Be Aware Of Food Sensitivities
Exposure to different foods and flavors begins in utero, and your babys ability to process certain foods will develop and get stronger throughout the first year of his life. As your baby grows, he may develop one or more food sensitivity. This is especially true in breastfed babies. For example, a newborn baby may have a difficult time digesting garlic or other spices within breast milk. If your baby is crying, arching her back, and has a stiff belly, then she may be experiencing a food sensitivity. The good news is that these symptoms typically pass after a bowel movement.
Once you identify which food caused this discomfort, you can eliminate it from your diet while breastfeeding. This should ensure that your baby will sleep at night more comfortable and uninterrupted.
If your baby is at least 6 months old, and you have concerns related to how solid foods may be interfering with her sleep, please refer to “How Certain Foods Can Affect Your Childs Sleep.”
Tips For Better Sleep
- Help your baby know that its nighttime by making sure that shades are drawn and lights stay low or off.
- Establish a bedtime routine early! This can help to send your little one the message that its time for a good, long rest.
- Encourage your baby to eat frequently during the day and especially in the hours leading up to bedtime. During growth spurts, itll be much easier for you if they cluster feed during the day not at 2 a.m.!
- Expect changes.
Just when you think you think youve got it all figured out and your baby is following a sleep pattern, things may change.
Take a deep breath and remind yourself that its because different stages of growth and development require different patterns and amounts of sleep. Your calm attitude can go a long way in soothing your baby back to sleep youve got this.
Nighttime Decisions When Getting Baby To Sleep
Develop a realistic attitude about nighttime parenting
Sleeping, like eating, is not a state you can force a baby into. The best you can do is to create a secure environment that allows sleep to overtake your baby. A realistic long- term goal is to help your baby develop a healthy attitude about sleep. Baby should feel that sleep is a pleasant state to enter and a secure state to remain in. Many sleep problems in older children and adults stem from children growing up with an unhealthy attitude about sleep. Such as sleep was not a pleasant state to enter and was a fearful state to remain in. Just as daytime parenting is a long-term investment, so is nighttime parenting. Teach your baby a restful attitude about sleep when they are young. By doing this, both you and your children will sleep better when they are older.
Beware of sleep trainers
- Does this advice sound sensible, will it fit your babys temperament and does it feel right to you?
Sleep training may result in long-term loss
Using the rigid, insensitive let-him-cry-it-out method has several problems. First, it will undermine the trust your baby has for nighttime comfort. Second, it will prevent you from working at a style of nighttime parenting until you find the one that works best for you and your family, and third, it may keep you and your doctor from uncovering hidden medical causes of night waking. Night feedings are normal frequent, painful night waking is not.
Stay flexible when putting baby to sleep
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Newborn Sleep Tips From The Baby Sleep Whisperer
If we had a genies lamp, better sleep for everyone in the family would definitely be at the top of our wish list.
But until that magical day arrives, we did the next best thing. We spoke to a real-life newborn sleep whisperer Ingrid Prueher, a pediatric sleep consultant, lactation counselor and founder of BabySleepWhisperer.com. Shes a former Wall Street analyst who became a sleep aficionado after the birth of her second son. He kept waking up every few hours at night, so Prueher used her love of data and research to get him in a good bedtime routine. Now shes on a mission to help families around the country get in tip-top sleep shape too.
Prueher uses a five-layer cake approach. That means laying a solid sleep foundation and then applying a training method, aka the icing. With a little groundwork, good sleep can become a reality.
My youngest client has been a day old and my oldest client has been 71 years old, Prueher says. Its never too late to get healthy sleep habits in your life and make sleep a priority.
Here are some of her tips for cracking the code to a better nights sleep for your newborn.
In their first three months of life, you want to help them transition from the womb into our world. After that point, if your child has never slept well, start with some basics, Prueher says. Treat it like youre back to newborn days where you stayed home and focused on all of these things.
