Stay Consistent With Your Efforts
Caring for a newborn is a balance of giving your baby a chance to sleep in the crib, while helping her when she cant.
The key is to constantly give her that chance, each and every time. After all, when else will she learn to sleep in the crib when she isnt given the opportunity to?
Think of daycare sleeping arrangements where, because there simply isnt any other option, those babies somehow learn to sleep in a crib.
The same can be true for your baby. Shell begin to associate the crib with sleep, and will simply get used to it the more consistent and repetitive you are with putting her in it.
How To Get Your Baby To Nap In A Crib
In the end, the transition from the early weeks to the age when you really should start thinking about good habits is a moving target and may depend on the baby. Despite all the warnings about creating unwanted precedents, Dubief says that babies dont have the mental capacity to form habits in those first eight weeks of life and wont learn independent sleep until somewhere between four and eight months.
Somewhere in between, letting your baby nap on you may need to stop. If your baby has only slept on an adult, by six months, they will know this is the only way to nap and will become quite upset when you attempt to deviate from the norm, warns Dubief. If you dont want to let them nap on you for the long haul, gradually backing out of it earlierstarting at three monthsis ideal.
Getting your baby to transition from napping on their favourite human to sleeping soundly in their own bed isnt easy, but a few tried-and-true tricks can help. A hot water bottle can warm babys spot for a few minutes and then, when you put them down and remove it, they may be fooled into believing that theyre sleeping on you. Some parents swear that baby massage before bedtime can help, while others leave their hand on babies bellies until they settle into a deep sleep.
Use White Noise When Putting Your Newborn To Sleep
If you notice that your newborn tends to fall asleep in a noisier environment as opposed to a completely silent environment, she will likely benefit from a white noise machine. White noise can drown out household sounds such as older siblings, pets, and the television. Some white noise machines even have a heartbeat setting to mimic a mothers heartbeat, which is very comforting to newborns as they sleep at night. The volume should be just loud enough to drown out any background noise. If the sound is too loud, then the machine, itself, will become a distraction.
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The Fourth Trimester And Babies
Since babies are technically born 3 months early, us moms should treat their first three months outside the womb as another trimester of pregnancy.
Do you ever wonder why your newborn needs to be held and will scream the second you put them down? They long to be close to you.
Do you wonder why your newborn doesnt sleep well in a quiet room? Contrary to what many people believe, the womb was actually quite a loud atmosphere for your baby .
Does your baby fare better in a room with a night light?Inside the womb isnt as dark as you may think streams of sunlight flow through our skin and uterine walls to our baby.
To make those first few months with your baby easier, think of your baby like they still need to be inside the womb, but they had to come out .
They need extra care and extra cuddles that first trimester outside the womb while they transition to life apart from everything theyre used to .
All this to say, if you get frustrated because your baby only wants to sleep in your arms, is waking up many times at night, and needs to constantly be nursing or just near you, give your little babe a bit of grace they should still be inside the womb, but they had to come out, so its up to you to help them feel safe and warm, just like they were when you were pregnant with them.
Feed Your Baby After Naps Not Before
Does your baby seem uncomfortable during naps? One possible reason could be digestion issues, especially if you feed him to sleep.
Giving him milk beforehand seems to make sense, especially if he relies on feeding to fall asleep. But this makes gas issues more likely, especially since he cant burp properly and is laid flat on his back .
Feeding him to sleep also reinforces the habit of needing to suck to fall asleep. This isnt always a sustainable way to put him to sleep, since youll feel compelled to feed him if he stirs himself awake .
Instead, feed him after he wakes up to avoid these issues. Youll be able to hold him upright for a proper burp and avoid the discomfort that happens with sleeping after eating. Hes also able to use those newly-consumed calories when hes awake and alert.
And finally, youll disassociate feeding as the only way to fall asleep when he can practice what its like to self soothe.
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Do: Know Babies Sleep A Lot
It may not seem like it at first! But your newborn may sleep about 16 hours a day, waking for feedings and changing. As babies get older they need less sleep during the day and more at night. By 6 months some babies should be able to sleep through the night plus take two to three naps. But don’t worry if they don’t: each baby is different.
Sleep Regressions & Teething
Its often difficult to get your baby to sleep. However, depending on their age, there may be something else going on.
Sleep regressions happen throughout a babys development in the first few years. Theyre most common being at 4 months old and 10 months old.
Likewise, teething babies have a harder time sleeping. If your little one is experiencing pain from teething, consider different ways to make them more comfortable.
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How Much Sleep Do Babies Really Need
The amount of sleep your baby needs varies, depending on their age. Newborns nap a lot, with most averaging 14 to 17 hours sleep in a 24-hour period. However, this sleep is inconsistent and broken up, particularly over the first few weeks when babies wake for frequent feedings.
Things settle a bit as your baby nears their second and third month. Most infants can sleep for 6 hours a night, for example, by 12 weeks. But even as night sleep solidifies, infants and toddlers still need naps.
In fact, according to the Childrens Hospital of St. Louis, daily naps for children are essential for good days and good nights.
Baby Has Outgrown Their Nap Schedule
In some cases, the secret to how to get baby to take longer naps is making sure theyre actually tired. Your child may need longer awake windows to have time to build up more sleep pressure in between naps.
What to do: Make sure your childs nap schedule is age-appropriate, and adjust as needed. Here are my recommendations for a childs nap schedule by age.
