Spring Into Action At The First Sign Of Sleepiness
“Timing is critical. Tuning into your baby’s natural biological rhythmsby reading her telltale drowsy signsensures that when she’s placed in her crib, melatonin is elevated in her system, and her brain and body will be primed to drift off with little fuss. If you wait too long, however, your infant can become overtired, so not only will she have lower melatonin levels, but her brain begins to release wakefulness hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This makes it difficult for your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep and can lead to early wake-ups. So don’t miss these cues: When your little one is still, quiet, disinterested in her surroundings, and staring off into space, melatonin is peaking in her system and it’s time to go to bed.” Jenni June, a sleep consultant in Los Angeles
What If My Newborn Won’t Sleep
There are many reasons why your baby might be refusing to fall asleep:
- Newborns often confuse day and night. A set of blackout shades and a white noise machine may help encourage dozing off when it’s bedtime.
- Your baby might object to being on his back. If thats the case, swaddle him before putting him down or let him get drowsy in your arms first before putting him in the crib. Avoid rocking or holding your baby until hes completely asleep, though. This could make it harder for him to go back to sleep on his own if he wakes up during the night.
- Your baby could be overstimulated. Its hard to sleep when the world is full of fun things to do, especially when its getting close to bedtime and everyone is home. If thats the case, switch your bedtime routine into slow and boring mode, with rocking, simple storytelling and some soothing music.
- Your baby may be overtired. If that’s the case, try adjusting bedtime or naptimes accordingly to see if that helps him settle down better at night, and make sure to follow a consistent bedtime routine.
Check Out Our Sleep Tips
In Baby Sleep Simplified you’ll find sample schedules for every age through the first year, as well as tips on what you should focus on during every sleep stage to help your baby become a good sleeper. You can also check out our 7 Tips and Tricks on How to Get Your Newborn to Sleep or our 7 Highly Effective Sleep Tips.
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Optimizing Sleep With A Routine
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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Helping Your Baby Fall Asleep
Babies may not be able to create their own sleeping and waking patterns. Surprisingly, not all babies know how to put themselves to sleep. And not all babies can go back to sleep if they are awakened in the night. When it is time for bed, many parents want to rock or breastfeed a baby to help him or her fall asleep. Creating a bedtime routine is a good idea. But don’t let your baby fall asleep in your arms. This may become a pattern. And your baby may begin to expect to be in your arms in order to fall asleep. When your baby briefly wakes up during a sleep cycle, they may not be able to go back to sleep on their own.
Babies who feel secure are better able to handle separations, especially at night. Cuddling and comforting your baby during the day can help him or her feel more secure. Other ways to help your baby learn to sleep include:
Keep A Calming Ambiance
Ambiance can be everything! Keep the room at a comfortable temperature, make sure it stays dark, and even try adding some white noise in there! The softest of sounds can disturb your baby at night, the white noise will provide a consistent, soothing sound for them to fall asleep to, and it will drown out any other noises happening around the house.
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How To Get My Baby To Sleep At Night With Sleep Training
There are many methods of sleep training, and different methods work for different families. If youve been patient and have tried these tips and tricks but are still struggling with your baby’s sleep, sleep training might be an option to consider. The Cry-It-Out method, No Cry Method, and the Controlled Crying method are all common approaches to sleep training. Ultimately, which method you use should be a decision made by you and your family. Sleep consultants are great resources if youre unsure of what method to use or just want to learn more about sleep training in general.
Understanding Baby Sleep Cycles
Adults have four sleep stages that they cycle through during the night. Newborn babies, between the ages of 0 to 3 months, only experience two of the four stages of sleep: stage 3 and stage 4.
- Stage 3: This stage is deep, regenerative sleep. Your body repairs and rejuvenates the immune system, muscle tissue, and sparks growth.
- Stage 4: Stage four is REM rapid eye movement sleep. Your brain kicks in to consolidate information and memories throughout the day. REM is when you dream.
Once asleep, your newborn can be put down without waking most of the time after you rock him because he jumps right into a deep sleep stage. Around four months old, babies transition through all four stages rather than just two sleep stages.
These cycles last 30 to 45 minutes each, on average, for your baby. So, naps can last for an hour to two hours as he cycles through the two stages.
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What Are The Signs Of Infant Sleep Problems
Once a baby begins to regularly sleep through the night, parents are often unhappy when the baby starts to wake up at night again. This often happens at about 6 months old. This is often a normal part of development called separation anxiety. This is when a baby does not understand that separations are short-term . Babies may also start to have trouble going to sleep because of separation anxiety. Or because they are overstimulated or overtired.
Common responses of babies having these night awakenings or trouble going to sleep may include the following:
Waking and crying one or more times in the night after sleeping through the night
Crying when you leave the room
Refusing to go to sleep without a parent nearby
Clinging to the parent at separation
Sleep problems may also happen with illness. Talk with your baby’s healthcare provider if your baby begins having trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, especially if this is a new pattern.
