A baby loves to be held and cradled. There is nothing in the world that feels more secure than being wrapped in its mother’s arms. Babies are sensitive towards touch and smell—they can recognize their mother’s scent and can differentiate it from other odors.1 After feeding, your baby loves to snuggle in your comfy arms or lap. But soon, it gets accustomed to your fragrance, warmth and soothing touch and cries if placed in the discomfort of a cold crib. For some parents, long and exhausting durations of holding and rocking the baby to sleep seems to be the only way. These 6 effective ways will help you get your baby to sleep in its crib.
1. Sleep With Your Baby’s Blanket
Since the baby has been nursing for quite some time, it knows your scent by now. Sleep with your baby’s blanket or cot’s sheet for some days. This will spread your body smell over it and make the baby sense a familiar comfort when you put it in the cot for sleep. After being snuggled in your arms, the baby senses sudden discomfort from the change of place. Swaddle the baby in its blanket and make sure the crib is warm and ready for it to sleep in.
Note: Don’t leave your baby’s toys or pillow in the crib while it is asleep. It might roll in sleep, which may increase the risk of suffocation if objects like that are around.
2. Follow A Routine Sleep
As you prepare for putting your baby to sleep, start with a series of practices and repeat them daily. Draw the curtains or dim the lights. Cradle your baby while singing him a familiar lullaby. Make sure the crib is warm and cozy before you place it in the cot. It will take some time for the baby to get used to the schedule, however, if you stick to it, it will eventually come to associate it with the sleeping time.
3. Prefer Feeding Before Sleeping
A hungry baby will get up from sleep even in the middle of night. As a near-bedtime routine, feed your baby—prefer breast milk over any snacks if it has started its semi-solid diet. Don’t feed a heavy snack, which otherwise could hinder with its sleep. Follow the usual bedtime routine of dimming the lights or signing a lullaby. Rubbing of eyes and yawning means the sleep is taking over. Place your baby in the cot soon after. With a fuller tummy, it will doze off quickly until the next feeding time of course.
4. Keep Your Baby Close
Have an eye on your baby at night. You need not make it sleep in the bed beside you, which is dangerous. The safer option is to place its cot next to your side of the bed. This makes it easy for you to comfort and feed it at night. If the height of the cot allows, you can gently pat it to sleep while you are in your bed. It also cuts off the risk of accidents like SID (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), while your baby sleeps soundly knowing that mommy is not too far. American Academy of Pediatrics recommends making your baby sleep in a cot in the same room as yours, preferably for the first full year.2
5. Siesta In The Cot
Who doesn’t like taking a nap in the middle of the day? But, if your baby is less than a year old, it needs more sleep. A 12-16 hours sleep a day is a must for your infant.3 Daytime naps is when you baby sleeps twice or thrice a day. This could be an opportunity window to get it used to sleep in the cot. Follow the usual bedtime routine, and place it in the crib soon after. Pat your baby gently if it cries or simply, place a hand to comfort it, but don’t pick it up immediately. Wait for it to calm down. Sleeping in the cot during daytime will eventually help it settle in the cot at night.
6. No Gadgets Before Sleep Time
The last and most important of all things, not only for your baby but also for you, is to lock that gadget’s screen half an hour before sleep time. If you are trying to put it to sleep in the presence of your phone or laptop, you might actually be distracting it from one. Sleeping routine in toddlers is also found to get disturbed by watching televisions.4 As parents, it’s up to you to limit your toddler’s exposure to screens, which can, without a doubt, have negative effects on your child.
When a baby arrives, a parent eventually learns to develop the quality of patience over time. Your baby will not start loving its cot and blanket all of a sudden as you will try to make it sleep there. Developing a schedule and sticking to it will slowly make it used to the sleeping time, which ultimately means sleeping in the cot.
|↑1||Schleidt, Margret, and Carola Genzel. “The significance of mother’s perfume for infants in the first weeks of their life.” Ethology and Sociobiology 11, no. 3 (1990): 145-154.|
|↑2||How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained.American Academy of Pediatrics|
|↑3||AAP Supports Childhood Sleep Guidelines.American Academy of Pediatrics|
|↑4||Thompson, Darcy A., and Dimitri A. Christakis. “The association between television viewing and irregular sleep schedules among children less than 3 years of age.” Pediatrics 116, no. 4 (2005): 851-856.|