If you have a new little one in the house, then you know exactly how important it is to get as much sleep as possible, whenever possible. Unfortunately, your schedule is dictated by the one wearing diapers, and if baby doesn’t rest, neither do you.
If you find yourself searching for tips on how to make a baby fall asleep fast, you already are in need of some rest yourself. Even if this isn’t your first child, you can most definitely take advantage of the following tips.
The Importance of Sleep
Sleep allows your body to rest both emotionally and physically, helps provide you the energy you need to to get through the day, and sharpens your mind mentally. For children, this is even more important due to their fast development.
In adults, a lack of sleep can result in much more than just mental and physical stress; over time sleep deprivation can lead to increases in physical ailments, such as heart disease and even diabetes.
In children, a lack of sleep is even more immediately pronounced. They may be overly fussy, crying, and hard to comfort. Babies may also not be able to fall into a deep sleep when overtired, leading to disruptions in feeding and delayed development over time.
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Sleep and Child Development
Infants through the first year sleep anywhere from 14 to 16 hours a day, and not all at once either. This sleep is gained through periods of sleep that may last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours in infancy to 6 to 8 hours (or more) at a time as they get older.
Early brain development is crucial for baby’s development both physically and mentally. Their sleep habits are incredibly important in order to rest and recharge, and allow the many pathway processes occurring that are so important for healthy growth and recognition.
Brain synapses are formed during sleep. Synapses are the informational pathways created in the brain to provide recognition and early problem-solving skills. These neurological connections are formed in an incredible amount during a child’s first 3 years of growth.
Brain development occurs during sleep as well. Both the left and right hemisphere connections happen at this time, and disruptions to sleep can slow this process down. Combined with synapse, the formation of memories are also processed and stored during sleep.
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Tips to Help Baby Fall Asleep Quickly
Overtired babies, fussy babies, and uncomfortable babies can be a challenge to get down to sleep. Not only does this disrupt a child’s sleep, it also wreaks havoc on adults. Helping your baby get the sleep they deserve is a goal for all involved, and there are many tips worth checking out if you find yourself in this predicament from time to time.
Obviously you aren’t going to get your baby to sleep in 40 seconds flat, but if you practice some of the mentioned techniques, or combine them, you may find that both you and your child, are getting a bit more of the rest you deserve.
Look for Signs of Sleepiness
Babies are very good at giving clues to their own tiredness. Look for increased yawning, rubbing eyes, irritability, and their need to rest their head and/or upper body. Put baby to bed as they get drowsy, rather than after they fall asleep to avoid disrupting them at the start of their sleep cycle.
Our own bodies are very much in tune with the rising and setting sun. Tap into this natural process and keep the lights dimmed or off altogether as you prepare baby for bed. Avoid televisions, screens, and other bright lights.
Create a Regular Sleep Schedule
Keep a regular schedule of preparing and going to bed. Although this may be difficult for very young infants, as baby grows a schedule helps keep them more in sync with their own sleep needs.
Don’t Always Change a Diaper
If your baby has a wet diaper right before bed, or wake up briefly at night with one, avoid changing it unless absolutely necessary. This often brings the baby back to alertness and you often will have to start calming down and getting back to bed all over again.
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Wrapping a baby in a swaddle helps avoid movement and provides pressure similar to your own holding of the child, which is soothing. Swaddling can help calm and allow baby to begin to drift off to sleep.
Play White Noise or Soft Music
Although many jokes are made about waking a sleeping baby with noise, you can create an environment that blocks regular noises to help baby stay asleep. White noise machines are very effective in blocking noise and providing a soothing space.
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Provide a Feeding
Just like an adult, a full belly can help your child fall asleep. Many parents want to try to help their baby fall asleep without nursing first, but to do so you may first need to start feeding the baby until they become drowsy, and then remove the food source before putting to bed.
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Use Consistent, Repetitive Motion
Rocking, bouncing, or providing vibration of some sort to a child can help them drift off to sleep. This a type of sensory soothing that calms the senses to help a child drift off to sleep. You can use this with other techniques, such as swaddling, a darkened room, and white noise.
Infant massage techniques allow you to soothe, comfort, and provide a sense of calmness to the baby, all while influencing pressure points that may help the baby sleep. It also can help reduce tension and helps with digestive issues.
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If you have been looking for techniques to help your baby fall asleep fast, there is no magic to make this happen, but there are some soothing techniques to support a faster sleep time. The above-mentioned tips are well proven to work, especially when combined together in certain situations.
Of course, there will be times when it seems impossible to get your baby to sleep, and this becomes an ongoing issue, you may want to consult with your baby’s pediatrician about underlying problems.