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  • Jami Nichols
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Sleep.... sweet sleep.  It's a precious commodity for new parents.  So, what can you do to help your baby sleep better, longer?  We asked our experts to offer their top tips for sleep; put them to use in your home, and you and your baby could find you are waking later and more refreshed.

Expert #1:  Jen Varela, Owner of Sugar Night Night, Certified Gentle Sleep Coach


1. Sweet Spot - Sleep Begets Sleep
It is amazing how this works! What time does your baby go to sleep at night? Is it too late? Did you miss the “sweet spot” sleepy window? For babies six months or older consider a bedtime between 6:30-7:30 p.m. Helping your baby get the proper amount of sleep can reduce fussiness at bedtime, decrease the number of night awakenings and eliminate early rising.

2. Sweet Expectations – Not Normal Is Normal
Is your baby starting to crawl? Could they be in the middle of a developmental milestone? Did you know that when your baby is in a developmental burst that they will … yes, I said WILL have a sleep regression. Did the number of night awakening increase at the same time as they were working on something new? This is a good thing because they are doing what they are supposed to do. They are consolidating memories during REM sleep, integrating their experiences and making new connections in their brain. Want to know what your baby will be working on next? Get The Wonder Weeks APP:

3. Take Your Own Sweet Time – Consistent & Flexible Routines
Routine is defined by a nice flow to your day, not ridged scheduling. Doing the same thing in the same order or fashion. An example would be to eat upon waking or be social and active during alert times. The bedtime routine creates a positive association with going to sleep. You want to have a nice flow to your day and predictability can aid in better sleep. Don’t get caught up in a rigid routine, you might miss your baby’s sleep cues if you get to focused on the clock. Try doing things in the same order before sleep.

4. Home Sweet Home – Sleep Environment
Many families room-share during these early months and the number-one priority is to make sure it is a safe sleeping environment. I have found these two websites to be helpful resources when evaluating if your sleep environment is safe.

If you are room-sharing with your baby, as hard as it is, it is important that the room is non-stimulating. Be sure to turn the TV, IPads, Radios and Cell Phones off as babies are very sensitive to these. A healthy room temperature is between 68-74 degrees. Another thing that you might find useful are room-darkening shades.

5. Sweet Talk – Verbal Sleep Cue
A verbal sleep cue is very helpful with communicating it is time to go to sleep without it being stimulating and overly engaging. Everyone likes a little “sweet-talk” when they are tired. I have use “Sugar Night Night” with my children since birth as my sleep cue, hence the name of my business. My children are in elementary school, but even now from their beds they call out “Sugar Night Night Mom” after I tuck them in. I treasure this tradition.

For these tips in more detail, visit Jen Varela's full article on 5 Sweet Sleep Tips for Baby.


Expert #2: Peyton Theodore, Licensed Acupuncturist, Pregnancy/Birth/Postpartum Wellness Specialist

Are you struggling with your own sleep?  Regular acupuncture treatments stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which enhances your body's 'rest and relaxation' response, which enables:

  1. Reduction of stress hormones
  2. Reduction of anxiety
  3. Increased release of endorphins
  4. Increased feeling of well-being
  5. Increased ability to fall asleep and stay asleep

Give acupuncture a try... contact Peyton Theodore, or  find an acupuncturist near you.


Expert #3: Wendi McKenna, DPT, PCS, C/NDT, Pediatric Physical Therapist, Move Play Grow

  1. Rejuvenate yourself for better sleep!  Movement is one of the fastest ways of rejuvenating in all areas of life, but especially after birth. The right movement will not only help you feel better, but will help you heal. Walking at a leisurely pace outside while wearing your baby (no strollers) will get you reacquainted with the world in your brand new role and allow you to introduce baby to the wonders around us.
  2. Kangaroo care, where baby is skin to skin with you while nursing or in tummy time on your chest, resting comfortably, brings much needed peace and serenity to what is an overwhelming first few weeks of life.

More from Wendi McKenna here.

Sweet Dreams!