Helping Your Baby Sleep
Having a new or not so new baby is a big delight for your family. Happy as you are to have your baby, one of the challenges is to help her to sleep through the night. A side benefit for you when your baby masters this developmental achievement is that you, too, will sleep better.
Sleep deprived parents of a crying baby often feel very tempted to let their infant cry himself to sleep so that they will be able to get some rest. It is understandable how exhausted parents of a newborn can be. It is a demanding time, but by using Smart Love principles, most babies will be happy and fall asleep more easily.
Current research on child development tells us that an infant is born seeking and idealizing your care. Her deepest desire is to have a close and positive loving relationship with you. Some child development theories would suggest that a baby cries to manipulate you; but she does not. She cries to tell you she needs your help and care and wants to feel close to you. When your baby learns you will respond lovingly to her cries and you want her to be comfortable and to feel secure, she will become contented and is more likely to fall asleep. You will have a sense of fulfillment giving her lasting inner happiness and, in addition, a baby that is comforted in this way will become a child who is an accomplished and reliable sleeper. You will reap many peaceful nights as the result of your efforts in your baby’s first year.
Tips for helping baby fall asleep:
- Use a bedtime ritual consistently night after night, such as bath, story, feeding and bed.
- Place your baby in the crib when sleepy but not asleep. If your infant cries, make every effort to comfort him until he can fall asleep peacefully.
- In the first year, you may have to return numerous times to your baby’s side to rock him, provide a drink, or rub his back. Your baby will learn both that you are reliably responsive to his needs and that he can put himself to sleep in a pleasurable and contented manner.
- In the middle of the night, respond to your baby in a non-stimulating, low-key and soothing manner.