If You Are Breastfeeding You Are Likely To Get More Sleep If You Keep Your Baby Nearby
The World Health Organization recommends that babies share a bedroom with their parents, and its a recommendation that makes breastfeeding less disruptive. A recent study found that breastfeeding women got more sleep when they co-slept with baby . In fact, mothers who co-slept and breastfed got more sleep than did mothers who bottle-fed their babies .
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 opens in a new windowseems to be especially fussy or prone to crying. Watch for signs of opens in a new windowpostpartum stress and opens in a new windowpostpartum depression, and reach out to others for support.
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 .
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Helping Babies Sleep And Settle In The Early Months
In the first six months of life, babies need to wake at night to get enough food for growth and development. For most babies, sleeping through the night and settling by themselves comes later, when theyre developmentally ready.
But there are three things you can do in the early months to help with baby sleep and settling:
- Emphasise the difference between night and day.
- Put your baby to bed drowsy but awake.
- Start a sleep routine.
And if you do these things in the first six months, it can help your baby learn to sleep and settle independently later on, when baby is developmentally ready.
Remember: responding to your baby and being flexible are the most important things in these early months. Its OK if your baby falls asleep while feeding sometimes. Its also fine to cuddle or rock your baby to sleep if theyre unsettled.
Safe sleeping practices can help you minimise the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy . These practices include sleeping your baby on their back, making sure your babys head is uncovered during sleep, and sharing a room with your baby for the first year of life, or at least for the first six months.
How To Get A Baby To Sleep Through The Night
As a new parent, you might wonder when your baby will sleep through the night and allow you to do the same. If you’re craving a full night of quiet, you aren’t alone: parents tend to experience sleep loss and fatigue in the months after their child is born.
To help new parents reduce the stress of these changes, well cover how sleeping through the night is defined, when babies generally begin to stay asleep, and how you can get your baby to sleep through the night when they’re ready.
What Skills Is Your Newborn Developing
Skills such as smiling for the first time and, later, waving bye bye are called developmental milestones. These markers of a child’s growth help pediatricians and parents track babys progress in four important developmental categories: social and emotional, language and communication, cognition, and gross and fine motor skills.
Its important to note, though: Every baby develops at her own pace. Developmental milestones are helpful, but they arent a strict schedule. If you have any concerns about your childs progress, always talk to your pediatrician.
But, in general, heres what you can expect to see during the first three months :
Social and emotional skills
- Begins to smile at people
- Tries to look at parent or caregiver
Language and communication skills
- Coos and makes gurgling sounds
- Turns head towards sound
- Starts to act bored when activities dont change
Gross and fine motor skills
Newborn Sleep Patterns: Are There Any
To the sleepless parent, newborn sleep might seem totally disorganized. For example, consider these points.
1. Newborns never sleep for long.
Newborns sleep in short bouts typically ranging from 30 minutes to 4 hours at seemingly random times throughout the day and night.
2. Newborns awaken easily.
In part, this is because they spend a large portion of their sleep time in active sleep, a light sleep state characterized by fluttering eyelids rapid, irregular breathing occasional body movements and vocalizations .
3. Newborn sleep times can vary widely.
In the first few days, the average newborn sleeps between 16-18 hours a day . By four weeks, newborn sleep averages about 14 hours. But the range is considerable. Some four-week-old babies sleep as little as 9 out of 24 hours. Others sleep for 19 hours a day .
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Your Childs Age Is A Factor
Newborns: Your baby is a newborn a couple of months old
- You want to get lots of calories in during the daytime to help with longer stretches of sleep at night time
- During the day, donât let her go more than 4-4.5 hours between feeds,
- Wake your child up if sheâs sleeping longer than 4 hours between feeds during the day
- You want to stack the calories during the day so she can sleep longer at night
- At night time, if sheâs gaining weight well, I would not wake her up and let your child naturally wake up for a feed
Babies on 2-4 naps, ages 4 months to 14 months
Your child is between the ages of 4 months and ~14 months, when she starts to transition to 1 nap.
