The secret to easy bedtimes is to structure your baby’s sensory world in a calming manner. Use the following techniques at bedtime to help your baby shift into the sleep state easily.
At the end of a long day we often feel exhausted and wouldn’t it be great if bedtime was a matter of just popping our babies into their cots and leaving the room to go and enjoy the Amazing Race or ER on TV? Unfortunately for many, bedtime dissolves into tears and even a fight as baby and mom have different agenda’s for how this time will pass.
At the end of the day we are tired and in need of sleep but we all have to pass from an alert state into a drowsy state before sleep envelopes us. Babies are known for fighting this transition of state and this is why the evening can end in a fight. As your baby gets more tired he may start to rub his face and suck on his hands and before long he is slightly irritable. So when the time comes for separation from mommy and sleep time he becomes distressed and hours of fussing and a lot of effort to get your baby to sleep is the result.
The secret to easy bedtimes is to structure his sensory world in a calming manner. The following are sensory calming techniques to use at bedtime to help your baby shift into the sleep state easily:
- A warm bath
- Tight wrapping in a warm towel after bath
- Swaddling for young babies
- A firm but gentle baby massage after bath
- A warm room – around 20 degrees
- Soft pyjamas
- A soft or silky comfort object, such as a teddy or Baby Sense Taglet
- A soothing dummy/ pacifier or sucking on his thumb
- Add lavender or chamomile oil to the bath for older babies
- A lavender oil burner positioned safely in the bedroom
- A comfort object that smells of mom or baby ie sleep with your Baby’s Taglet and use it the following night in his crib. ,
- Darken the room with block out lining on blinds and a light dimmer
- No mobile over the cot
- No visual stimulation in the cot
- Do not remove your baby from his room after bath – keep all interactions muted so that he can get nice and drowsy
- Once you have fed your baby the last feed of the day. Hold him in your arms and rock him to a drowsy state
- Don’t rock your baby to sleep but rather watch for his sleepy signals, such as long, slow blinks or drowsy eyes, then put him down drowsy but awake
- White noise, such as radio static, running water, the sound of a humidifier or fan or air conditioner will lull your baby into a sleepy state
- Soft lullabies
Using these sensory techniques, you can look forward to a sleepy baby, who doesn’t fight sleep. Put him down in his cot and walk out of the room and he may well surprise you by falling asleep.
By Meg Faure