Many parents need to utilize sleep aids for babies when trying to develop good sleep habits in infants. Sleep aids have a place and time to be used, but if they are allowed to be used for an extended period of time they can actually cause more problems than solutions. Even the best infant sleepers need some help every now and then.
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Some of the best sleep aids are techniques that parents are taught to help when getting babies to sleep. The first technique, swaddling, is often used in the hospital nursery and taught to parents before they take their newborn home. Swaddling works best on infants that are under a month old. The swaddling helps infants feel warm and secure. The tight blanket also keeps the infant from being awakened from his own startle reflex while sleeping.
Sucking techniques using either a pacifier or thumb helps a baby soothe himself, allowing him to sleep. There are debates as to which is better for a baby to use. The thumb can’t be lost during the night so babies are less likely to wake up at night. A pacifier is designed to prevent dental problems and can be taken away when it is no longer appropriate.
Another technique that can help babies that don’t sleep well is to establish a consistent bedtime routine. Children appreciate routine because it gives them a sense of control over their environment. Babies begin to associate certain activities with bedtime as young as 6 to 12 weeks old. Being consistent is the key when attempting to develop a routine. Bedtime should be the same, not dependent on the day. Weekends should be the same as weekdays.
Many parents will try anything to establish sound sleep for babies. Marketers know this and have developed many sleep aids for babies. Parents need to beware of every gizmo and gimmick that comes along promising to help babies sleep. Bassinets are now equipped with motors that will keep them rocking or vibrating to help soothe baby back to sleep. Parents have been utilizing this method of soothing their infants for years by placing them on top of a running dryer. The vibrations are thought to help calm a baby down.
Some parents have found help in utilizing a swing to help their baby fall asleep. These are usually successful, but it is extremely possible that the baby will become dependent on the swinging motion to fall asleep. Other motion producing items are also used to help babies sleep. Be sure not to let the baby become dependent on them to sleep.
All sleep aids need to be used for a limited amount of time to prevent dependency. It is a good rule of thumb to remember that sleep aids are a means to an end. Parents need to be certain that they don’t become a crutch that babies need to fall or stay asleep. There will always be different opinions on sleep aids for babies; be sure to use what works for your specific situation