Saturday, May 30, 2009

5 tips for better sleep during baby's 2nd month.

So your baby is in the second month of development now, starting to do things like focus on your face while eating, smiling and sometimes laughing in their sleep. This is a very cute stage, and it's even cuter when they sleep well at night. Babies at this age still need to eat at night, but they should be sleeping longer and eating a bit less over all. This is a great time to begin to lay some very basic groundwork for future sleep training. Whether the sleep-solution you go with has crying, or no crying, the adjustment will be smoother if your baby is already sleeping well with some basic positive associations in place.

1. Warm your baby's crib mattress before you lay baby down.
Whether you use a heating pad or a sack of lentils heated in the oven, warming up your baby's bed mattress will help when transferring him into bed, or even relaxing him when placed there awake. For an adult the feel of crisp cool sheets might feel like the most relaxing and comfortable place in the world, but for your baby, your arms are the most safe and relaxing place and they are warm. So it makes perfect sense that your baby would associate a warm surface with safety. Do not leave the heating pad in you baby's crib for too long (over an hour) or heat it too hot (it should feel about as warm as your baby's forehead) and if you are using an electric heating pad check the cord regularly for any hot-spots or fraying. I really recommend using the lentils since they are not a fire-hazard, if you don't have a good bag, you could use a pillow-case or a large sock.

2. Place a recently worn T-shirt in the crib with your baby.
Your baby's eyes might not work so well, and their hearing largely lacks focus and reference points at the age of two months, but their sense of smell is already working quite well. A mother has certain pheromones in her scent that a baby responds to very powerfully. Preemie babies who are given a "scent doll" that their mother has slept with while she was pregnant are calmer, eat more, and sleep better than preemies who aren't. I've observed that this holds true for older babies as well. When a baby can smell her mommies natural body scent, she will be more relaxed and sleep longer. I think it is best to only use the T-shirt at night, because it will encourage a sense of safety and security that will hopefully become associated with their sleeping area and with night time in general.

3. Extend time between feedings by 15 minutes.
Eventually your baby will need to give up the feedings in the middle of the night, and with a little prep work that should be a lot easier. As soon as you hear your baby begin fussing respond, but instead of offering them the feeding right away, try to soothe them without it first. Use a pacifier (or dummy), bounce, sway, sing, hum and jiggle. Try to put off your baby's feeding as long as you can, to a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 30. If your baby falls back to sleep without eating, then the next time they wake up, go ahead and feed them right then. Your baby still needs about 2-3 feeds a night at this point, so the delay in the feeds only serves to prepare your baby for sleep training by widening the gap between when they expect to be fed. If your baby is not responding well to your attempts to soothe them without food, discontinue the delays for a while, some babies are not ready to try this until the third month.

4. Pull the night cap down over your baby's eyes.
This trick won't work for long, just a month or so. Your baby's eyes are just starting to develop enough that they can see more distinct shapes, and they are fascinated with high-contrast images like black and white mobiles and posters. They are often so intent on looking around it is hard to relax and let their eyes close. However if you just pull down the front of their hat to cover their eyes they are still too young to realize why they can't see and begin resisting. It is a great way to help your baby relax and drift off to sleep, but like I said it won't be long before your baby catches on to what you are doing and starts to turn their head back and forth to wiggle out of the hat.

5. Use a metronome in the nursery at night.
The rhythmic might be reminiscent of your heart beat, though I think the reason this works is because it gives your baby's conscious mind something to focus on and that makes relaxing easier. Years ago mothers used to tuck a pocket watch under their baby's pillow to help sooth them to sleep. It was this old tradition that led me to try the metronome with one of the baby's i was taking care of a few years ago. He had a particularly hard time going to sleep during the day while I was tending him and his mother was at work, but one day I tried the metronome, and he calmed right down and was asleep in his crib before I knew it. I've been a believer ever since. In homes where there is no metronome, I'll some times tap a pencil on the night stand in a steady rhythm, and it seems to help most of the time too.

The second month is usually a bit easier for parents than the first month, whether that is because your baby is finding a more predictable routine, or because the you are getting used to the sleepless nights it's nice to feel it getting easier. Hopefully these tips can help for those times when your baby has forgotten that the second month is supposed to be easier, and help prepare you all for the next few months (One more great sleep tip can be found here: If you find these tips helpful, please refer them to any new or expecting parents. Happy parenting!


  1. I am so glad I stumbled upon this article. I have an 8 week son who has been on a routine since day one. when he yawns, I usually take him to his crib, darken the room, swaddle him and sing his very own original bedtime song. for some reason though he always fusses a bit before he nods off. well I tried something different today, I pulled his cap over his eyes and he slept almost instantaneously! I wouldn't have believed if it hadn't happened to me. The thing is I felt bed because of the way he looked.. here's this little thing that's all wrapped up and eyes all covered up. anyway it made me think if anyone else had thought of it and sure enough I found this site. I am going to continue to cover his eyes since he ended up sleeping for an hour and a half and woke up in a good mood. I'm just glad I'm not the only one who knows about this :)

    1. I'm so glad you were able to find a new way to help your little snuggy nod off! Thank you for sharing your experience with us all!