The clock is reading 2:00 in the morning, your eyes are like sandpaper, your head feels too heavy for your body and your precious angel of a child will not go to sleep. You’ve done everything you can think of – you’ve changed their diaper, you’ve rocked them, you’ve sang countless lullabies and you’ve offered them bottle after bottle at the perfect temperature.
Despite your best efforts, your baby is still not in the throes of slumber but actually wide awake and raring to go. However, mommy or daddy is not of the same caliber in terms of energy. You need to know how to make your baby fall asleep fast; not only for your own mental health but also because you know the importance of adhering to a schedule for your baby.
Why Isn’t Your Baby Sleeping?
There are numerous reasons to why your baby might not be sleeping, either through the night or for a daytime nap:
- They are experiencing stomach upset due to an overfull belly or a buildup of gas.
- They have used the washroom and a bowel movement is making their diaper uncomfortable.
- They have soaked through their diaper and now their sleeper is wet and uncomfortable.
- They are hungry and need a little more nourishment to fall asleep.
- They had a bad dream but they are unable to tell you so they just want a little bit of comfort and love.
- They are ill and need medical attention.
- They are growing and being stubborn when it comes to bedtime; trying to push the limits and see how much they can get away with (usually children of two or more years of age will do this one).
- They have experienced an abundance of stimulation throughout the day and was thrown off their routine, leading to an out-of-whack schedule.
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Tips and Ways to Make a Baby Fall Asleep Fast
“I need some tips on how to make my baby fall asleep” is a common phrase heard from new parents around the world. While in most cases the taking care of your baby’s basic needs (clean diaper, fully belly, etc.) is enough to make them tired to the point of asleep and in a fast manner; there are times that you need an extra boost or helpful guideline to ensure that your baby will fall asleep in minutes.
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— Avoid eye contact if possible
There is nothing more exciting and fun to a baby than prolonged eye contact with the person they love and recognize the most. They are slowly learning to adjust their eyes in different lighting conditions while recognizing their current surroundings which include the people in them.
This action of recognizance is very stimulating to a baby and having eye contact with their parent or caregiver is enough to bring their brains into a more alert state; tossing sleepiness out the window.
— Change the lighting conditions in the nursery
While an adult can pull off a restful and peaceful slumber in daylight conditions, babies do not have the same level of awareness yet to do so. They need to recognize that when their room is darkened – it is bedtime. This is important even when you are putting them down for their daily nap, so it is important to maintain a darken room during naptimes.
You might want to invest into a set of blackout curtains for the nursey and have them drawn before bringing your baby into the room for their nap or bedtime. The lack of light will also help reduce the stimulation that your baby receives as they recognize the items in their room and can also help with the first tip of avoiding eye contact.
— Set a bedtime routine and stick to it at all costs
Babies thrive on routines – from naptime to feedings to waking in the mornings and being changed into a fresh diaper along with a clean set of clothes; this routine will establish normalcy and consistency.
Have a set bedtime routine for your little one and ensure that they are asleep before 7:30 pm at the latest. Go through the same motions each night before bed to signal to your baby that it is indeed, bedtime. Start their routine by changing their diaper to a fresh overnight one, then move onto changing their clothes into a clean sleeper or pajamas. Once that task is finished, move over to the rocker and feed them their nighttime bottle.
Allow them a moment after they are done eating to burp and be rocked but then place them snugly into their crib without making eye contact or even talking to them. Low gentle shushing noises or humming is fine, as they will recognize your voice and feel secure knowing that their loved ones are nearby.
This consistent routine will help them fall asleep faster as they get older as they will recognize the signs of bedtime and start to wind down their minds.
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— White noise or humming fans
While your baby was in the uterus, they became extremely familiar with the sounds of beating hearts, whooshing air in and out of the lungs and other soothing sounds. That is why your baby might be having trouble sleeping during the night if their room is extremely quiet and stark in the silence.
A white noise machine offers a low humming noise that will drown out the noise of your household gearing down to their own bedtimes but it provides a soothing sound that lulls your baby into a restful slumber.
The use of a fan will also help in this regard in the same manner but it has the added benefit of maintaining a consistent room temperature. If your babies room is the right temperature (not too hot and not too cold), you also give them a more peaceful and comfortable rest. A consistent and accurate room temperature can also decrease the occurrence of SIDs; as numerous studies have proven.
Things to Keep an Eye Out for
If your baby will not settle down into sleep, even after they have been changed into a fresh diaper, fed and burped, and even rocked; there might be something more serious going on. Check your baby for a fever, runny nose or other ailment that could be disturbing their rest. If you think your baby requires medical attention; do not hesitate and contact your nearest emergency department or nursing telehealth line.
If their little belly feels tight and rigid, they may be experiencing gas pains or stomach upset. Use a combination of light movements to release any pressure (such as bicycling their legs to their stomach and back straight, one at a time) and gripe water to reduce the amount of gas buildup in their bellies. Use a combination of rocking and patting on their backs to produce a belch or try bouncing them on your knee while leaning them forward (securing them with a gentle hand on their sternum) and patting their back in controlled motions.
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Babies are exciting and wonderful little creatures but there are times when a tired parent just needs them to go to sleep already. They are not set in their routines yet, they cannot tell us when they are hurting or sad, and the most important thing to remember is that they look to us for safety, love and support.
Take your time and learn your babies’ quirks, habits and the signs they are getting tired. Do not wait until they are drowsy before starting their bedtime routine but instead, get their nighttime bottle ready at the first sign of bedtime. Not only will your baby be more adjusted once their routine is established – you will be more adjusted when you are able to get more than two hours of sleep a night!