2. Know thy baby.
3. Designate a sleep zone.
7. You do you.
Check Your Babys Temperature
A normal temperature for babies and children is about 77°F according to the NHS and other health organizations around the world. Similarly a high temperature or fever is usually considered to be a temperature of 100°F or above.
While you dont need to actually check your babys temperature every night with a thermometer, its wise to do this during more extreme weather conditions and if you notice signs that they are too cold or hot.
- Keep an eye out for shaking, shivering, and/or red or grayish-colored skin which suggests your child is too cold and needs something warmer to wear, or for you to increase the temperature of your home.
- Also check that your child does not have a sweaty brow, wet hair, red cheeks, and quickened breath and that they dont have a rash or are acting overly fussy for no particular reason, which might suggest your baby is overheating. If this is the case, try removing a layer or letting some cooler air into your home.
Feeling your babys neck, chest or stomach with your bare hand can also be a good indicator of how hot or cold they are. If their overall temperature feels drastically different to your own, you might want to do some adjusting to their clothes or room temperature.
Keep an eye out for shaking, shivering, and/or red or grayish-colored skin.
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Don’t Rely On Soothing Methods
“If you put your baby in the crib when they’re already asleep and they wake up in the night, which all humans do, they won’t recognize their surroundings and will need your help getting back to sleep,” notes Dr. Givan. “Try to put your baby down drowsy but awake.” This will help them learn to self-soothe and fall asleepand, more importantly, fall back to sleepon their own, which is the main goal of sleep training.
Adrienne Porzio of Centerport, New York, can attest to this. She began driving her newborn around at night to get her to fall asleepand she was still relying on that crutch when her daughter was 5 months old. “The issue we get the most calls about is parents automatically repeating soothing habits to the point that the baby is hooked,” says Los Angeles sleep consultant Heather Turgeon, coauthor of The Happy Sleeper. Newborns benefit from rocking, bouncing, and soothing to sleep, but babies develop quickly and don’t need those things forever.
“By about 5 months, most babies have the capability to fall asleep on their own, and if we’re still doing it for them, we’re getting in their way,” says Turgeon. “Start practicing in the early months to put Baby down awake, at least once a dayusually the first nap is the most successful.” Keep your cuddle time, but gradually stop the patting and shushing and rocking to sleep.
When Should You Stop Swaddling
Experts say you should stop swaddling by the time your baby can roll. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines say to stop swaddling by the time your little one is 2 months old.
Before you commit this bit of information to memory, understand that all babies are different. If you have a little one who is rolling early, youll want to stop swaddling sooner. Be sure to bring up this question with your pediatrician to get more specific guidelines for swaddling with your baby.
Around 3,500 infants die each year in the United States from what are called sleep-related deaths. Some of these deaths are caused by SIDS. Others may be due to unsafe sleep practices.
Here are some tips for how to practice safer infant sleep:
You might also examine your own habits surrounding bedtime and otherwise. Part of safe sleep is staying alert and keeping the home free from smoke and other harmful substances. This means eliminating exposure to things like smoking or misuse of alcohol or drugs.
If you need help, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-622-HELP or visit their website.
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Newborn Sleep Cycles: Why Newborns Are Light Sleepers
When adults first fall asleep, we pass through a couple of light sleep stages, and then plunge into a bout of deep sleep.
Afterwards, we switch into REM, or rapid eye movement sleep, a sleep stage famous for its association with dreaming, and the loss of muscle tone. We dont move much during REM.
When REM is over, we either awaken, or return to light sleep and begin the cycle again. For the average adult, a single sleep cycle lasts about 90-100 minutes. We may partially awaken many times during the night. But were more likely to wake up all the way during transitions between stages, during light sleep, and during REM.
Newborn sleep is also characterized by sleep stages and cycles, but there are crucial differences.
First, babies typically begin their sleep bouts in the newborn equivalent of REM .
Second, newborns in REM dont usually experience muscle atonia.