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Is It Okay To Limit The Length Of Babys Nap
If your child has slept for the appropriate amount for his naps during daytime it is okay to wake him up. This ensures that he does not sleep too much during the daytime, and his night sleep is not affected. If he is in danger of missing a feed, it is not wrong to wake your child up also, ensure that he is taking part in some engaging activities when he is awake so that he becomes tired enough.
The answer to how much sleep a baby needs is a confusing one, as it depends upon the personality, energy levels and what he does when he is awake. Although general guidelines for the amount of sleep he requires are given above, do not fret if he does not follow it accurately. Also, do consult the doctor if you feel that something is wrong with the sleep pattern of your child.
Why Do Short Naps Happen
Short naps, which I define as less than 40 to 50 minutes or so, are actually developmentally normal in the first six months of life as your babys sleep cycles mature, and it is not until six months or after that your babys day sleep starts to naturally consolidate .
In general, when your baby is taking a short nap, it’s because they are waking up after one sleep cycle, which is about 40 minutes in this stage. It is also possible your baby is waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle, during their lighter stage of sleep. And as frustrating as it is to see your baby take consistently short naps, generally speaking if they are within this age range, it is normal.
However, that doesnt mean your child doesnt need consolidated naps or that you have to just accept them. If your baby is waking very shortly into their nap, that is a sign they arent getting the restorative sleep they need. There are also many external factors that can cause short naps, so it is important to rule those out first.
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Myth: You Should Be Guided Completely By A Babys Tired Signs
FACT: Unfortunately not all babies display reliable tired signs. Babies older than 6 weeks also do hit a natural dip in energy levels after 1-1.5 hours of awake time and may display tired signs here. This is a time when they are starting to get tired but are not actually tired enough to go to sleep, or to sleep for very long. Many people mistake this for a sign their baby is ready for bed, then wonder why they struggle to get their baby to fall asleep or why their baby only has a 20 minute nap . Watching the clock and keeping your baby awake for the exact amount of awake time for their age is your best way to ensure their naps occur at the right time.
How To Get Your Baby To Sleep Tip : Get Strategic About Diaper Changes
Did you know that many babies aren’t bothered by sleeping with a wet diaper? Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be changing it throughout the night , but it does mean you might be changing it more than you need to.
We keep mentioning the importance of keeping baby calm and activity low during nighttime. Diaper changes can be pretty active and can really wake your baby up. Start changing your baby’s diaper before you feed them, that way they can calm back down and hopefully fall asleep either while your feeding them, or shortly after.
If you have to change their diaper after being fed, don’t turn on the lights, avoid talking to them excitedly and making eye contact. Try to master the diaper change with just the light from a night light so you’re not giving your baby any signals that it’s time to wake up.
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Where Should My Baby Sleep
For the first 6 months your baby should be in the same room as you when they’re asleep, both day and night. Particularly in the early weeks, you may find your baby only falls asleep in your or your partner’s arms, or when you’re standing by the cot.
You can start getting your baby used to going to sleep without you comforting them by putting them down before they fall asleep or when they’ve just finished a feed. It may be easier to do this once your baby starts to stay alert more frequently or for longer.
Want Free Baby Nap Help Right Away Weve Got You Covered
Short or non-existent baby naps can be so frustrating but you dont have to suffer through them! We have a ton of nap resources and one of those nap resources is our free guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes. Are you making any of these common nap mistakes? If so, they may be the cause of your babys non-napping. So download your free guide today, and start putting the tips to use as early as your babys next nap!
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Helping Your Newborn Sleep
Newborns follow their own schedule. Over the next couple of weeks to months, you and your baby will begin to settle into a routine.
It may take a few weeks for your baby’s brain to know the difference between night and day. Unfortunately, there are no tricks to speed this up, but it helps to keep things quiet and calm during middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes. Try to keep the lights low and resist the urge to play with or talk to your baby. This will send the message that nighttime is for sleeping. If possible, let your baby fall asleep in the crib at night so your little one learns that it’s the place for sleep.
Don’t try to keep your baby up during the day in the hopes that he or she will sleep better at night. Overly tired infants often have more trouble sleeping at night than those who’ve had enough sleep during the day.
If your newborn is fussy it’s OK to rock, cuddle, and sing as your baby settles down. Swaddling can also help to soothe a crying baby. For the first months of your baby’s life, “spoiling” is definitely not a problem.
Snooze Control: An Age
From babies to big kids, make sure your little one is getting enough sleep with our handy guide to naps. And don’t forget, sometimes you need a nap too!
Teresa PitmanSeptember 16, 2020
When you were pregnant, you probably imagined all the creative things youd do when baby nappedwork on the baby book, do a yoga video, catch up with friends on the phone. A few months later, all you care about is finding creative ways to get him to nap so you can take a shower or catch a few winks yourself. Naps can be a treasured break in a parents day, but they can also be frustrating, especially when they arent happening the way you think they should.
Its amazing what a hot topic sleep can be, says Kellie Walden, baby wellness coordinator at the Early Years Centre in Peterborough, Ont. Parents often have a preconceived idea of how a baby should sleep. But babies are very individual in how much they sleep, when they sleep, how they fall asleep.
During the first six weeks, there really isnt such a thing as a nap. Your baby will eat and sleep and wake around the clock, and you may not see anything that looks like a routine or predictable sleep times. Thats normal for this age and there isnt much you can do about it.
Keeping in mind that every infant is different, here are some typical patterns that emerge beyond those initial hazy weeks.
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