Due to Modern lifestyles and hectic schedules of double income parents, consistent and early bedtimes for your baby are not as easy, or realistic, as they used to be. Here are a few tips to see your bundle of joy gets to sleep on time:
1)Classical conditioning: Babies who are given consistent bedtimes and familiar ‘winding down’ rituals usually go to sleep easier and stay asleep longer. The sequence of a warm bath, rocking, nursing, lullabies, etc. set the baby up to feel that sleep is expected next and is trained to go to sleep, ( Refer Russian Scientist Ivan Pavlov’s work on conditioning) where the baby is neurologically wired by repetition to follow the same response to the same sequence of actions.
2)Develop Sleep associations for the baby. If a baby gets used to one particular method of going to sleep , then it will only go to sleep by that method. You can make this work for you by choosing what method to put your baby to sleep with. So choose the method most convenient and easy for you so that the baby is pre-conditioned to the same methods at specific times of the day.
3) Choice of Methods for Sleep Conditioning: There are two broad styles for sleep conditioning, the parent-soothing method and the self-soothing method. Both have advantages and possible disadvantages. My recommendation is using a moderate combination of both. For example: I put my son to sleep by rocking him and after the first two times in the night he wakes up I let him wear(cry) himself out to sleep.
4) Feed your baby right: Babies need to learn that daytime is for eating and nighttime is mostly for sleeping. Some older babies and toddlers are so busy playing during the day that they forget to eat and make up for it during the night by waking frequently to feed. This should be checked by feeding every 3 hours during the day so that they sleep at night.
5) Wearing the infant down: some infants are so active during the day that they have trouble transitioning into sleep mode at night. This can be solved by wearing the baby in a sling around the house half hour before bedtime until she is fully asleep.
6) Driving to sleep: another method to switch the baby into sleep mode at the designated time is to drive around in the car until it dozes off.
7) Mechanical sleep helpers: self rocking mechanical cradle, cradles that vibrate to imitate a car seat when the car is in motion. These imitate actual attention given by a person while being automated.
8) Soothing Sounds: store bought sleep inducing sound mix tapes can be played to send the baby off to sleep. Or you can custom what the baby finds soothing and record and play it. Example: the baby’s grandmother singing or just talking.
9) ‘Dress’ the baby for sleep: Some babies like to be tucked in tight and some require empty room in their blanket. Observe your baby’s moods and decide what’s best.
10) Sleep oil! : Dab a drop of lavender oil next to the baby’s pillow. It is known to have a soothing aroma which lulls babies off to sleep. It even can be used to massage it before baths.
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