“Sleepy Time” Tips
The Top Ten tips for Promoting Healthy Sleep in Infants
by Marilee Hartling, RN, MFT
1. Create an environment for your infant that supports sleep. Your baby’s sleep time environment should be dark and quiet. Take care that the environment around the crib is not too stimulating.
2. Create a “Sleepy Time” routine for your infant and try to follow it consistently each night.
3. Learn to differentiate “baby sleep sounds” from “arousal sounds” which do not require attention.
4. Observe closely for sleep ques and time bedtime accordingly. This prevents your baby from becoming overly tired, which may prolong transitions into sleep.
5. Feed more frequently during the daytime in preparation for sleep at night.
6. Use adequate protective diaper cream at night and avoid frequent diaper changes, which arouse baby during the night.
7. Limit interaction with infant at night. “Night time is sleepy time, daytime is playtime! Now it’s time for sleep!”
8. Promote attachment to a transitional object or “Lovey.” Wear the transitional object for an hour so it picks up your scent. Mommy’s familiar smell can be comforting and calming to babies.
9. Support your infant’s own attempts to self-regulate or self-soothe.
- Encourage sucking on fingers, thumbs, or pacifiers. My favorite is the “WubbaNub.”
- Position baby at the bottom of the crib or bassinet to allow for “foot-bracing.”
- Observe for and support other self-soothing behaviors, including bringing hands to mid-line, holding hands or feet together, or rocking.
10. When feeding baby, remove the breast or bottle occasionally as he becomes drowsy. Let your baby practice finishing his falling asleep in your arms not attached to the nipple.
For more tips and a discussion of the many ways to help babies fall asleep, you are invited to attend the “Sleepy Time” class at the Hollywood Pump Station. This class is part of the Pump Station’s Hot Topic Series. The next class will be held Thursday, February 12, at 1:00 pm. To register, please call the Hollywood Pump Station at (323) 469-5300.