If your baby still isn't sleeping through the night at a year, I have good news and bad news. The good news -- it might not be something you're doing wrong, so quit feeling bad about yourself! The bad news, poor nighttime sleep might be genetic, which means there's not much you can do about it. One study concluded that baby's nighttime sleep -- up to 18 months of age -- very well may just be because they were born a bad nighttime sleeper. However, the study also found that babies' naps are more influenced by environmental factors as opposed to genetics. Yay?
So, for you parents out there who are still waking up in the middle of the night (long past the point you thought you would be!), take some solace in the fact that, at 18 months, you may have more control. And try these 6 tips for creating a wonderfully peaceful nap environment for your baby. May as well get some rest during the day if you can't get it at night!
1. Make it dark. As someone who recently went from a place with blackout shades to a place with no blackout shades, I can attest, darkness does make a difference. Invest in some black-out shades or curtains, or do something to make the room darker than it is. It's hard to sleep in broad daylight.
2. No TV. The study found that once your baby hits 18 months, environment comes into play in regards to sleep -- and it also mentions having the TV on at night could be an environmental factor. Skip the TV during the day, or at the very least, turn it off before naptime. Too much stimulation for a little one.
3. Try a fan or noise machine. If your house or neighborhood is on the noisy side, try drowning out sound with a fan or a noise machine of some sort. And even if you don't live in a noisy area, the sound of a fan is soothing.
4. Stick to a routine. Babies are creatures of habit. Try to have the same naptime routine each day. Get her room ready, give her a bottle or breast, rock her gently, etc. She will come to expect these steps and they'll be soothing to her.
5. But don't go crazy with the clock. My daughter takes a nap around the same time each day, 10-something. But it's never the exact same time. If she woke up early, she'll probably get tired closer to 10-10:15. If she "slept in", it'll probably be closer to 10:45. The key is reading her cues. It's obvious when she's tired. Don't be a slave to the clock. Put your child down when they seem tired. If you try to do it too early, it may backfire and no nap may happen at all.
6. Try putting a piece of your clothing in bed with baby. As long as your child is the appropriate age, put a thin t-shirt of yours in her crib or bassinet. I did this a few times when my daughter was really small, and it seemed to work. The smell of a parent is comforting to a baby. But please, don't leave your child alone in a crib with an item of clothing -- or anything -- if they're old enough or small enough to suffocate themselves with it. Consult your doctor on when it's okay to do this.
What sleep tips do you have for your babies, Moms?
Image via iStock.com/jackiemcd