Helping Children Fall Asleep

Babies wake up often during the night for many reasons, including a need to eat, a reverse sleep schedule and colic. Sleep-deprived parents have difficulty during the wee hours of the morning and long to soothe their child back to sleep. Various measures can help you accomplish this goal.

Dr. Sears recommends creating sleep associations or behaviors that you do when the child is ready to sleep. When you do these, the child may realize that it is time to go to sleep. The parent-soothing method includes the parent aiding the child to fall asleep.

Rocking the child can be an effective way to get the child to go to sleep. Hold the baby against your chest while in a rocking chair. Alternatively, you can simply rock the child while in a stationary chair. This gentle method can lull the baby to sleep.

Nursing the baby can bring many babies to sleep. This can also help by getting the baby’s tummy full, which will make him or her less likely to wake up quickly from an empty belly. Practice different positions such as the football hold or nursing while lying in bed to see what is best at helping your child fall asleep.

Many babies love to hear the sound of their parents’ voices. Singing to babies is an age-old practice that can help bring him or her to sleep. There are many soft lullabies. Alternatively, you can play some music of soft instrumental or vocals that can calm the baby. You may find one that works particularly well with your child.

There are also many mobiles that can distract the baby and help him or her get to sleep. Some of these have remote controls so that you can turn it on without the baby seeing you.

When nothing else works, some parents resort to driving their baby to get him or her back to sleep. Of course, make sure that you feel like you are awake enough to drive safely. Some babies will fall asleep almost immediately in the car and will then transfer into the crib.

Another important point is not what to do but what not to do. Try not to get nervous and yell, scream or get upset in front of the child. Babies can sense parents’ emotions, and this can make it less likely for him or her to fall asleep. Remember that almost all babies go through this. It is temporary and will usually start to get better in a few months. Try to stay calm and enjoy your baby.

Remember that if you create a sleep association, the baby may expect it in order to get to sleep. There is no one method that will work for every baby since different children respond to different methods. Try the various strategies until you find the one that is right for you.