When parents are expecting a baby they have to make a multitude of adjustments in their lives. Bringing a newborn into your home requires a lot of preparation. You, as parents, have to plan how to care for your new baby in every aspect of his life. This includes learning how to establish a workable sleep routine and provide safe sleep for your baby.
Not only do the parents have to make adjustments once the baby is born, but the baby does too. That’s because the baby slept in the womb before birth and experienced the comforting rocking motion that the mom’s movements provided during the day. Both mom and baby were used to sleeping whenever they wanted. However, once you and your baby come home from the hospital, you will have to establish a sleep routine that will help everyone to adjust.
4 Tips to Establish a Workable Routine and Healthy Environment to Ensure Safe Sleep for Your Baby
1. Watch for Signs that Your Baby is Tired
As you observe your little one, you will begin to notice some signs that they are getting tired. You’ll see them start to yawn, get a dazed look on their face, and stop playing. Plus, they’ll want to nurse–even if they were fed not long before. When you see these signs, it is time to start the bedtime or nap routine.
2. Establish a Bedtime Routine
Give your baby a soothing bath and spend a little time with them in a rocking chair.
There are a few things that are usually good to include in a bedtime routine. A bath followed by getting into pajamas will soon become a signal that it is time to settle down. Some baby bath products claim to help calm fussy babies and help them relax for bedtime too. Follow the bath with some time in the rocking chair and hopefully, the baby will drift off to sleep soon.
Sing lullabies to your baby.
By singing lullabies or reading stories, the baby falls asleep knowing you are still close by. This helps them feel safe and secure and are able to fall asleep quicker. As they drift off, some babies fall asleep on their own when placed in their crib while drowsy. Other babies need a little more time to fall into a deeper sleep before moving them.
3. Decide Where Your Baby Will Sleep
There are two schools of thought on where the baby should sleep. Some firmly believe that the baby should sleep in their own crib. They use the “cry it out” method to help the baby learn to sleep on their own.
Others use a “visit and leave” method. This is where the parent(s) extend the amount of time they go in to check on the baby before returning to their own bed. When they go in, they don’t pick up the baby. Rather, they simply comfort them while the baby remains in the crib. This assures the baby that they are safe and secure with the parents nearby.
On the other hand, some parents prefer to co-sleep, letting the baby sleep in the parents’ bed (with precautions to baby-proof the bed). This allows the baby to be near mom all night. If you co-sleep, the baby might not go to bed until you do, allowing the baby to fall asleep as they nurse.
Many families prefer co-sleeping, as it also allows for less missed sleep during the night. Sometimes neither the mother nor baby wakes completely for nightly feedings. Some feel that this leads to too much dependence on the mother, but studies have shown it actually helps babies to grow up feeling much more confident and closer to their parents.
An excellent resource on the subject of co-sleeping can be found in the book, Safe Infant Sleep: Expert Answers to Your Cosleeping Questions, By James J McKenna, Ph.D.
In Safe Infant Sleep, the world’s authority on cosleeping breaks down the complicated political and social aspects of sleep safety, exposes common misconceptions, and compares current recommendations to hard science.
You have to decide which works best for your family and establish routines to fit that choice. Once the baby gets used to a routine, and it works, continue with it each night. It may not be easy at first, but the consistency will pay off once everyone is getting a good night’s sleep.
If you’re undecided about what to do about co-sleeping, I highly recommend getting a copy of Dr. McKenna’s book and making an informed decision on your own.
4. Provide a Safe Sleep Environment for Your Baby
Mаnу families аrе соnсеrnеd аbоut the аmоunt оf сhеmісаlѕ that wе’rе еxроѕеd tо in оur еvеrуdау lіvеѕ. Whіlе we might nоt bе able to rеmоvе аll the chemicals оur fаmіlу is еxроѕеd tо, we can rеduсе thе аmоunt іn our hоmе.
Whеn a new baby comes into the family, it іѕ juѕt аѕ іmроrtаnt tо ѕurrоund thе bаbу wіth аll-nаturаl products. Since bаbіеѕ sleep nеаrlу half оf the dау, it оnlу mаkеѕ sense tо mаkе ѕurе they аrе sleeping іn a safe еnvіrоnmеnt.
Opt for all-natural, organic baby products if possible.
Thеrе аrе many ѕtуlеѕ of all-natural bеddіng thаt іѕ ѕаfеr fоr уоur bаbу. You саn find blаnkеtѕ, ѕhееtѕ, ѕwаddlіng blankets–рrеttу muсh the ѕаmе ѕеlесtіоn уоu would have with other baby bеddіng орtіоnѕ. They even соmе іn a wіdе vаrіеtу оf colors, not juѕt neutral tоnеѕ.
Hаvіng оrgаnіс bеddіng іѕ bеttеr fоr your baby’s hеаlth–аѕ орроѕеd to thе 50/50 nоn-оrgаnіс cotton аnd роlуеѕtеr blеnd thаt іѕ mаdе frоm a petrochemical. Thеѕе chemicals саn irritate the tеndеr nеwbоrn bаbу’ѕ ѕkіn. Another сhеmісаl fоund іn bеddіng аnd оthеr fаbrісѕ іѕ thе fіrе-rеtаrdаnt сhеmісаl PBDE. Thіѕ сhеmісаl іѕ ѕрrауеd оn tо thе рrоduсt ѕо іt gets іntо the environment quicker thаn оthеr сhеmісаlѕ.
Mаnу реорlе have аllеrgіс reactions to ѕоmе оf thе chemicals іn hоuѕеhоld gооdѕ. Bу reducing the аmоunt оf chemicals уоur family іѕ еxроѕеd tо, іt wіll reduce the risk оf аllеrgіс rеасtіоnѕ.
Where to Find All-Natural Baby Products
If you сhесk wіth уоur lосаl bаbу specialty store, they mау hаvе a limited selection of аll-nаturаl рrоduсtѕ. There аrе ѕеvеrаl wеbѕіtеѕ whеrе you can purchase оrgаnіс bеddіng also. Many of them specialize in bаbу blаnkеtѕ, but ѕоmе саrrу bedding fоr lаrgеr bеdѕ аѕ wеll. Thе рrісе is соmраrаblе to other bedding ѕеtѕ.
Providing safe sleep for your baby requires getting your workable routine established and trying to clean up any harmful chemicals in your home. Once you’ve accomplished that, you and your baby will enjoy better sleep and better health to boot.