How Much Should Baby Sleep
Infants tend to sleep a lot, typically 14 to 18 hours a day, says Edward Kulich, MD, a New York City-based concierge house call pediatrician and baby sleep consultant. It can take several weeksor monthsbefore babys sleep settles into a pattern. In the early days, Kulich notes, schedules are erratic, since babies have a small stomach and cant go more than one to four hours without eating. But by 3 months old, he says, baby will tend to get into more of a rhythm, usually taking three naps a day, and some babies will sleep through the night.
He defines sleeping through the night as baby getting 7 to 12 consecutive hours of shuteyewhich is a dream stretch for any new parent. But how do you and baby get to that point? Routine is key, Kulich says. Consistency above all. Many methods will work, but no method will work unless everyone in the household applies it consistently.
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Understand How A Baby Sleeps
The more your baby sleeps, the more they will sleep.
Its backwards but true!
If your newborn wont sleep, theres a very good chance, hes way overtired.
Keeping a baby awake in hopes of tiring him out will actually result in over-stimulation, and he will experience both difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. It is very likely an overtired baby will sleep shorter, not longer.
Note: Sometimes this tip confuses readers. And its no wonder. First I said limit naps during the day, and now I said an overtired baby will sleep shorter, not longer.
Let me be more clear:
- Limiting the length of naps is important to support night time sleep. You want the baby to get in as many feedings as possible during the daytime. Think: More daytime feeds = less nighttime feeds.
- You dont want to keep the baby awake for long stretches. Your baby will get over-tired, fussy and have difficulty falling back asleep.
- Bottom line: Encourage lots of naps AND feedings during the day following the eat, wake, sleep cycle.
Create A Relaxing Bedtime Routine Like A Bath
Time is a precious commodity when you have a baby, and adding something new to your routine could sound intimidating. But even adding a few minutes to your bedtime routine could make a big difference. “It’s also helpful for new moms to have their own relaxing bedtime routine to unwind after a hard day of taking care of their new baby,” says Murray. “A great way to start a bedtime routine is with a bath. It will help to soothe her muscles and mind. Additionally, a bath helps to lower your body temperature, which facilitates sleep — as our body temperature has to lower by two degrees in order to fall asleep.”
If you tend to feel overwhelmed before bed and struggle with a racing mind at night, Murray suggests adding a few minutes of journaling to help process emotions and worries. “This will allow her to process her emotions so that she isn’t kept awake by a racing mind after an overnight feeding session,” she says.
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Week : Address Bumps In The Road
Inching closer to 2 months and you may have experienced a few glorious nights of good sleep or restful afternoons of naps.
Just when youre feeling caught up on sleep yourself you might experience times when your baby is sleeping more like a 1 week old.
Things pop up in a newborns life for a variety of reasons. You might have a week of cluster feeding. Your baby might have digestive issues and get painful gas. You might experience colic with your newborn.
These situations put a halt on working towards regular sleep schedules or may put a damper on sleep altogether.
It may be easier said than done, but dont sweat it if youre not getting in your 10 am nap every day for the time being. Focus on taking care of your baby and figuring out what they need.
The good thing about newborns is that they are always changing and evolving and that means difficult phases dont last forever. Whatever bumps come your way things will smooth out.
Keep Wake Times To A Minimum
Wake times matter much less after the age of about 4 to 5 months, but they mean everything to a newborn. Keep those newborns awake for about 50 to 60 minutes , and then start to get them ready for a nap. A great routine: swaddle baby, take them to their room with darkness and white noise, and actively try to get them down for a nap.
Ideal wake times range depending on the age of your newborn and time of day. In a nutshell, the younger they are, the less time theyll be able to stay comfortably awake . And as they get older, awake time can stretch to as long as 90 minutes.
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Have An Earlier Bath Or Bedtime
Your baby might benefit from having an earlier bedtime, especially if your current one is later than 8:30pm. The early evenings are prime time for the witching hour, or when infants get fussy after a long day. So much so that, come bedtime, theyre too exhausted and overtired to feel rested and sleep.
The solution? Move bedtime earlier. For instance, start the bath at 7:15pm, followed by pajamas, reading, and songs. Feed your baby right before bed, and by then, 8:30pm rolls around and its time for him to sleep for the first stretch of the night.
St Month Newborn Sleep Tips
What Your Newborn Is Up To: When it comes to the first few weeks of life everything is about figuring things out. Both parents and newborns are in the introductory stagelike the getting to know you stage.
For your newborn, he or she is adjusting to life on the outside. Everything is new! Sounds, light, dark, feeding, touch, mom and dad or siblings its a brand new world. Your newborn is still developing too. Things like figuring how to latch or feed are new. Newborn eyesight isnt fully developed. Stretching their bodies out and moving arms and legs is a new sensation.
For parents, things are new too! Youre probably getting familiar with your newborns cues, like which pacifier works? What swaddle blanket does the baby prefer? What do your babys different sounds mean? How many diaper changes are needed and how should feedings be spaced out.
So where does sleep come into play? Here are newborn sleep tips to help you during this stage.
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