A great sleep environment leads to great sleep. So what constitutes a great sleep environment….
1. Ensure the room is dark and I really mean pitch dark. If light is going into your child’s eye then it signals to the brain that they should be awake. Therefore the sleep hormone melatonin is not released and then your child will have difficulty drifting off the sleep or even staying asleep. If their little peepers happen to open during lighter sleep between sleep cycles, they wake up and and then nap is over.
Some parents are concerned that their baby will then need to always sleep in the dark. I can understand their concern. However, the darker it is, typically the better we sleep as humans. Most of the time baby will be at home sleeping in the crib so that is really where we want create the perfect environment. Sure, naps out and about may not happen in total darkness, but that is not where most of your baby’s sleep is taking place, so no need to worry.
2. There should be nothing in the crib other than your baby, either swaddled or in a sleep sack. You can introduce a small lovey in the form of a stuffed animal or blankie once your baby can roll over both ways comfortably. Mobiles, aquariums and stuffed animals that play music are just too stimulating and send a mixed message. Baby now wonders if it is sleep time or play time.
3. Swaddling works great until a baby reaches 3 months old and then I reccomend the sleep sack. It keeps your baby cozy and the same temperature throughout the night. And you can rest easy not worrying about her getting tangled in a blanket. It has an added benefit down the road. Babies who sleep in a sleep sack are a less likely to make a break for it and climb out of the crib.
4. White noise can be a great tool to drown out external noises that may wake your baby. If you live on a noisy street, have a dog or other children in your house, white noise can provide that buffer of sound to drown out all of the startling noises that may wake your baby