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As winter rolls around, one of the many things you’re stressing over may include how you’re going to keep the cold from affecting your baby. We’re talking about dropping temperatures, chilly weather, and the end result of all kinds of discomfort – the lack of sleep! It’s tricky enough to ensure that your baby gets a good night’s sleep on regular days but the cold weather can make the situation a little more difficult to handle. However, these tips should help you tide over sleepless nights and give way to restful ones!
Video: How to Make Your Baby Sleep Soundly During Winters
9 Tips To Make Your Baby Sleep Well in Winter
The best way to ensure that your baby sleeps well, irrespective of the season, is to ensure that there is a bedtime routine in place. This way, your baby knows that his bedtime is near and doesn’t fight you off too much while you’re trying to make him sleep. Bring about a few tweaks in this routine to make it more winter-friendly for your baby.
To check if your baby is too cold while he’s asleep, touch the back of his neck or his tummy. If these parts seem cold to the touch, your baby will need heat immediately. Read on to find out what else you need to know.
1. Cut Back on All Stimulating Activities Close To Bedtime
Loud noises on the TV or mobile phone apps, plenty of lights, noisy toys, food that provides energy – these are some of the many things that can keep your little one up and running. Around 2 hours to bedtime, slowly cut back on each of these things and make sure that everything around the baby is set to relax, not stimulate him.
2. Setting The Right Temperature
Did you know that your body’s internal temperature plays a role in making you feel drowsy? During mornings the temperature is at high levels, making you feel quite energised. This temperature dips slightly in the afternoon, making you feel a bit groggy during the day, and much more tired after the sun goes down and the body releases the hormone melatonin that helps you sleep. It’s important that the temperature of the room your baby sleeps in complements his internal temperature, so that he isn’t up and wailing in the middle of the night feeling too hot or cold. In the winter season, it’s best to maintain a temperature of around 23 to 26 degree Celsius in the room. Opt for a warm mist humidifier to place in your baby’s room, instead of a heater.
3. Skip Your Baby’s Bath
Bathing your baby on a cold winter’s night isn’t going to make him feel relaxed, it’s just going to agitate him! Instead, simply give him a sponge bath if absolutely necessary, wiping his head and the body with a wet washcloth. Make sure that you don’t bathe him for too long as the water’s temperature can drop down quickly.
4. Massage Your Baby
The benefits of a good massage for your baby are plenty, but especially at night-time, a relaxing massage can help your baby drift off to sleep sooner. To make sure that he stays relaxed (and therefore, asleep!), use a soothing balm like Vicks BabyRub* (specially made for babies of age 3 months and above) that contains aloe vera and coconut oil, and the fragrances of lavender and rosemary which help promote sleep. Simply rub Vicks BabyRub* over his neck, chest, hands, and the soles of his feet. A 10-minute massage with gentle pressure should do the trick and have your baby well-rested for the night.
5. Don’t Pack on The Layers
While logic suggests that bundling your baby in layers will keep him warm, the reality is otherwise. Too many layers can overheat your baby, making him extremely uncomfortable or even increase the risk of SIDS. If you see your baby sweating while sleeping, it definitely means that you need to peel off a few layers. Also, ensure that you don’t use a heavy blanket to cover him (another factor that can cause SIDS). Instead, wrap your baby in a cosy swaddle that will help him feel warm and comfortable, or put on socks and mittens while dressing him in his onesies or pyjamas. Follow the ‘plus-one’ rule; while dressing your baby, add on an extra layer than you have on.
6. Use Light Wisely
Leaving the curtains open in your baby’s room during mornings lets in enough light to help keep the room warm. So keep the lights bright and shining all day long, but bring them down at night. Light helps to regulate your baby’s internal clock, and can slowly help him adjust to the difference between night and day. Apart from that, babies who receive exposure to the light during the day are able to sleep better at night because the melatonin levels in their body will be suppressed during daytime, peaking only when it’s night. Dimming the light will also make him understand that it’s almost time for bed and help him settle in sooner.
7. Feed Your Baby
Towards bedtime, decrease the duration between your baby’s feeding sessions, so that he feels pretty full and doesn’t call on you for feeding duty in the middle of the night. Bring the duration down by an hour or so, so that he doesn’t feel too full either. It’s best to feed him at the same place every night, so that he associates the time and spot with bedtime.
Note – Get your baby to eat plenty of vegetables during the winter. Soups and stews are just what the doctor ordered for that warm, fuzzy feeling from within!
8. Pay Heed To Health Problems
Winter obviously will bring with it a fair share of problems – colds, coughs, dry and itchy skin to name a few. Inconvenient and unpleasant, these problems can keep your baby up at night! The result? A fussy baby and an equally groggy and tired parent! It’s important to fix your child’s ailment as soon as possible; if it isn’t too severe, you can always try suitable home remedies. Take care of his disturbed slumber with a touch of Vicks VapoRub** (suitable for babies 2 years and above) massaged on his chest, neck, and back. The medicinal properties of menthol, camphor, and eucalyptus oil will help him sleep and provide relief.
9. Turn up The Noise
This is especially helpful in the case of babies who are less than 4 months old, but doesn’t work too bad with older babies either! And no, we’re not talking about loud, stimulating noises. We’re referring to white noise, something akin to what your baby would have been used to while in the womb. Rhythmic sounds like those of the vacuum cleaner, for example, block out backgrounds sounds and help your baby fall asleep faster. Invest in a white noise machine or install related apps on your phone.
Finally, lay your baby down to sleep placing him on his back only, and do not let him lie on his tummy. If you sense that your baby is still too cold while he’s sleeping, hold him close to you and provide him the warmth of your body. No doubt, there’s nothing like your gentle loving touch to comfort your baby and gift him a good night’s sleep!
*Keep the areas of application loosely covered to avoid accidental ingestion or slipping while walking. Read the label carefully. Use as directed.
**Always read the label of the medication. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your doctor/healthcare professional.