Baby Sleep Tips Thatll Help Baby Sleep Longer Stretches
Sitting on the couch with my swollen legs propped up on pillows, I looked over at the stack of newborn baby sleep books on the coffee table. Over the course of several hours, I devoured each book, skimming through the pages.
I was determined to learn how to make a newborn sleep.
Thenmy son was born.
And.he didnt sleep.
Imagine that. A baby not sleeping the way a book says
I fumbled through it the first six weeks. I was so unsure of myself.
Thankfully, we pulled ourselves together, armed ourselves with some key infant sleep facts, developed a plan and implemented it.
We stuck with it, and at 4 months old, our son was sleeping 11-12 hours at night and naps extended to 1.5 to 2 hours. Woohoo! Weve experienced sleep regression, sleeping on the go, sleeping through teethingand so much more!
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The Decision Whether To Cosleep With Your Baby Is Extremely Controversialand There Are Two Sides To The Story
Few parenting conversations in early childhood elicit as much angst and judgment as the one about our childrens sleep: Where should they sleep, and how do we get them to sleep through the night? We label newborn babies as good, or not, depending on how much they disturb us in the nighttime, or we believe babies sleep is a reflection of our parenting competence.
But our beliefs and decisions about childrens sleep are more a reflection of the culture we live in than the scientific evidence for whats best for children, says anthropologist James J. McKenna, in many of his 150 scientific articles on childrens sleep. McKenna is director emeritus of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, and author of Safe Infant Sleep: Expert Answers to Your Cosleeping Questions. He has devoted his career to understanding what happens to babies and their caregivers when they sleep together versus apart.
McKennas conclusions, supported by research from other anthropologists and developmental scientists over the last 30 years, have thrown him into direct conflict with the American Academy of Pediatrics over recommendations about where babies should sleep. Separately, say the pediatricians, while McKenna and his colleagues say, Together, but safely. McKennas easy-to-read book offers important insights about how cosleeping can be made safe and what kind of benefits it might promote for childrens development and parents well-being.
Sleep Close To Your Baby
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mom and baby room share for the first six months, and ideally for the first year. Your baby will be able to sense your presence and therefore might sleep better with a co-sleeper attached to your bed.
Having your baby so close to you at night will also mean that you can handle wake-ups faster. If nursing, you wont have to physically get out of bed, which means that both you and baby will wake up less and therefore fall asleep faster.
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Where Should Our Newborn Sleep
Your newborn can sleep in a bassinet or a crib. This can be located in a parents room, a siblings room or in the newborns own room. Its important that you have your baby sleep in a safe place. Your baby should not sleep in your bed with you. This is dangerous because of the risk of suffocation, strangulation and sudden infant death syndrome .
You can bring the baby into your bed for feedings, but should return the baby to a crib as soon as you are done. Many experts recommend feeding your child while in a chair to avoid any injury that can happen while sleeping in a bed with the baby. Room-sharing with your baby is recommended, but not bed-sharing.
Why Babies Resist Sleep
Babies arent born ready to sleep through the night for 8 to 10 hours. In fact, there are concrete and science-backed reasons why babies dont sleep as much as youd like. Here are a few:
- During the first few weeks, they dont even know its nighttime. In the womb, day and night werent really a thing, so how would they know?
- Newborns eat every few hours and shouldnt be going too long without a feeding. Breastfed babies will eat
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The Best Baby Sleep Tips Ever
Sleep experts share their top tricks for putting your little one to bed. Get ready: You’re about to take back your nights.
So you’ve stepped past delirium and are about to completely lose your mind from lack of sleep. Don’t worry, all new parents have been there. Here are our top expert-approved baby sleep tips.
What About You Tips For Improving Your Own Sleep
Newborn sleep patterns take their toll on parents. In a study tracking the sleep patterns of mothers from pregnancy through the postpartum period, maternal sleep worsened after childbirth and continued to deteriorate until about 12 weeks postpartum -the time when newborn sleep patterns begin to show marked circadian rhythms .
Twelve weeks isnt forever, but it can seem like it when you are severely sleep restricted. As you struggle to cope with newborn sleep patterns, dont forget to look after yourself. Here are some tips to help you cope.
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Perfect Your Swaddle Technique
I cant tell you how many parents tell me their kid hates the swaddle. But nothing could be further from the truth. In my experience, while there are a few babies that truly hate the swaddle, most parents mistake their childs fussing for hate. Try to implement use of the swaddle for naps and at bedtime. Try it for several weeks for each sleep period before writing it off.
Dont Play The Blame Game
Brooding about the situation will make it harder for you to fall asleep when you are given the opportunity. And its wrong-headed, too: You might be doing everything you can to get more sleep, and still be stuck with a baby who sleeps less than average.
Research suggests that the amount of sleep we get at night is strongly influenced by genetics , and, as mentioned above, there is a lot of individual variation among newborns.
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How To Get Your Newborn To Sleep
Sometimes it’s hard to fall asleep in strange places especially when home was a warm, dark and very cozy spot inside Mommy’s belly. When it comes to adjusting to life on the outside, your infant might appreciate sleep-enhancers that remind him of home. Try any or all of these baby sleep strategies to make sending baby off to dreamland a little bit easier.
