Two things go by quicker than the blink of an eye: the amount of sleep you get when you have a baby, and the commitment to New Year's resolutions. We all make them, and most of us forget about them. In fact, 80% of people drop their resolutions by February.
While this blog is about making New Year's resolutions, we want to help you learn how to stick to them as well. You don't need us to tell you the negative effects of bad sleep because you're probably already experiencing them - low energy, grouchiness, lack of focus to name a few. Low amounts of sleep make it hard to show up for your family.
If you're ready to tackle your sleep struggles this year and make a change, here are five resolutions that can help:
1. Sleep for Longer Stretches at Night
You may have laughed at this first one because, duh, right? Of course, you want to sleep for longer stretches at night. But there may be little things in your control that are keeping you from doing so. If your baby is younger than 9 months old, they may still be waking up because they're hungry. In that case, it’s important that they get the food they need.
If your baby is older than 9 months, it may just take some time and practice. Try experimenting with bedtime routines, such as having a bath or reading a book to your children before bed. You can also try moving around their nap schedule so they're going to bed earlier in the evening.
Your baby could also be overtired, meaning they're not getting enough sleep during the day and are so tired by bedtime that they don't want to go to sleep (sounds ironic, we know). Try your best to stick to wake windows during the day, which goes as follows:
- Newborns: try not to keep the baby awake for more than an hour
- 4 to 5 months: 75-90 minutes between naps
- 5-7 months: 1.5-2.5 hours between naps
- 8 to 14 months: 2 hours and then a nap, 3 hours and then another nap
- 15+ months: one nap a day
2. Keep a Nighttime Routine
And that brings us to our second resolution: keeping a nighttime routine. Routines are critical for babies, but we often make the mistake of changing up their bedtime without thinking about how it affects their sleep.
Your nighttime routine doesn't have to be complicated. Some parents swear by warm baths, while others want plenty of cuddles and reading time before bed. It could even look like singing/playing a soft song, turning the white noise machine on, and laying them down. The point is to find what works for you and your baby and do it every night before bedtime. This will help them understand when it's time to snooze, so they'll be more likely to drift off quickly.
3. Find the Right Sleepwear
Since babies were snug and cozy in the womb for 9 months, they love the feeling of being bundled up when they fall asleep. It helps them understand where they are and feel secure, which can help them get to sleep faster.
There are many options out there for sleepwear that make it easy to keep your little one cozy, but also allow freedom of movement so they don't feel restricted or uncomfortable. Swaddles are perfect for babies who aren't able to roll over yet. You could also try a sleep sack or swaddle suit, which is perfect for babies who are breaking out of their swaddle.
4. Reduce Electronics Before Bed
This one can be really hard, especially if you get your baby to sleep before your normal bedtime and then want time to relax. It's easy to turn to your phone or TV to get a little "me-time" but like most things, moderation is key. Do what you can to limit blue light exposure to your baby so that their circadian rhythms aren't affected and they can sleep better.
As for your own sleep hygiene, avoid bringing your phone into bed with you or watching TV while in bed. It might take a while to purge yourself a blue light before bed, but take it 5 to 10 minutes at a time and you'll notice how much more prepared you feel for a good night's sleep.
5. Plan Appropriate Daytime Activities to Promote Nighttime Sleep
It's easy to want to snuggle during your baby’s wake periods, but making sure your baby gets enough activity and stimulation during the day will help them sleep better at night. A regular bedtime routine is crucial, but it's also beneficial to keep things relaxed and quiet during naptimes.
Try taking daily walks around the neighborhood or a local park, reading together, playing outside, or making music together. For young babies, this will look like appropriate tummy time activities. Whatever you do, make sure it's something fun and active that keeps your baby stimulated, but not overtired. You can check out our five ideas for productive daytime activities here!
Crush Your New Year's Resolutions With Baby Merlin
One of the worst things you could do for your sleep would be to try too much. Pick out one or two of these resolutions and see what works for you, or what you can perfect. Whatever you do, remember that every baby is different and what works for one may not work for another.
At the end of the day, your ultimate goal should be to make sure you're both safe and well-rested.
And if you decide that one of your goals is to find the right sleepwear, try out Baby Merlin's sleepsuits or sleep sacks. Designed by parents for parents, our products will help your baby fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Let 2023 be the year of sweet dreams!