All newborns are, of course, different. Some sleep better than others at a young age, which prompts many parents to trade stories of how “lucky” or “unlucky” they were with a given child. There is, no doubt, a certain amount of mystery to getting a child to sleep well and through the night on his own. Nevertheless, a plethora of baby sleep tips exist intended to speed up the process which your child goes through before sleeping on his own.
Getting your child to sleep on his own in a timely fashion involves speeding up a natural transition: the one from sleeping with his mother to sleeping on his own. At first, when your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, he will cry for his mother, as this is the only way he knows how to fall asleep. One of the things you must do as a parent is help create the best environment for your baby to fall asleep on his own.
Many people naturally assume that the best environment for sleep is one of total silence: most of us are familiar with having to tiptoe around a sleeping baby’s room. Although a quiet environment is the best one for most adults, you’d be well advised to remember where your newborn baby has been sleeping for the past nine months: in his mother’s womb. In the womb, of course, your newborn slept in many situations that were far from quiet – when the mother was out in public, or socializing with other people. For this reason a newborn baby will often sleep better by being exposed to some quiet background noise.
You should be trying to allow some ambient “white noise” to be around your baby when he goes to sleep. Sudden loud noises will, of course, rouse him, but in most cases some background chatter and other soothing noises will help the sleep process: most adults, I’m sure, can likely remember falling asleep to the sounds of their parents and their friends having a conversation.
There are products marketed to new parents to create these ambient noises – most notably audio CDs containing tracks of soothing noise. It usually isn’t necessary to buy these, however – in most cases simply leaving the door to the baby’s nursery ajar will do the trick. In a similar vein, if your baby falls asleep around company, allow him to stay there rather than moving him to a quiet room.
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By helping to create the best possible environment for your baby’s sleep, you help him learn to fall asleep in his own. Often a humming noise can help – we all know how easy it can be to fall asleep in a moving car – so having a humidifier or fan in the baby’s room can often do wonders.
Whatever solution you choose, remember that it needn’t be overly complicated. Simply leave the door ajar, or let your baby sleep in the company of others. Contrary to what many people intuitively think, if you keep your baby from sleeping in total silence, he’ll often sleep much better.