Helping Your Newborn Fall Back to Sleep
It’s 2am, and suddenly you hear the shrieking cries of your newborn – she is awake again for the third time tonight. After a month of this, you are completely exhausted, frustrated, and concerned about how much longer you can hold out.
Your patience is compromised by the fact that you haven’t slept a full night in weeks, and tears may slowly begin to roll out of the corners of your eyes.
Welcome to early motherhood.
What makes things even more tiring is that the 6 week old baby you are trying to lull back to sleep is not in the mood to rest, even though you absolutely are. So, with a glimmer of hope that someday you’ll be able to sleep again, you keep trying! You change her diaper, feed her, and kiss her little cheek just to make sure they don’t feel too cool or have a fever.
You may have also gently try to work that very last burp out of her tiny tummy while rubbing her back, and swaying back and forth. Maybe you have even have tried the rocking chair, swinging her from side to side, holding her in your arms, and gently bouncing up and down.
Your patience is compromised by the fact that you haven’t slept a full night in weeks, and tears may slowly begin to roll out of the corners of your eyes – an involuntary reaction to physical, and emotional exhaustion. Every parent has been there.
When none of these routine tricks seem to work at getting your baby to fall back asleep, you may want to begin looking at your daily routine.
If you are at your wits end and conscious enough to try taking a moonlight drive around your neighborhood.
Many babies are born with their nights and days mixed up, and unless this problem is handled, it can be the root source for many of your nighttime battles. Begin by decreasing later afternoon naps by 10-20 minutes at a time, and wake your baby up (yes, wake your sleeping baby) in the morning about 30-60 minutes earlier. Implementing some fine tuning into their schedule, in the evening, you will end up having a baby who is more tired, willing to sleep for longer periods of time, and less likely to wake up.
If you are at your wits end and conscious enough to try taking a moonlight drive around your neighborhood. It just may do the trick to get your baby to sleep. You can then detach the car seat from the base and place it in your bedroom (keeping your baby buckled in), hoping that they will sleep for the remainder of the night. Some babies may react well to the background sound of a humidifier or the noise of a television on low, and it can often be just enough of a distraction to get their mind off why they woke up in the first place.
When your newborn awakes, try your routine without turning on the light, this may help keep them a little more drowsy or calm. Pacifiers can also help babies learn to soothe themselves back to sleep, but know that infants can’t put them back in their own mouth so you may have to help them with this until they fall back asleep.
One thing that all parents should realize is that waking up in the middle of the night is a certain fact of parenthood. Even when your baby begins to stay asleep all night, there will be nights throughout the rest of your life you will be subject to midnight cries, and pleas from your children. Sometimes, the cure-all can be moving your baby’s crib into your room so you will hear them and be able to reach him more quickly.
As with all phases of childhood, this one will end! So try to remain patient, and know that things will be much better very soon