After the birth, your child will be completely dependent on you. He will continuously give you signals, including sleep signals. Your baby will let you know when it’s been enough; he wants rest and a good sleep. There are early and late sleep signals. Put your child to bed after the very first sleep signals you pick up, even if he still seems very awake!
Recognize the signals
Your baby will start yawning and rubbing his eyes. Your child doesn’t feel like playing anymore, but becomes clingy and would prefer to be close to you. Your little one will look a little paler, but at the same time he will get red cheeks and ears. These are all ways for your baby to let you know that it’s been enough for a while and he’d actually prefer to go to sleep. If you don’t respond to that signal, your child will get more and more restless, and start whining and eventually crying. At that moment your baby will have reached the point where he’s so tired that he can’t think of anything else to do.
Pay close attention to your baby. He is giving you all kinds of signals, you especially! How beautiful is that!?
Crying is often a last resort for your baby to tell you that it’s tired and in need of sleep. Don’t let your child get overtired, and put him to bed in time. Even if your child seems to be very much awake. After such a first light sleep signal, your baby will still be calm and content when he’s put to bed. This will give the cradle or bed a sense of comfort and familiarity. An overtired baby hates being left alone with all that sadness. Because of an overload of impressions, your baby will be very restless and he’ll wake up more quickly. If you make your child extra tired or ignore sleep signals, he will not sleep better. Just the opposite! He will be subjected to an overload of impressions, making it even harder for him to fall asleep. A baby who sleeps during the day, often sleeps better at night.
A fixed sleep ritual
Your child always needs some time to give in to sleep. That same predictability is important for this too. If you always put your child to bed with a fixed ritual, your baby will start recognizing this right away. It will bring your child rest, which makes falling asleep easier for him. Examples of these sleeping rituals are putting your baby in a sleeping bag, or tucking him in tightly, singing him a song, giving him a kiss and putting on a tune. Keep it short, clear and calm.
The first faint yawn is enough to let me know that Lieke will have to go back to bed soon. Even if we are still having fun; I know it can go downhill quickly!