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All work and no sleep can make parents, well, miserable. And when you have a child that is, for all intents and purposes, nocturnal, your blissful family life can quickly turn into a waking (and wakeful) nightmare.
Not to mention that sleep is also vital for your new little bundle of joy. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, newborns (up to 2 months old) need 10.5 to 18 hours of sleep each day. Of course, making sure they get their sleep may be a daunting task for parents — but not impossible.
Find the right mattress
The firmness of your baby's mattress can have a huge impact on his sleep and overall health. It's important to find a mattress that supports your baby perfectly. Better pressure relief helps protect your baby from cradle cap and plagiocephaly (the flat head condition from a mattress that is too firm) and helps your baby sleep longer and better too!
Eating is a relaxing and comforting time for babies and a time when they're often lulled off to sleep. To help them sleep better at night, keep daytime feedings active and lively, and save the cozy and comforting feedings for the evening. Your baby will learn the difference and know when it's time to nod off.
Be tough about schedules
Setting a hard-and-fast sleeping schedule for your baby will help him or her subconsciously recognize when it's time for shut-eye. Start by putting your baby to sleep at the same time every night, and waking them (yes, waking them) at the same time each morning. Follow the schedule religiously and your baby will naturally fall into a healthy sleeping routine.
Create a nightly ritual
Dinner, bath time, book and bed: whatever your nighttime routine, make sure you stick to it. As you repeat the same activities every night, your baby will begin to recognize that it's time for night-night.
Offer a security object
A security object — that isn't you — is a good way to help a resistant baby fall asleep on his own. A stuffed animal or blanket can offer comfort, especially if the object smells like you. Babies have a strong sense of smell, so keep the object on or around you for a few hours before handing it over.
If you're the only one who can get your baby to sleep, you're going to be chained to the nursery. Instead, share the role of comforter with your partner or at least one other person. That way, you'll get a little freedom without sacrificing an entire night of your child's sleep.
Use a sound machine
Associating sleep with a certain sound — like rain or crickets chirping — can help your baby recognize when it's time to sleep. A sound machine is an easy way to do this; just turn it on when it's time for sleep. This is also an easy way to help your baby sleep when traveling or staying in a new place.
Don't rely on crutches
Your baby may fall asleep every time you go for a drive, but that's not really a sustainable method for getting them to sleep every night. Be careful when using sleep "crutches" like car rides, rocking chairs or swings; your baby may decide that's the only way they want to fall asleep. Instead, help them recognize that the crib means sleep — not the swing or the car seat.
Do the swaddle
Young babies feel more comforted when they're swaddled up tightly. To help yours recognize that it's time to sleep, dress them loosely during the day and swaddle them tightly in a thin cotton blanket at night.
Once you've got your little ones sleeping well, IntelliBED will make sure you have the best sleep of your life. Find the right mattress for you: IntelliBED.com
Kristen has a journalism degree and has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.