for five years. It’s our most prized parenting tool.
Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, taught us about white noise: When baby is in the womb, they can hear the whooshing sound of your blood flow. It’s all quite rumbly and loud as a lawnmower. After baby is born, they find a rumbly shushing noise to be quite soothing, it activates what Dr. Karp calls the calming reflex. You know how babies like the sound of a hair dryer or vacuum? This is why.
When you use the white noise machine consistently for naps and bedtime, it becomes a strong sleep cue. My daughters start yawning the moment I turn on the white noise machine – it’s a beautiful thing.
White noise can drown out the household noises that may be distracting to baby – voices, TV, doorbell, toilet flushing, people shuffling around in the kitchen. If you’re living in a joint family – use white noise. If you roomshare with baby – use white noise. White noise provides a consistent backdrop for sleep, so when baby wakes up between their sleep cycles, it helps them to connect the cycles and fall back to sleep.
Keep the white noise on for the full night. Baby’s sleep gets lighter as they reach the early morning hours. The crows also starts kaw-ing and there’s more noise from traffic on the road. So you want the white noise ON to buy you extra hours of sleep at 5am.
The white noise app I’ve had success with is called Sleep Pillow. It’s free. You can also use a box fan, set to the highest/ loudest setting.
Is there any downside to white noise? Nope. It’s easy to wean off. You simply lower the volume for a few days.
So many moms resist using white noise. “I don’t want her to become dependent on it,” they say. Well, right now baby is dependent on YOU for nursing, rocking and all sorts of bedtime gymnastics. White noise is a good dependence.
There you have it!
My super easy and gentle starter tips for baby sleep:
P.S. My book Sleep, Baby, Sleep is here! You can find it on Amazon at bit.ly.com/kerrybook
Cozy Little Sleeper, a 3-week course for newborns age 0 to 4 months
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