Getting your little one to sleep through the night is no easy task, but paediatrician and child development expert Dr Harvey Karp claims there are a few simple tricks parents can use to help keep their baby sleeping for longer.
The American paediatrician, who is well known for his celebrated book The Happiest Baby on the Block, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the key to getting babies to nod off is to try and recreate the environment they had in the womb.
“From the womb, babies have been learning to recognise motion, sound and a cuddly embrace that naturally makes them feel calm and at ease,” he explains.
“Think about it, most people fall asleep in trains, planes and cars because they like the sound and these are all an echo of the experience we had in the womb.
“So, in those first few months they are almost irresistible for a baby and calms them and promotes sleep.”
Dr Karp argues that we should treat a baby’s the first six months outside the womb like a “fourth trimester”.
He tells Yahoo Lifestyle that doing these four things each day will do the trick.
Create white noise
Thanks to the internet, this is easy and free for anyone to do. You can simply find a clip of white noise online or use an app on your mobile phone.
It helps lull your baby to sleep because the continual noise imitates the whooshing sound made by the blood flowing through arteries near the womb.
The key to swaddling is to make sure it is very snug, but still allows for the legs and hips to be loose.
Babies love the feeling being snuggly wrapped around the arms because the continuous touching and support feels like what they experienced in the womb.
You need to make sure that your baby is getting enough food during the day time.
Dr Karp explains that a common mistake that mothers are making is how they breastfeed because they feed on one breast for 20 to 30 minutes without switching to the other side.
He says that the way breasts work means a certain amount of milk collects in the collecting system – meaning an ounce or two is waiting there ready to go.
So if you don’t switch, then the baby doesn’t get as much milk as they need and this means they will be hungry sooner in the middle of the night.
When the baby was in the womb, every movement the mum made created a swinging motion, so babies look to be rocked to sleep.
Rocking chairs, car rides and swinging motions should all do the trick. However, it has recently been recommended to avoid using swings because the baby’s head is so heavy that it could fall forward and cause them to have difficulty breathing.
“This is why I came out with my baby bed SNOO… it can help imitate the womb all night long,” Dr Karp adds. “Imagine your older sister moves in and held, rocked and shushed your baby all night long, it wouldn’t be a surprise if your baby slept an extra hour or two. So in many ways SNOO is not really a bed, it is like if you older sister is there with you.”
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