If you are reading this article, chances are, you are approaching your wits end when it comes to bed time. As a new dad, one of the biggest hurdles is to help your baby establish good sleeping habits. Below, we'll discuss 3 tips for improving your bed time strategy.
#1 – Establish a Routine
As with other aspects of being a new dad, routines are great at cementing patterns and actions into a repeatable process. We all like to have specific routines for certain aspects of our lives, and babies are no different. When establishing a routine for bed time, keep a few things in mind. First, set a time that makes sense for you, your wife, and for your baby. 8 pm is a generally good time to either start the process or end the process. I personally find that dinner at 6, bath-new diaper-pajamas at 7, and a bottle right before they are laid down at 7:30 works for us, but it might not for you and your situation. Second, stick to that routine. Don't let anything come between you and that routine, except for maybe holidays/vacations. Third, stick to that routine. Again, this is huge, and will help your baby establish good sleep habits more than anything else.
#2 – A Well Fed Baby Sleeps Longer
Before putting your baby to sleep, make sure he/she has a full stomach. It doesn't matter when you are along the spectrum, whether they are just nursing/bottle feeding or eating some mush, feed them right before bed. Newborns will need to be fed throughout the night, but that should start to get more spaced out as they get older.
#3 – Clean and Dry Diapers
How do you think you would sleep at night with a soggy diaper hugging your privates? Not very well I would guess. Some babies don't care about this at all, but others are very sensitive to this. Make sure they have a fresh, dry diaper right before you lay them down. Newborns are tricky because they go through something like 20 diapers a day. If they are fussing in the night, they are usually either hungry or need a new diaper.
One more thought on the routine. This should also include how you handle the separation anxiety. If you are going with the 'cry it out' method, stick with it and don't give in. If you are going with the 'check on them often' method, stick with that method as well. Good luck!