Becoming a parent is the most beautiful feeling in the world but the feeling is incomplete if you do not go through some difficult times. Every parent feels exhausted and especially the new ones because they have never experienced anything before. The most common question being asked is “how to get baby to nap without being held?” It is totally understandable that you face problems while putting the baby to sleep. Consulting a pediatrician for that is not always right so here are some simple tips that can help you out:
Nudge your baby while asleep
This might be weird for you but this works. Babies cry when they are left alone so it is not just restricted to your baby. They are new to this world and the safest place for them is their mother. They will cry because they do not feel safe. It takes a lot of time to develop a habit in babies. So you will have to face a bit of trouble for some time. It might take months for you baby to develop a self-sleeping habit.
What you need to do here is put your baby to sleep and then just poke him/her a bit. The motive here is to cause a little disturbance but not waking them up. In the beginning, the baby will wake up and cry. You have to calm her down in any way possible. Maybe breastfeeding, bottle, pacifier would do the job. After 60 failed attempts, your baby will start learning to feel safe on its own. If you disturb your baby every night, he/she will become habitual of that disturbance and after some time, even if the baby wakes up on her own, she will be habitual of disturbances and will fall back asleep on his/her own.
Change the feeding routine
If your baby is habitual of feeding and then falling asleep, you need to reconsider this routine or habit. Gradually break the habit of feeding before sleep only then you can help him/her to sleep without you. Whatever trick you try if the baby is habitual of feeding before sleep, he/she will never go back to sleep unless you feed him/her.
It is not easy to break this feeding habit. You can feed the baby before sleep and when you feel that the baby is waking up, walk around him/her or experiment rocking and not feeding. This will also take time but you will have some output.
Teach your baby to nap without rocking
Every parent rocks their baby to sleep. This works but if you really want your baby to sleep without you, this habit should be changed. Rocking your baby is fine but when the baby is drowsy, hold him still. In this way, the baby will know that he/she has to sleep without any movements. After 30 attempts, you will notice that your baby can sleep without rocking or any other movements.
Your baby should not be habitual of your bed
Make sure your baby falls asleep in his/her own bed. If you make the baby sleep in your bed and then change the place, it will bea mess for both of you. Changing places might even wake the baby up. After some time when the baby is old enough to sleep in a bassinet or something, it would be more difficult. Obviously, when the baby is habitual of falling asleep in your arms or in your bed, you cannot expect the baby to learn self-sleeping in a day or two.
When the baby is drowsy, put him in his bed. After 25-30 times, your baby will know where to sleep and that his bed is the only place where he should sleep.
Do not hold the baby if disturbed
Once you put the baby in his bed, it is not guaranteed that he will not wake up. If the baby wakes up in the middle use your hands instead of holding the baby in your arms. After some time, you can use any stuffed toy and stand back. Your baby will soon realize that he has to calm himself down and sleep. You will not be there to soothe him at every moment.
Environment matters a lot
Environment is important for everyone and so is for your baby. You need to be sure that bedroom’s air is pleasant. Keep the air fresh and overall environment comforting. Do not keep any scary dolls in the room or in the baby’s cot. The baby might not sleep because of it. Have stuffed toys that look adorable so that the baby feels safe. You can have a dim light near the baby’s bed too. Turn it on when you put your baby to sleep. It also comforts the baby. Just be careful that the light is not too bright.
All these tips will be helpful in changing your baby’s habit but for you here are some simple tips too.
- This is a time consuming process. You need to be consistent with every practice.
- Do not feel exhausted because your baby needs time to either change habits or get introduced to new ones. Understand that the environment inside your tummy was quite different and this is an unfamiliar world for the little one.
- It is not a failure if you cannot calm your baby down instantly. It takes time and a lot of patience.
- Every baby reacts differently. These are some general tips so do not feel irritated if one of these does not work. Try something else.
Is a doctor’s opinion important for baby’s sleeping habit?
Doctor plays an important role undoubtedly but the sleeping cycle should not be the doctor’s problem. You can consult the doctor if your baby has poor weight gaining issues, or any other feeding problems. Trouble in feeding is sometimes a reason for bad sleeping cycles. Therefore, it is important that you refer to a doctor for better feeding. If the baby’s feeding habits are great then there is no need to bother a doctor just because your baby is not sleeping. Be consistent and try a different trick after consistently following one trick for a month.