Unlike us, they may thrash around, stretch, twitch, and even vocalize. The results can fool parents into thinking their babies are waking up, when they are actually experiencing normal REM sleep.
Third, newborn sleep cycles are shorter around 50-55 minutes for the average infant and REM makes up a much bigger proportion of sleep.
Its not unusual for newborns to spend more than half their total sleep time in REM . Indeed, several studies suggest that, over the course of a 24 hour day, some newborns spent may spend as much as 75% of their sleep time in active sleep .
Give Yourself A Break
“If you listen to your best friend, a cousin, or a neighbor talk about how their baby was sleeping through the night at 2 months, you’ll just get stressed. Tune out the unhelpful comparisons as much as you can. To solve your own baby’s sleep issues, you’ll need a bit of observation, a bit of trial and error, and a lot of flexibility. It’s so easy to feel as if sleep will never get better, but it does constantly change. Just because you have a terrible sleeper at 2 months does not mean you’re fated to have a terrible sleeper at 2 years.” Palmer
Listen to Parents “That New Mom Life” podcast for expert advice on breastfeeding, the emotional highs and lows of motherhood, sleepless nights, and more!
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Why Do Sleep Regressions Occur
The topic of sleep regression in children often incites feelings of dread. However, regressions in rest are, overall, a positive occurrence. These seemingly backward movements in development are actually progressive. In fact, these events indicate your kiddo is progressing and growing at a healthy pace.
While frustrating, they’re ultimately indicative of enormous developmental bursts. Since growing up so quickly takes a tremendous amount of energy, they can feel overly tired and cranky as a result.
Have you ever been so tired you couldn’t sleep? It can be likened to that same phenomenon.
Dress Your Baby Appropriately
Overdressing a baby can lead to overheating which has been linked to sudden infant death syndrome . Babies do not have the ability to regulate their own body temperature like adults do, so its important to make sure theyre not overheating, especially sleep at night. Babies who are too warm or too cool will undoubtedly wake up. You can avoid this issue by dressing your baby in garments made from all-natural fibers like cotton, linen, or merino wool, which are breathable and absorb perspiration.
We suggest Woolino products, as they are made with supremely breathable merino wool and have unmatched body temperature regulation properties. This means a better, healthier, and safer sleep for your baby. If the temperature in your babys nursery in a concern, please refer to “Keeping Your Baby Cool During Hot Summer Nights.
Its important to remember that although there are many different ways to put a newborn to sleep, sleep routines are very child-specific. Children will experience changes in their sleeping habits, and most of the time these changes will be perfectly normal. However, if something doesnt seem quite right, and you are still struggling to find answers, we recommend consulting with your pediatrician.
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Put Your Sleepy Baby To Bed
Starting when your baby is 6 to 12 weeks old, soothe them until they are drowsy. When they are on the verge of sleep, put them down and let them drift off on their own. Don’t wait until they are fully asleep in your arms this could be a behavior that may become a struggle to get rid of later in their life.
This routine will teach your baby to soothe themselves to sleep, and you won’t need to rock or cuddle them to sleep every time they wake up during the night.
If your baby has trouble settling down, try moving their bedtime earlier, not later. Being overtired can make it hard to nod off.
How To Change A Newborns Sleep Patterns
Your newborns sleeping patterns are difficult to change, but theres a lot you can do to make her environment more conducive to sleep, including making sure shes fed with a clean, dry diaper, checking that her room is the right temperature and she’s not overdressed for sleep, and avoiding any distracting lights or sounds that could keep or wake her up.
In the meantime, you might need to adjust your own sleep schedule to get the rest you need. When your baby is around 3 months old, you can try getting her on a sleep schedule, and when she’s between 4 and 6 months old, you can try sleep training if you want to.
Parenting is full of surprises, and your babys sleep schedule is no exception. Your little one likely wont start to establish a regular sleep routine until around 8 to 12 weeks of age, and even then her sleep schedule will probably change, thanks to developmental milestones, travel and other common sleep routine disruptions.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
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