***This blog post was brought to you by 7 years of sleep deprivation and conflicting advice.***
There is so much advice about how to put a baby to sleep so I’ve condensed it down to 8 simple, and easy to follow steps!
Step 1 – Check for tired signs
You need to put your baby down when they’re sleep, but awake! So you need to watch for tired signs and catch them right in the middle of the optimum falling asleep phase! These signs include but are not limited to blinking, jerky movements, quieter or more active than usual, crying, yawning etc. Actually if they’re yawning, then it’s already too late – they’ll hit overtired in 0.02 seconds and there’s nothing you can do. Your day, night, and most of next week are now ruined. Sorry.
Step 2. Have a consistent routine
ALL the baby books say that a bedtime routine is essential for baby’s sleep. You can’t haphazardly put babies to bed however and wherever they feel like it. You can’t just surprise babies with sleep! They need to see it coming.
Step 3. Bath time
A soothing bath is an excellent way to calm baby before bed. Just be sure the water isn’t too hot, too cold, too deep, or too shallow. Are you using 100% organic, natural, soap-free, tear-free, Australian Dermatologist Board Certified (possibly not a real thing) baby soap? Have you read three dozen conflicting articles about whether or not using baby soap is good/bad/okay/terrible for your baby? Good. Dry baby with a pre-warmed towel.
Step 4. Clean Nappy(s)
Get two nappies out. Trust me. I (almost) guarantee as soon as you put that first nappy on baby will poop. Change baby into another clean nappy. Acknowledge that crap just cost you 48 cents.
Step 5. Dress baby for bed
Remember little babies can’t regulate their own body temperature so it’s important not to over – or under – dress them. A good rule is to dress baby in as many layers as you are wearing and add one layer. And take off two. Now add another three layers. If baby seems cold/hot/confused by constantly adding and removing layers adjust this step as necessary.
Step 6. Prepare baby’s room
Firstly you need to ensure that their room is dark and quiet, by installing thick block out blinds and threatening everyone else in the house on penalty of death if they so much as whisper while you’re putting baby to sleep. Now put on a night light and a white noise machine so the room isn’t too dark and quiet and baby thinks they’re being put to bed in a sensory deprivation tank. White noise machines are available at baby stores for about $100. You can also download a white noise app to your phone – but be aware that some research may or may not show a link between mobile devices and cancer (Also how are you supposed to check Facebook while baby is sleeping if the phone is being used for something a cheap radio set to static could do just as well.)
Step 7. Settling your baby to sleep
How you choose to settle your baby to sleep could pretty much make or break his or her entire future, because once you start something with your baby you can never – ever – change it.
- If you choose to rock your baby to sleep they will need to be rocked to sleep until they are 20kgs and your arms will fall off (also, you may need to get your back replaced with a metal rod… hey! Now I understand the meaning of “You’re making a rod for your own back” – they mean “You’ll NEED a rod for your own back.” That makes SO MUCH more sense.)
- If you feed your baby to sleep they will ALWAYS need food to sleep. That’s why there are so many adults who need to suck on a burger every night before they can fall asleep.
- If you’re leave your baby to fall asleep on their own – even they’re calm and not at all crying – they will think you have abandoned them and at 15 they will run away from home and join the circus.
- If you choose to cosleep they will sleep in your bed forever. Good luck with that when they’re grown up and wanting to bring someone home for the evening.
Step 8. Toss it all and do whatever works for you and your family.