This post was written in partnership with Chicco.
Back when my first baby was born, I don’t think I slept more than three hours at any one time for the first four months. I don’t remember a lot of it, but I do remember breaking down in tears more than once out of sheer, half-crazed exhaustion. It hardly needs to be said: parents all want more sleep. But when you’ve got a baby in the mix, it can seem impossible.
Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs there is. Let’s be honest, you’ll never sleep as well as you did before kids (heck, I’m ten years in and still waiting), but fortunately there are some things that can help. If your New Year’s resolution is to get a better sleep, here are five ways to help you and your baby get a better night’s sleep this year!
Establish a Regular Bedtime Routine
Creating a regular bedtime routine will go a long way towards getting a good night’s sleep. Start your routine at the same time every night, perhaps with a warm bath and diaper change before a story and lullaby. Dim the lights, remove distractions, and reduce stimulation to create a calm, soothing environment that helps your baby recognize it’s time to sleep.
Massage Your Baby
If your baby is having a hard time settling at bedtime, try adding a soothing baby massage to your bedtime routine. Studies have shown that regular baby massage can help reduce fussiness and crying and help your baby sleep better and longer. Coconut oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil are all popular and safe choices for baby (but avoid olive oil if your baby has dry skin, broken skin, or eczema).
Read more: 30 Tips to Help Your Fussy Baby Stop Crying
Use a Pacifier
Pacifiers are an exceptionally useful tool. Not only can they help babies fall asleep and self-soothe back to sleep if they wake up, but they also carry the added benefit of reducing the risk of SIDS. There are a lot of pacifiers out there though. Which one to choose?
The Chicco PhysioForma Orthodontic Pacifier has an exclusive nipple design that positions baby’s tongue forward to maintain an open airway and evenly distributes pressure against the palate to actively support baby’s physiological breathing and proper oral development. Physiological breathing can improve your baby’s quality of sleep, reduce irritability, and help prevent infections of the oral cavity, which is better for both baby and parents.
Clinically developed, tested, and approved in partnership with an advisory panel of leading neonatologists, pediatricians, and orthodontists, the extra soft, silicone PhysioForma pacifier also adheres to the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics. It’s BPA-free and latex-free, and its one-piece construction makes cleaning easier – no cracks or seams to collect dirt or mildew. The narrow base allows for optimal lip closure, and ventilation holes promote air circulation, helping to reduce moisture buildup on baby’s sensitive skin. Oh, and they come in a reusable carry case that allows you to easily sterilize them in the microwave.
Of course, a pacifier only works if your baby will actually use it, right? Chicco says the PhysioForma paci is accepted by 9 out of 10 babies, but what do real parents think? Currently rated 4.5 stars with over 1200 reviews on Amazon.com, here’s what some other parents had to say:
*Literally* the most realistic nipple shape that I’ve seen in a paci. My 8mo daughter took to it right away and actually keeps it in her mouth. Wish I had found this months ago!!
These are the only pacifiers my son likes. Love that they are made from silicone, are orthodontic, and the best part is they are ONE PIECE! It is hard to find orthodontic pacifiers that are one piece. Don’t have to worry about them coming apart and him choking on [a] piece. Also easy to clean, have washed and boiled many times and they still look brand new! Good quality. Would definitely recommend!
We delayed introducing a paci in order to encourage our baby to breastfeed. At 4 months, he was a GREAT breastfeeder (YAY!) but would not take any paci. Daycare REALLY wanted him to use a paci. I tried literally every paci sold at our local big box retailer. The baby would not use them. Then I found these on Amazon and gave them a try. The baby LOVES them. He instantly accepted it. If you’re struggling to find a paci your kid will use, try this one…
Regulate Light and Temperature
Newborns sleep and eat around the clock, and you just have to take it as it comes. But as they grow, you can expect them to gradually develop a more regular wake/sleep cycle, usually around 3-4 months. This wake/sleep cycle is a Circadian rhythm, a roughly 24-hour cycle that regulates sleeping and waking periods, mostly driven by variations in light levels.
You can help your baby develop their Circadian rhythm by regulating the light and temperature of their waking and sleeping hours. During the day, keep things bright with lots of natural light and movement. Before bedtime, turn the temperature down a bit (65-70 degrees Fahrenheit or 18-21 degrees Celsius) and use room-darkening blinds or blackout curtains to keep it dark.
If your baby often wakes up crying and hungry in the middle of the night, try adding a dream feed. Dream feeding means gently rousing your sleeping baby before your own bedtime (usually between 10:00 pm and midnight) to top them up with one more feed. Fitting in that extra feeding session before you go to bed can help reduce nighttime wakings and result in better sleep for the both of you.
Start by holding baby closely and gently tickle their lower lip with your nipple (breast or bottle) to prompt them to feed, without fully waking them up (that’s the dream part). If your baby is too deeply asleep to respond, you can gently rouse them by stroking their hands or feet, changing their diaper, or lightly wiping their face with a cool cloth. Nurse 5-10 minutes on one side, then offer the other side. Keep things dark and quiet during this dream feed so they can quickly go back to sleep.
Win a Chicco Pacifier Prize Pack!
One lucky reader will win a selection of Chicco PhysioForma pacifiers, a Chicco universal pacifier clip, and a Natural Fit Pocket Buddy. Enter in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the US, 18+. All the winner’s entries will be verified.
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation. Nevertheless, I only share information I believe will be of interest and benefit to my readers. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own. Your experience may differ.