Strategy #6 Remain As Calm And Relaxed As Possible About The Sleep Issue
If you are frustrated and angry when you deal with your child in the night, your child will inevitably pick up your vibes, even if youre trying hard to hide your feelings.Accepting the fact that some babies take a little longer to learn the sleep ropes and feeling confident that you can solve your childs sleep problems will make it easier to cope with the middle-of-the-night sleep interruptions.Scientific studies have shown that parents who have realistic expectations about parenthood and who feel confident in their own abilities to handle parenting difficulties find it easier to handle sleep challenges.
Week : Review Newborns Sleep Schedule
At a month and a half, your baby may have developed new patterns. Do you notice any changes? Perhaps youre transitioning into a more consistent feeding schedule. Maybe you notice your newborn is more awake and alert in the morning.
Now is the time to review your newborns sleep pattern and schedule. Do you find them getting tired at the same time at different points in the day? This could clue you into making that time a naptime.
Are they getting drowsy after dinner at the same time? Thats cue to make it bedtime. Do they get up to eat at the same time? That can clue you in when you should get some shut-eye before getting up in the night.
Following this newborn sleep tip will help you get into the habit of noticing when your baby is getting sleepy and is ready to be put down with ease.
How Can You Help Your Baby Fall Asleep
Not all babies know how to put themselves to sleep. When it is time for bed, many parents want to rock their baby to sleep. Newborns and younger infants will fall asleep while breastfeeding. Having a routine at bedtime is a good idea. But if an older baby falls asleep while eating or in your arms, this may become a pattern. Your baby may then begin to expect to be in your arms in order to fall asleep. When your baby briefly awakens during a sleep cycle, he or she may not be able to go back to sleep on his or her own.
After the newborn period, most experts recommend allowing your baby to become sleepy in your arms, then placing him or her in the bed while still awake. This way your baby learns how to go to sleep on his or her own. Playing soft music while your baby is getting sleepy is also a good way to help create a bedtime routine.
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Safe Sleeping Where Should Your Baby Sleep
It’s up to you where your baby sleeps, but it is recommended that babies sleep in a cot in the same room as an adult for the first 6 to 12 months, since this has been shown to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome .
Always place a baby to sleep on their back with the head and face uncovered every time they sleep, night or day. Keep the room smoke-free.
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!
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At Night: Newborn Sleep And Waking
In the first few months, newborns usually wake several times a night for feeds.
Between one and three months, your baby might start waking less often and have a longer period of sleep at night.
By the time your baby is around three months old, they might regularly be having a longer sleep at night for example, around 4-5 hours. But you can expect that your baby will still wake at least once each night.
If your baby is premature or low birth weight, your paediatrician or child and family health nurse might recommend that you let your baby sleep for only a certain amount of time at night before you wake them for a feed.
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 is 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 begin 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 such as an ear infection. 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.
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Tips For How To Get Baby To Sleep
As baby grows and becomes more aware of their surroundings, its easy for them to cross that line between cautiously curious and decidedly overstimulated. In the first months of life, an infants social, emotional and intellectual skills are slowly maturing, says James McKenna, PhD, a professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame and director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory. During these critical developmental years, new daily experiences can cause baby to construct new things to worry about, to be aware of, to think about and to be afraid of.
In other words, just like for Mom , babys daytime stressors can impact nighttime sleep. And that means baby craves the comfort only you can provide. So what can you do to help baby get some ZZZs? Here are some guidelines for how to get baby to sleep easier.
Myth: Babies Will Just Fall Asleep When Theyre Tired
FACT: Some babies will fall asleep when theyre tired. The vast majority of babies will simply stay awake until theyre really overtired, making it impossible for them to settle easily or sleep well. We need to teach our babies how to sleep by making sure they have the right amount of awake time and nap time and that they have the right conditions for sleep. .
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Myth: Giving Babies Lots Of Solids At Dinner Will Make Them Sleep Through The Night
FACT: The balance of milk vs solids is really important. Simply giving your baby lots of solids isnt as crucial as the times of the day when you give the food. You should always offer solids at the lunch meal first, once that is established, offer dinner then lastly introduce breakfast. Lunch is the most important meal of the day because protein at this meal is stored by the babys liver in a way that will help them feel full through the night. If a baby younger than 10 months has protein at dinner it can cause wakefulness in the night as their body struggles to digest the protein.
