Trying to get your little one to fall asleep at night can be challenging for even the most experienced caregivers. Here are my top ten ideas to help exhausted parents get some much needed rest.
First, take a deep breath. Letting go of your own tension often helps infants relax and calm down. Children are especially tuned in to the body signals of their parents or primary caregivers. Learn to become aware of your own breathing. Do a body scan on yourself to release tension. This helps teach even very young children healthy ways to cope with stress.
Needs and Environment.
Make sure all of the babies needs have been met. It is hard for anyone to sleep if they are uncomfortable, or hungry. Make sure your precious one is clean, freshly diapered for the night, and in comfortable pajamas ready for bed before you begin your nightly routine.
Make sure the television is off, and that the lighting is dim. This helps signal to the body that it is time for sleep, and creates a naturally calming environment.
The Cuddle Hormone and Lullabies.
Back rubs, or baby massages, are a great way to begin a nightly routine. Massage stimulates the production of oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone, which contributes to healthy brain development. The hormone is also known to promote feelings of well being and calm in both babies and caregivers. (1)
Lullabies have been used for centuries to distract and soothe cranky tots. Call your older relatives for advice if you need suggestions, or stick with the classics. Many babies are calmed just by the sound of their mothers voice. (2)
If your child still seems somewhat active, you can try walking them back and forth across a room. Often babies respond so well to rhythmic walking that they fall asleep on your shoulder.
If the baby has been crying for a long time they may have a mild fever or headache. If so a dose of infant pain reliever may be called for.
Make sure the baby is not teething, if they are then an iced teething ring, or a gum numbing gel may help.
Give your partner a call. Sometimes it helps to get outside assistance. I’ve known many harried Moms who contact their partner, or a loved one, when nothing else has worked. Sometimes this gets amazing results, and the baby is sound asleep within minutes.
If all else fails go for a drive. Ten minutes in a car will hypnotize even the most irritable baby.
I hope these hints help.