Is Your Baby Is Napping Too Late In The Afternoon
Sleep pressure builds up the longer weve been awake. So it shouldnt surprise us if a baby having awakened from a long nap only a couple of hours earlier has trouble falling asleep at bedtime.
If this seems to be the trouble, try extending the last waking period of your babys day.
That may seem hard to do if youve got a drowsy baby at 5pm but remember, you dont have to arrive at the perfect schedule all at once.
You can work towards the goal in steps, trying to make the last nap of the day end at an increasingly earlier time over the course of a week or so.
When parents have managed to lengthen waking time before bedtime, their babies have required less help settling down and experienced fewer infant sleep problems .
Look Out For Tired Signs
Babies will show signs when they are getting tired such as grimacing, yawning, grizzling, frowning, sucking, staring, snuggling in, jerky movements, becoming over active, clenching fists, rubbing eyes, fussiness or crying. Responding early to these tired signs prevents your baby becoming distressed and makes it easier for them to sleep.
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.
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Should I Pump If My Baby Sleeps Through The Night
When your baby first starts sleeping through the night, you may want to pump at 2 AM. Over time, your body should realize that it needs to consolidate your production. This will protect your supply until you hit 6 weeks postpartum.
If youre like me and naturally struggle with supply intermittently, then you may need to protect your supply even after 6 weeks.
If you do find that your milk supply is low, check out my post on how I doubled my milk production in 2 days to quickly improve it.
Not Drowsy At Bedtime It Might Be Because Your Babys Internal Clock Is Out Of Sync With The 24
First things first: Does your baby appreciate that nighttime is for sleeping? If not, youre fighting an uphill battle.
Most infants dont develop strong, hormonally-driven circadian rhythms until they are 12 weeks old, and some babies take considerably longer .
You might assume that this is one of those developmental things we just have to wait out. But thats not quite true. The evidence suggests we have help young babies attune themselves faster. If we lay the right groundwork early on, we may avoid some infant sleep problems later on.
Be sure to try these tactics:
- Support your babys tendencies to wake up at the same time each morning, and expose your baby to daylight during the morning and afternoon.
- Include your baby in everyday activities. The hustle and bustle of social life helps set your babys inner clock.
- Avoid exposure to artificial lights before and during bedtime particularly LED lights and other light sources that feature light from the blue part of the spectrum.
Experiments show that blue light is particularly effective at blocking the brains production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleepiness. A little exposure to blue light can delay sleepiness for an hour or more. And it affects adults as well as children!
For more tips, see How to help baby adapt to the 24-hour day in my article about opens in a new windownewborn sleep.
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Mixing Up Day And Night
What it looks like: Your baby sleeps all day, but then stays up all night long .
How to solve it: Your newborns nocturnal ways should correct themselves as she adjusts to life on the outside, but there are a few things you can do to help baby differentiate between day and night, including limiting daytime naps to three hours, and making clear distinctions between day and night .
Where Should A Baby Sleep And For How Long
A baby should never sleep in the same bed as you. That is highly dangerous. You or the beddings could accidentally suffocate them. They should sleep in a crib or a bassinet.
Since we are focusing on the newborn stage, newborns to three-month-olds should sleep between 1417 hours a day. If your newborn is sleeping throughout the day and not at night, then continue reading. If your baby is breastfeeding, they should sleep for two-three hours after breastfeeding during the night. But, if your baby is bottle-fed they should sleep for three-four hours at a time during the night.
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How Can I Gently Encourage My Child To Fall Asleep Without Breastfeeding
First, remember that if breastfeeding to sleep is not a problem for you, your child will discontinue it on his own without help from you. If youd like to try to accelerate the process, read on
Try transitioning from breastfeeding your child totally to sleep, to breastfeeding him almost asleep then to just really relaxed, and then eventually to no breastfeeding at all to go to sleep. The process may take a long time, or it may not. If youll start out taking it as gradually as you possibly can, it will probably work better and youll avoid possible problems and frustrations for both you and your baby.
You might start by lying down with him in the bed he will sleep in for naps, or on the floor, etc. wherever he will be sleeping. Dont insist that he sleep in the crib if he doesnt want to. Your goal at this point it to get him comfortable enough and secure enough to go to sleep on his own. You dont want that made more difficult by any fears of being alone in his crib.
Again, your goal is to get him to a comfortable enough place that he feels secure enough to go to sleep without nursing and by himself.
Pause Movement As Baby Drifts Off To Sleep
Once youve broken the link between feeding and sleep, its time to stop all movements that your little one could associate with sleep. This includes rocking, walking, and similar comforting techniques.