How Can I Get My Baby Used To Night And Day Being Different
It can be helpful to teach your baby that night-time is different to daytime from the start.
During the day, open curtains, play games and don’t worry too much about everyday noises when they sleep.
At night, you might find it helpful to:
- keep the lights down low
- not talk much and keep your voice quiet
- put your baby down as soon as they’ve been fed and changed
- not change your baby unless they need it
- not play with your baby
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Lay The Baby Down Awake But Drowsy
The most important way to encourage your newborn to sleep in the long run is to teach him to fall asleep independently, which is essentially the beginnings of teaching independent sleep.
Babies, like adults, will naturally wake up during the night. Without knowing how to get back to sleep, a baby will cry out after waking regardless of actual need, resulting in night waking droning on for much longer than is actually necessary.
Once a baby gets older, falling asleep independently enables a baby to drift back to sleep after waking in the night, ultimately helping your baby sleep better in the long run.
You can start by settling your baby into a drowsy state with your newborn baby routine, then lay your baby down in their safe sleep space. If needed, place a gentle but firm hand over your babies chest while he drifts off.
How To Choose A Morning Wake Time:
- Choose a time that is suitable to your family routine and consistently feed them at this time.
- Every morning, aim to feed your baby at this time even if theyve fed as soon a 1.5 hours before.
- If need be, gently rouse your baby up around 4 or 4:30 am and feed them as full a feeding as they will take, then wake them up again at the time youve determined is their morning wake time.
- And, if they wake earlier than this time but are not crying for milk, cuddle, hold, play with, and rock baby until that time comes. If the baby is extremely hungry, feed baby of course. Try to get a full feed in there and then get back on routine throughout the day.
- Remember consistency is key. Your babys body will get used to eating at a certain time and will slowly but surely start sleeping a lot closer to that time.
At this point your baby takes full feeds, has a good routine, is learning to put himself to sleep, and has established dream feeds and morning wake times.
You are nearly there! You are a newborn sleep pro!
If you are going back to work at this point, you may want to teach your baby to sleep well at someone elses house.
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Starting A Sleep Routine
When it feels right for your baby and you, it can help to start doing things in a similar order each day for example, feed, play, sleep. A baby sleep routine like this will help your baby settle into a regular sleep pattern.
So when your baby wakes up during the day, a routine might be to:
- offer baby a feed
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.
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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.
Change Your Babys Diaper Strategically
Changing the diaper before a middle of the night feeding prevents the baby from waking up too much after a feeding is finished. When the baby wakes up change the diaper and re-swaddle to prepare him for sleep immediately following a night feeding. If you change the diaper after the night feeding, the baby may become too awake, making it more challenging for him to fall asleep.
Now, Ive also heard from parents of very young newborn babies sharing that the baby poops right after a night feeding. This is very common during the early newborn phase when babies are still working out the flow of their digestive tracts.
If your baby is consistently stooling after a night feeding, then certainly, just wait to change the diaper until after the feed. Once your babys gut matures and he or she stops stooling immediately after a night feed, you can go back to changing the diaper before the feed.
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Myth: You Should Sleep Train Your Baby Or Fix Their Sleep At Night Only
FACT: Because of the intrinsic link between daytime and night time sleep, it isn’t fair on your baby to approach any kind of sleep training at night only. We understand the holistic nature of baby sleep and very often we see that a baby’s night waking is due solely to their napping in the day – having had too much or too little day sleep or the naps not happening at the ideal times to promote good night sleep. Sleep training a baby at night only can often set them up to fail. If they had too much day sleep they are waking at night simply because they aren’t tired enough for a more restorative night sleep, not because they need “sleep training”. If a baby has too little day sleep night waking can be attributed to overtiredness, again, something that is quite outside your baby’s control and something no amount of sleep training will “fix”. We ALWAYS look at the napping first because many many times merely tweaking a baby’s nap structure has the biggest, most positive influence on their night time sleep, without the need for actual sleep training.