The sounds of waves crashing on the beach, sizzling BBQs, fireworks, and cries of babies who refuse to go to sleep … it’s summer!
Summer seems to make bedtime especially difficult for our little ones. Fortunately, there are a few things we can do to help them (and us!) get a good night's rest for the long and busy summer days. Here are a few quick tips:
Tip #1: Swaddle!
Many parents wonder if it’s okay to swaddle babies in the summertime due to the hotter temperatures. The typical swaddle age is newborn to three months, and during that time, babies need help regulating their own body temperatures – even in the summer. Swaddling helps babies do exactly that, assuming you are using the right fabric, which leads us to our next point…
Tip #2: Sleep In 100% Natural Fibers
Sleeping in the right material can have a big impact on the quality of sleep, especially during hot summer nights. Paying attention to the fabric you are putting your baby in is important. Babies can overheat in swaddles that contain synthetic material like spandex and polyester. Using a swaddle made of a breathable natural fiber like pima cotton will allow your baby to enjoy the benefits of swaddling even in the warmer temperatures.
Tip #3: Create The Perfect Sleep Environment
This means a DARK room! This can be hard with the strong late-setting sun in the summer, so a good pair of blackout curtains or something as simple as garbage bags taped over the windows can make a big difference. Do your best to seal or block off any areas where the sun sneaks through. It also helps to spend time in a dark(er) room leading up to bedtime to slowly wind down. This is especially true in the summer when many parts of the house are still filled with bright sunshine well into the evening.
When going away on vacation, consider a cover for your pack and play, or at least make sure to bring anything you might need (e.g. garbage bags and tape) to convert any room into a dark, cozy sleep environment. Bringing unwashed sheets and pajamas from home can also help to keep the environment as familiar as possible.
Tip #4: Be Consistent
Summer is often anything but routine. This can be an issue for a baby’s sleep and one of the main reasons babies tend to have a tougher time sleeping well in the summer. Try to keep bedtimes and bedtime routines as consistent as possible and try to avoid skipping naps. Some experts suggest trying earlier nap times so babies are more tired by the evening. This is especially worth considering if your baby wakes up with the earlier sunrise. The key is to have consistent wake windows that are not too long and not too short depending on your child’s age.
Tip #5: Climate Control
If you have air conditioning, try to keep the nursery around 70°F. You can also add a fan which should help to cool the room and add soothing white noise to help mute the summer sounds and activities happening outside. A noise machine is always a good investment year-round, just don’t forget to pack it when going away! Keeping cribs free of excess stuffies, blankets and pillows will also help to keep your baby’s sleeping area cool.
Tip #6: Keep Your Baby Hydrated
We all know how hard it is to sleep when you’re thirsty. Being hydrated is key to helping your baby sleep better and fall asleep faster, so make sure your baby has a good drink before bed to replenish all the fluids lost in the summer heat. For babies eating solids, fresh summer fruit is also a great way to stay hydrated.
With all the sun, fun, excitement, and new things the summer exposes babies to, it’s not a surprise sleep isn’t at the top of their agendas. By following these tips, you should increase the chances that your little one gets the long and comfortable, replenishing sleep they need!
Our favorite swaddles for summer: