You used to live in a quiet suburb in Toronto, and when you had your first child, there were no outside noises that interfered with your baby’s sleep. There were no trains, deliveries were infrequent, and after 7:00 p.m. you enjoyed blissful silence.
Then you got a great job offer in an expensive city like Chicago, but it was necessary for you to move closer to downtown, and while you looked forward to a more urban-type atmosphere, you weren’t ready for the tumult and general street noise. You gave birth to a second child, and frankly, your new condo is just not quiet and you’re worried that your baby might have trouble sleeping.
Let’s look at seven ways to get your child to sleep in a noisy big city.
So, first, you had to bite the bullet and pay super high rent prices for your new downtown apartment. Now, you have another problem. Desperate and sleep-deprived parents will try almost anything to get their children to sleep and the noise of ceiling fans, portable fans, HVAC units, and even vacuum cleaners have been used with varying degrees of success. White noise has been defined by Merriam Webster as:
A constant background noise; especially one that drowns out other sounds.
You can manufacture your own white noise with fans and vacuum cleaners, but you can also download sophisticated apps that will do the same thing. Find one that your baby likes, run it through a Bluetooth speaker, and you can drown distracting outside noises.
New babies do not like to be cold and that is why they are immediately swaddled at birth. Make sure that your newborn is carefully clothed to match the indoor temperature. If your baby is too cold—or too hot—this will interfere with sleep. And we do know that some kids seem to run hot, so it’s up to you to find the proper ambient room temperature and to make sure your baby is clothed properly in order to be warm and not cold, but not too hot either.
You might really like total darkness, and because of that, you may have installed sturdy and heavy blackout draperies in every room. Your baby, however, just might not like extreme darkness. Therefore, shop for a pleasant but not-too-bright night light that will give your child a sense of peace if they happen to wake up in the middle of the night.
A bedtime routine is absolutely necessary
The rocking chair was built for a good reason because many babies and small children like steady rocking motions and that can put them to sleep. You can find many devices that will rock your child—some extravagant and some simple. Just make sure you do your research and only buy carefully vetted and safe products. And just because a baby rocking device is very expensive doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good.
Don’t worry if you can’t sing. Your kids will like your voice anyway, and if you are still uncomfortable singing to your baby, find recorded music and play it nightly. There are plenty of lullabies available on Apple Music or Spotify and playing them nightly does help children fall asleep in many cases.
Recently, some have advocated not changing your baby’s diaper every time the baby wakes up in the middle of the night. With the high quality and absorbent diapers available now, it may be safe to leave well enough alone if your baby gets up and would quickly go back to sleep with a few minutes of gentle patting. You’ll have to judge this one for yourself but with a super-absorbent diaper, you might miss a change now and then.
Wakeful children can be a physical and emotional drain but if you follow the seven tips above, you may find both you and your baby will have an easier time even in a noisy apartment.