Settle a Baby at Night

One of the most common milestones in a baby’s first year is being able to sleep through the night. It is something that most parents will measure their baby’s development and their own success as a parent by. Every child is different, but knowing a few tips on how to settle your baby ready for sleep can be useful for every parent.

Having a routine is very important when children are small. Imposing your routine rigidly on your baby is unlikely to work and will often result in a screaming infant and distraught parent. Compromise your time with the baby’s time.

You will know how often they want to feed, how long they are likely to stay awake for after a feed, and when you need to do things such as cook dinner or just put your feet up. Knowing the needs of your baby will help you to gently encourage your child into a sleep pattern that means they settle more easily at night.

Try to give your child a wash or bath after their tea time feed. This sets the bed time routine and allows you to change their clothes from day to night. Something as simple as this can help re-enforce the difference between a daytime nap and a night time sleep.

Make sure the water is warm, and try adding some mild sleep-inducing herb scented bubble bath formulated for baby or sensitive skins such as lavender or chamomile. Keep the noise levels quiet, and the stimulation of all other senses to a minimum. If there are older siblings, encourage them to play quietly or in another part of the home or garden while you establish baby’s bedtime routine.

Once your baby is dry and dressed for bed, you may find it helpful to place a hot water bottle into the crib or cot for a few minutes before you put your baby to bed. This will help bring the sheet and the mattress underneath up to a similar temperature to your own body. Many babies wake when they are put down into their cots because they feel the change from the heat of your body to the chill of cold sheets. Do not leave the hot water bottle in the cot or crib when you baby is laying in it.

While the cot or crib is warming, you can sit quietly with your baby and see if they want any more milk. They may take one or two ounces more, so make sure you help bring up any wind too. If you find yourself getting bored while your baby lays peaceful but awake in your arms, try listening to an audio-book CD quietly. The sound of calm human voices may also help to soothe your baby.

As your baby begins to fall asleep, remove the hot water bottle from the crib or cot. Place your baby into their bed slowly and without using sharp movements. They may appear to begin to wake again, so tuck the bedding around them and speak very quietly to them.

Once your baby is laying down, gently stroke the skin above their eyebrows. If they start to whimper, do not pick them up again, but continue to talk quietly to them and stroking their skin. Once their eyes have closed, leave the room and try to keep the noise close to the room down to a minimum. There is no need for silence, but loud sudden noises are likely to wake your baby, meaning you will need to settle them down again.