1. Follow safe sleep guidelines. How your baby lies down and gets to sleep is a matter of safety, not just comfort. Put your newborn flat on his back in his crib, bassinet or playard without any loose bedding, pillows, blankets, stuffed animals or crib bumpers. Experts also recommend room-sharing until baby is at least 6 months old. These safe sleep practices prevent overheating and suffocation, and reduce the risk of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
2. Try putting him to bed drowsy but awake. Your baby isnt born knowing how to soothe himself to sleep, and if you let him fall asleep in your arms, youre doing his important work for him. A better idea is to rock, sway or pat him gently on the back until hes just nodding off, then put him down when he’s drowsy but still awake so he can learn to fall asleep on his own. Another idea: Try your hand at massaging your baby before he drifts off. Studies suggest that babies who are massaged before bed may produce more of the sleep-enhancing hormone melatonin. And its a nice way for you to bond with your little night owl.
The Best Sleep Schedule For Babies: 0
Sleep promotes health in people of all ages, especially newborns. In fact, sleep is so crucial to infant development that babies spend the majority of their time engaged in it.
To new parents, the ins and outs of newborn sleep might feel like a mystery. Fortunately, understanding the best newborn sleep schedule can help you rest assured that your baby is receiving much-needed, developmentally appropriate sleep.
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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 .
Tips To Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep
by Nicole Johnson, Founder and Lead Sleep Consultantin Newborns Last Updated: August 19, 2021
When you bring your brand new baby home, no one tells you that sleep like a baby may not happen, or that if it does, it may only last a short time. This article will give you 10 great tips to help your newborn sleep better.
Before I get to the 10 tips to help your newborn sleep, I thought I should note that it can be dangerous for a new newborn baby to sleep all night. They really do need to eat at least every 3 hours in those early days so they can grow well and thrive.
Addtionally, it is only recommended to place baby on his back to sleep, to guard against SIDS. You may be interested in other ways to lower SIDS risks here too.
There, now that I got that out of the way
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Be Strategic With Diaper Changes
Changing your babys diaper can be a stimulus for your little one, making it difficult for her to go back to sleep. If diaper changing is revving up your baby, you may want to choose to limit changes to just poopy diapers and diapers that are exceptionally wet. Lightly wet diapers can wait until the morning. The tradeoff will be longer, more uninterrupted sleep at night for you and your baby.
Trust Your Instincts And Get Help When You Feel Stressed
If something feels wrong with you or the baby, talk to your physician. And remember that your own mental health is crucial.
Coping with sleep deprivation is very stressful, especially if your infant seems to be especially fussy or prone to crying. Watch for signs of postpartum stress and postpartum depression, and reach out to others for support.
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What Happens During Baby Sleep
Sleep is important for a baby because of their rapidly developing brain and body. A variety of research studies demonstrate that infant sleep is crucial to both cognitive and physical growth. In fact, newborn infants learn during sleep. Infant sleep is positively associated with improvements in memory, language, executive function, and physical development.
Perhaps surprisingly, sleep might also provide babies an opportunity to develop motor skills. Researchers think the twitching babies do during sleep is more than movements related to dreaming. Sleep twitches could be a result of the infant brain strengthening its circuitry and learning how to control various body parts.
Safety First: Lower Sids Risk
Every time you put your baby down to sleep, whether it’s at night or for a nap during the day, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you do the following to lower the chances of SIDS :
- Always put your baby down to sleep on their back.
- Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
- If you baby falls asleep in a stroller car seat or swing, try to remove them and lay them down on a flat surface.
- Your baby should sleep in the same room as you, but not in the same bed as you.
- Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and bumper pads.
- Dont rely on devices which claim to prevent SIDS.
- Do not use wedges and positioners.
- Offer your baby a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
- Avoid covering your baby’s head or overheating.
- Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Make sure your baby gets all recommended vaccinations.
- Get some skin-to-skin contact time with them.
- Give your baby supervised, awake tummy time every day.
- Don’t smoke.
- Breastfeedyour baby.
- If you are tired, dont breastfeed while in a chair or on a couch in case you fall asleep.
- If you’re pregnant, get regular prenatal care.
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What Are The Sleep Patterns Of A Newborn
The average newborn sleeps much of the day and night, waking only for feedings every few hours. It’s often hard for new parents to know how long and how often a newborn should sleep. Unfortunately, there is no set schedule at first, and many newborns have their days and nights confused. They think they are supposed to be awake at night and sleep during the day.
Generally, newborns sleep a total of about 8 to 9 hours in the daytime and a total of about 8 hours at night. But because they have a small stomach, they must wake every few hours to eat. Most babies dont start sleeping through the night until at least 3 months of age. But this can vary a lot. Some babies dont sleep through the night until closer to 1 year. In most cases, your baby will wake up and be ready to eat at least every 3 hours. How often your baby will eat depends on what he or she is being fed and his or her age. Make sure you talk with your healthcare provider to figure out if you need to wake your baby for feedings.
Watch for changes in your baby’s sleep pattern. If your baby has been sleeping consistently, and suddenly is waking more often, there may be a problem. Or your baby may be going through a growth spurt and need to eat more often. Some sleep disturbances are simply due to changes in development or because of overstimulation.