Your baby’s bedtime routine is important for developing a healthy sleep schedule. Every new mom knows a bedtime routine can often feel more like a rollercoaster. Whether your baby starts crying right when you leave the room, or you are awoken by cries through a monitor, it can be a journey to reach daylight. We promise the day will come when you can say for the first time, “My baby slept eight hours strait!” Until that day, here are some reasons to let your baby self-soothe and rock your baby to sleep.
3 Reasons to Let Your Baby Self-Soothe
After you’ve completed your bedtime routine with baby and left the room, your baby may start to cry. When this happens, it is ok to test out a self-soothing method. Here are three things to remember:
- When your baby learns to fall asleep on his or her own, it creates better rest for you and your baby.
- Sleep deprivation can create a greater risk for maternal depression, and your well-being is critical to your baby’s. It is important that you are happy and healthy for them.
- Just because you let your baby cry it out, it doesn’t mean you are an insensitive parent. Babies develop object permanence around six months old where they understand that you still exist even if they can’t see you. Being responsive to your baby the vast majority of the time and showing lots of love and affection means that letting your baby cry it out won’t have a negative effect.
3 Reasons to Rock Your Baby to Sleep
Now let’s say you have left the room after laying your baby down to sleep and he or she continues to cry for five to ten minutes. When this happens, it is ok to re-enter the room and rock your baby to sleep. Here are three things to remember:
- Babies cry for a reason. They cannot explain their needs or feelings. Crying is the only way. When your baby cries at night, he or she is trying to communicate with you. Your baby is in need of something or might even be sick.
- Babies are cranky when they are exhausted. Even if they want to fall asleep, they may fuss and cry before they do. Comforting them can help their crankiness so they fall asleep.
- It is torture for you to listen to your crying baby and do nothing. Listening to your maternal instincts is natural and you have those instincts for a reason.
3 Tips for Helping Your Baby Fall Asleep
Your ultimate goal is to help your baby to fall asleep without fuss, so here are three tips for developing good sleep habits early on.
- Don’t bring your baby into your bed to try and solve their fussiness at bedtime. You will likely make their sleep habits worse. Your baby needs to learn to sleep alone and not have anxiety away from you. Make sure they feel comfortable in their crib and there are no hazardous materials in the crib with them. Sleeping in your bed with you can also be hazardous.
- A routine will help your baby know what to expect and feel at ease falling asleep. For example, sing them a lullaby every night, give them a bath, or dance with them. This will relax them. Another idea is to play calming music and then leave it at a low volume when you leave the room. Always end your bedtime routine in your baby’s room so they know it is a good place, not just a place where you leave them every night.
- Swaddling can help your baby sleep longer and more peacefully since it reminds them of being in the womb. Be sure not to swaddle them too tight or cover their face.
Whichever way you decide to handle your baby’s crying at night, you are the mother and know your baby better than anyone else!