There are a few basic tips to help you naturally settle your baby. To start with, you must follow a consistent routine. People of all ages benefit from following a strategically structured routine and babies are no exception to this rule. Routine helps to instill good habits and practices early on. For a baby a good routine comprises eat, play, sleep and then repeat it all over again.
The Process To Follow
Although every baby is different, by following the processes below you should be able to develop a cycle in which settling your baby naturally will fit in and become a part of the routine.
Start each cycle by feeding your baby. Ideally, for 45 minutes or so before starting to play with them, and remember to allow enough time to wind them and of course for cuddles.
Playtime is very important for a baby as it nurtures them and promotes mental and physical development. However, young babies tire easily and so you should aim to spend no longer than one to one and a half hours of playtime until your baby is 16 weeks old.
The obvious sign to look out for tiredness in your baby are yawns and it’s at this point you should think about settling your baby down. Create a simple bedtime activity so that the baby learns to associate this with sleep.
Other Strategic Activities
There are a few other ways to naturally settle your baby, for example a warm and soothing massage will relax muscles as well as help cement the bond between you both.
Swaddling and wrapping your baby is also an effective way to settle and soothe them. This is because swaddling reminds the baby of being in the womb. Just remember to keep an eye on body temperature and base the layers around the season, to help lower the risk of cot death.
Baby slings are useful for struggling babies and can help in nursing, carrying and sleeping. Bathing is also a good way for bonding and forms a relaxing part of an established bedtime routine to help settle your baby.
Settling Your Baby
The process of settling your baby varies with time and as they develop so too will their habits. In the early weeks there is nothing wrong in choosing to settle your baby by holding them in your arms until they fall asleep.
It is also suggested that you try using either gentle rocking, rhythmic patting or stroking your baby. Talk or sing softly to them before gently placing your baby into their cot before leaving the room.
If the baby wakes up, try repeating this process to resettle them. Sometimes babies feel distressed during their sleep and a little bit of comfort goes a long way to helping resettle them back to sleep. Pick your baby up, cuddle them closely until they are calm and then put them back into the cot.
There are a few sleeping practices you can follow to help your baby sleep.
- Put your baby to sleep on their back from birth.
- Ensure their face and head are uncovered and that blankets cannot be pulled over them.
- Provide a safe and clean sleeping environment.
- Feed your baby before sleep. They say that breastfeeding is best, but not everyone gets on with this. Do what feels right for you and your baby.
Knowledge of the different signs of a tired baby will ensure proper settling baby help to arrange when it is nap time. These ‘tired signs’ include yawning and grimacing, crying and frowning, sucking and staring, snuggling in even little jerky movements. Your baby may also become over active, clench their fists, rub their eyes and be fussy. Overtime you will come to recognise these signs and when your baby is sleeping soundly you will look back and wonder what all of the fuss is about.