Going into motherhood, the change and challenge that kept me up at night (pun intended) was wondering, “When will my baby sleep through the night?” Sleep is a non-negotiable in feeling my best, healthy self, so it was the biggest win in early motherhood to have my baby girl sleeping through the night. Sure, some newborns are naturally better sleepers than others, but I do swear by these 5 sleep hacks:
Sunlight first thing in the morning. Since bringing our baby girl home from the hospital, we have maintained a routine of getting outside within the first 20-30 minutes of her morning wake (the one following sunrise). Bright light in the morning really helps to keep your internal clock synced, helping you feel more naturally alert in the morning and, in turn, feel sleepy and fall asleep earlier in the evening. If part of this routine is going on a walk outside – parents, don’t wear your sunglasses. Reducing light exposure to your eyes early in the morning can negatively affect your circadian rhythm, messing with your sleep health and potentially manifesting into larger issues like hormonal imbalance and cognitive issues.
Dreamland Baby Weighted Sleep Swaddle and Weighted Sleep Sack. There’s a reason the nurses swaddle our babies in the hospital. Swaddling helps regulate a baby’s body temperature, eliminates the need for blankets (a potential suffocation hazard), and tends to help babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It can feel like a smooth transition from mama’s belly for newborns. The next best transition: swaddle to a sleep sack. We made that transition once our baby started rolling over. I call the Sleep Sack our babe’s nighty security blanket because it truly does help her self-soothe so much better than without it. We use the Dreamland Weighted Sleep Sack for every nap and nighttime – unless the nap happens in her car seat, which is always a gamble.
Optimal temperature. 68 degrees is where you want your thermostat for everyone in the house to sleep like a baby.
Healthy fats. Protein and carbohydrates are essential too, and very much necessary for growing babies. Still, I have found through personal experience that our baby girl sleeps so much more soundly (whether it be a nap or nighttime) when her meals are packed with healthy fats. Research shows that babies’ brains need 50 percent fat at six months.
Add a healthy drizzle of olive oil to their meals, cook your babe’s veggies and protein with a generous amount of butter (if you have exposed them to dairy already) and serve them foods rich in omega-3 fats, like salmon and eggs. I have shared this tip with some other new moms, and a couple of them told me that since incorporating more fats into their babe’s diets since starting solid foods, they have been able to cut out feeds in the middle of the night.
If your babe is not yet six months old or not eating solid foods yet, and you are breastfeeding, making sure your diet is high in healthy fats is valuable in helping with milk supply and increasing the fat content in your breastmilk.
Consistency. Babies appreciate a nighttime routine, and for us, that looks like dinner, bath time, a little playtime and book, and then a nightcap feed with the lights off and sound machine. Once bath time starts, our baby girl has the following sequence of nightly events down and often gives us cues to move onto the final feed faster so she can get in her crib. Sure there are nights when we are out with her that we don’t follow this rule – but just like my approach to nutrition, we follow an 80-20 rule.
Hi, my name is Alec and I was born and bread in Orange County, CA. I live to eat, and can’t understand people who just eat to live and “forget to eat lunch.” Outside of food, fitness is my other favorite ‘f’ word. I played D1 NCAA volleyball at Arizona State University, and while I don’t rock a jersey with number 13 on the back anymore, I will forever be an athlete. I live for competition. I love to challenge myself and never underestimate what hard work and dedication can do. School has always been my thing. I have my bachelors degree in journalism, a Masters in strategic public relations from the University of Southern California and am a certified nutritionist and health coach. I spent most of my 20s doing PR for “the” Taco Bell as my main gig. Today, I am living my dream and purpose inspiring the healthy spirit animal in others, am married to my best friend and am mom to baby girl Cooper Jean.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Dreamland Baby.