As the wail of your infant creeps through every nook and cranny in your house, finding its way into your bedroom and attacking your oh-so-delicate eardrums, you likely find yourself thinking you would do anything to get her to stop. Although, as any new parent knows, even your best efforts may prove insufficient to completely stop the nighttime fussies, you can sometimes reduce your infant’s overnight upset. With just a few adjustments, you can help your little one feel more secure at night, potentially increasing the amount of blissfully restful slumber for you.
1 Spend time with your infant in her room during waking hours. If your little one only goes to her room when it is time for sleep, it could seem like a foreign, scary place. Transform this space into a familiar one by playing with your infant in her bedroom often.
2 Add some white noise. Strangely enough, silence can be scary for your little one. Turning on a fan or using a white noise machine can make her bedroom feel familiar and safe, as it more closely replicates the constant noise to which your infant was accustomed in the womb.
3 Swaddle your infant. Before birth, she was tucked safely -- and tightly -- in the womb. Now she’s out in this big scary world, and understandably she’s a little frightened. Help simulate the confines of Mommy’s belly by wrapping your infant in a swaddler or using a receiving blanket to swaddle her tightly. Swaddling, however, only works for the first few months of baby's life; after that, the swaddle is generally too confining.
4 Cosleep with your child. Though commonly equated to sharing a bed with your little one, by definition, "cosleeping" is simply sleeping in close proximity to your child, points out Attachment Parenting International. If your infant fusses the night away, try taking her out of her crib and putting her in a bassinet in your bedroom to make her feel more secure.
5 Return to your baby's room and calm her if she cries. Don't overstay your welcome, however. Leave as soon as she has calmed down, allowing her to practice soothing herself. By returning and then quickly departing, you can clearly communicate that you are close by and that she is safe.
- Zero to Three: Sleep Challenges in Infants and Toddlers, Why it Happens, What to Do
- Attachment Parenting International: Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
- Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford: Infant Sleep
- Palo Alto Medical Foundation: Night and Day Reversal
- Parents: 23 Ways to Soothe a Fussy Newborn
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images