Your childs new bedtime routine should include a variety of activities that your baby will soon associate with sleep. Start with a warm bath, put on PJs or comfy clothes, and dim the lights. For daytime naps, use shades or blackout curtains to keep the room dark.
If the same thing happens every night, your baby will start to understand that sleep is soon to come, says Dr. Mindell.
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Sleep Problems After Illness
A sore or scratchy throat, congestion and fever can all make it harder for babies to snooze soundly.
Of course, you want to do what you can to soothe your sweetie and help her get the rest she needs, whether that means popping in for a dose of fever-reducing meds if your pediatrician says it’s okay or a quick nursing session, or holding her upright while she sleeps to ease her congestion.
But sometimes, especially if wake-ups happen for several nights in a row, its possible for a baby to get used to the midnight visits, snuggles and even feedings. And that could potentially lead to sleep issues even after she’s feeling better.
What it looks like: Your babys normally good sleep habits got disrupted when she was sick, but now that shes healthy again, shes still waking up crying for you during the night.
How to solve it: Once your baby is back to her healthy, bubbly self during the day, its time to get back to the usual sleep habits at night. It might take her a few nights to get reacquainted with the normal routine, so hold steady. The more consistent you are, the sooner shell get the message nighttime is for sleep, not hanging out together.
Speed bumps in the sleep department are a common, and even normal, part of babyhood. The good news is that theyre usually solvable.
- What to Expect the First Year, 3rd edition, Heidi Murkoff.
They Don’t Know Day From Night
When infants are born, their circadian rhythm lacks development because for nine months your child was bundled up inside of a dark womb. Night and day mean nothing to them because in the womb, it didn’t matter. When they emerge they have no concept of this and, as a result, will take a bit of time to adjust.
To help develop this cognitive function, it may help to employ a few tricks to encourage sleep. Things like darkness and soft noise can help children to sleep and spur the adjustment of their internal clocks.
It can help to keep their bedroom very dark so when they’re inside it’s easier to sleep. Investing in blackout curtains may sound like a pain, but they come at a variety of prices and can be installed by even the clumsiest of humans.
Additionally, white noise machines for babies are known to help as well. You’d be surprised how loud the inside of a womb is, and it can remind them of this cozy time inside.
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When Do Babies Sleep Through The Night Breastfeeding
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Okay, before we get into the meat of how to get a breastfed baby to sleep through the night, I really want to make sure that we are on the same page with your expectations of newborn sleep.
Youve probably already heard the main reason why breastfed babies struggle with sleeping through the night: their little bodies metabolize breast milk more quickly, so they require more feedings.
Im not going to argue with that fact. Its totally true. But, believe it or not, many breastfed babies are physically capable of sleeping through the night by 3, even 2, months.
Now, if youre 4 months in and youre finding it pretty hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, do not worry.
The goal of this post isnt to make you feel bad that your baby isnt sleeping for more than 3-4, even 2 hours at night. I want to encourage you and let you know thatmore sleep IS possible.
How Long Should Breastfed Babies Sleep
So, to clear things up, what does sleeping through the night mean for breastfed babies?
The definition of sleeping through the night ranges a lot. In the early weeks, sleeping through the night is only about 5-6 hours of continuous sleep .
The Bottle Feed At Night Trick
This trick is so easy to implement and it can really benefit your baby as well. In the beginning, training your baby to take a bottle can be difficult. I combined this trick with the dream feed to help smooth out the training process.
Heres how to do it:
Pump in the morning and feed that bottle to your baby at night, preferably during the dream feed . Your morning milk contains more proteins and can be the extra push your baby needs to sleep through the night.
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How To Get A Newborn To Sleep
Getting your newborn to sleep longer stretches at night is not a perfect process. There is an ebb and flow. Its all about trying new things and finding something that works well for your baby.
We used these tips for our daughter, and she slept so well during the newborn phase, my husband and I enjoyed a generous amount of time hanging out.
Heres the best part: When your baby sleeps better, you will notice a more patient, more tolerant, more engaging baby after a good nights rest or quality nap.
Restless Sleep Due To Frequent Late
What it looks like: Most 2- to 3-month-old babies, particularly breastfed ones, still need to fill their tummies at least once or twice during the night. Waking up every two hours for middle-of-the-night chow-downs, on the other hand, is typically too much of a good thing by this point and for most babies, not necessary.
What to do about it: First, talk to your childs pediatrician about how often baby should be eating overnight. If you get the go-ahead to cut down on overnight feeds, ensure babys eating enough during the day by offering a feed every two to three hours. Then, work on slowly stretching the time between nighttime feedings.
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Learn More: Sleep Training
Use these tips if youre having trouble getting baby to fall asleep. And remember, the Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack are effective tools for helping babies sleep better and longer and they could be the key to teaching your little one to self-soothe!