5 Tips to Ease Your Newborn Into a Safe and Peaceful Sleep
As parents, every day is an adventure and every night a quest for peaceful sleep for your little treasure. A newborn’s sleep can also be a source of stress, notably due to sudden infant death syndrome or risks related to cosleep. It’s perfectly normal to have these worries, but mostly, know that you shouldn’t worry: you’re not the only ones to go through this and by following this article’s advice, you will develop good habits and a routine that’ll allow you and your baby to gently fall into Morpheus’ arms.
If, despite following the advice from this article, your baby still has difficulty falling asleep, there is a possibility he’s experiencing sleep problems. Several exist and can become problematic if they last for weeks. In these cases, do not hesitate to speak with medical professionals.
Now, let’s explore together 5 simple and effective tips to help you soothe your baby and ease him into sleep while keeping him safe.
Tip 1: Take precautions regarding sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS):
You’ve certainly heard of this syndrome which unexpectedly causes a baby’s death. Generally occurring during sleep, the baby, otherwise in good health, falls asleep and stops breathing. This syndrome strikes a little less than 1 baby in 1000 in Canada.
Reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome effectively is possible by taking the following precautions (this list is non-exhaustive*):
- Always put the baby to bed on his back.
- Have your baby sleep on a firm and flat mattress and leave no pillow, fitted sheets, or plush toys in his bed. To cover him up, choose a light blanket or put him in a sleeping bag. Heavy blankets are to be avoided.
- When sleeping, he should always be in a bassinet, a cradle, or a crib in conformity with canadian safety norms.
- Room sharing during the baby’s first 6 months is ideal. Your proximity will allow you to be more vigilant toward your baby’s signals.
- Maintain the room’s temperature around 20 to 21°C (68 to 70°F).
These measures are summarized in this video from the Public Health Agency of Canada. *For an exhaustive list of all the precautions you can take to prevent SIDS, read the Mayo Clinic's article about it.
Tip 2: Co-sleeping should be done safely:
Our second piece of advice has to do with safety concerns around co-sleeping, which involves sharing one’s bed with a baby. Some specialists discourage the practice while others insist on safety precautions. The Canadian Paediatrics Society recommends sleeping in the same room as the baby until he is 6 months old but each in their own bed. All the safety measures you should take with regards to co-sleep are listed in this recommended article.
Tip 3: Create a soothing environment for your baby:
One of the first keys to setting up an agreeable environment relies on the creation of a soothing routine before bedtime. Imagine a sequence of daily activities that signal to your little one that bedtime is coming soon. Start with a relaxing bath to relax his muscles. Then, choose between a short story time or quiet music. Thanks to these habits, your baby will understand that it’s almost time to close his eyes and over time, this sequence of events will become a comforting signal that will ease your child into falling asleep.
A soft and even obscurity can be comforting for a newborn and easily achieved with curtains. A quiet white noise can also be very soothing to the baby as it is a reminder of the sounds heard in his mother’s womb. Yes, the uterus is a noisy environment from which can be heard the mother’s heartbeat and blood flow, and when the baby leaves this environment it can be disquieting to find himself in a place where everything and everyone is overly quiet so as to let him fall asleep. Lastly, consider the use of comforting objects like a blankie or night light.
Tip 4: Use the benefits of babywearing to put your baby to sleep.
As effective as it is as a method to facilitate sleep in young children, babywearing still remains unknown by many. By offering your physical proximity to your baby, babywearing procures a sense of security and relaxation. Skin to skin contact promotes the production of oxytocin, the hormone linked to attachment, while the slight movements caused by babywearing mimic the soothing sensation of being in the mother’s belly. You can use babywearing if need be should your baby need to be calmed down before bedtime or even integrate babywearing to the bedtime routine. For advice on babywearing a newborn baby, we recommend that you read the following tips.
Tip 5: Adopt a calm and patient approach during difficult moments:
When facing the challenges that come with bedtime, it’s essential to arm yourself with patience and a calm attitude. Your baby might manifest discomfort or a desire for your proximity by being very vocal, and this is where your serenity will make all the difference. Instead of giving in to stress, have an attitude of gentleness and tranquility. Answer to your baby’s cries with a soothing voice and gentle caresses. Your calm behaviour in reaction to his cries will help your baby understand that although he’s going through a difficult time, you are there to offer comfort and safety.
Several techniques for calming down a crying baby exist, among which is Dr. Harvey Karp’s 5 ‘’S’’s. To learn more about it, read our article on the subject.
We hope our tips will help your whole family to have a peaceful and serene night’s sleep. By putting our advice into action in your daily life, they will gradually become more obvious and instinctual to you.
What about you? Do you have tricks to quickly put your baby to sleep?
For more advice around this topic, read our other resources:
- Chimparoo's YouTube channel is filled with demonstrations on babywearing and discussions on babies’ development.
- Read our other blog posts on babywearing a newborn, the skin to skin technique or this artcle on how to soothe your baby's cries.
- Visit our FAQ to get yourself started on your babywearing journey with our answers to our customers’ questions.