Toddlers on 1 nap:
- So important to protect that 1 nap
- At this age, car naps can be painful
- If she falls asleep for just 30 minutes she wonât transfer from the car to the crib and itâs impossible to get her to nap again for the day
- Youâre left with a tired cranky toddler who wonât nap
- Protect your 1 nap
- In general, I wouldnât let your toddler nap past 4 or 5 pm
- If your toddler had a rough day and didnât fall asleep until 3 pm instead of the usual 1 pm, I would wake her up at 4:30pm
- There is some variation between 4:30 and 5:00 pm based on when her bedtime normally is
- For example, if you have a toddler who goes to bed at 8 pm, gets up at 7 pm, her nap will be later in the day compared to a toddler who sleeps 7 pm to 6 am.
- Thus that 4 pm or 5 pm cut off varies according to the child.
Establishing A Baby Bedtime Routine
You may feel ready to introduce a bedtime routine when your baby is around 3 months old. Getting them into a simple, soothing bedtime routine can be helpful for everyone and help prevent sleeping problems later on. It’s also a great opportunity to have one-to-one time with your baby.
The routine could consist of:
- having a bath
- changing into night clothes and a fresh nappy
- putting them to bed
- dimming the lights in the room to create a calm atmosphere
- giving a goodnight kiss and cuddle
- singing a lullaby or having a wind-up musical mobile you can turn on when you’ve put your baby to bed
- brushing their teeth
As your child gets older, it can be helpful to keep to a similar bedtime routine. Too much excitement and stimulation just before bedtime can wake your child up again. Spend some time winding down and doing some calmer activities, like reading.
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How To Keep Baby Awake During The Day
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Babies cant differentiate between day and night, which may keep them awake during the night. Most babies think between 1 am to 4 am is playtime this is when no civilized parent has any intention to do so. This mostly happens because babies sleep all day in the mothers womb and stay awake during nights. The reason behind this is that during the day, the everyday activities of mom can rock babies to sleep. To counter this, most parents think keeping baby awake during the day will tire them out eventually and they will be able to sleep peacefully during the night.
This is not true because keeping baby awake for longer stretches of time will overstimulate and overtire them, and thus they will become more cranky and fussy than ever before. So, what can you do to solve this problem? How can you get your baby to sleep during the night? Fortunately, for you, there are some ways in which you can try to sleep train your baby.
Below are tips that show how to keep baby awake during the day.
1. Keep your baby awake a little longer after feeding instead of letting them fall asleep. This will enhance the need for more sleep later. It is recommended by sleep experts that you should play with your baby after each feed during the day instead of letting them sleep right away in order to cut their nap times short.
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.
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What To Do If A Newborn Is Sleeping Too Much
Usually, a newborn who appears to be sleeping too much is just sleeping on an irregular schedule.
Nevertheless, health issues such as respiratory infections that are minor annoyances in older babies can be much more dangerous in newborns. So, anyone who is concerned about a babys sleeping schedule should consult a pediatrician.
Some strategies to try before calling the doctor include:
- feeding the baby every time they show hunger cues
- offering the baby the breast, the chest, or a bottle every 12 hours to ensure adequate food intake
- making sure that the baby is not too cold or too hot
- keeping a log of the babys sleep schedule for 12 days
Your Baby Doesnt Know If Its Night Or Day
Some babies start sleeping on whats called a day/night reversal schedule. Your baby sleeps well during the day, but is awake and busy at night. Its frustrating and exhausting, but its temporary.
Here are a few things you can do to help your baby learn that day is for play and night is for rest:
- Keep them awake a little longer during each waking period during the day. This will help increase the need for sleep later. Some sleep experts recommend playing with your baby for a few minutes after a feeding instead of letting your baby fall asleep.
- Get your baby outside and in the sun . Natural light helps reset their internal clock. If you cant get outside, place your babys crib or sleeper near a window that gets steady, bright light.
- Avoid sleep-inducing activities, if at all possible, during the day. Dont fight your babys need to sleep. But if you can keep them out of the car seat for a bit, that extra time awake will help them later.
- Keep lights low or turn them out at night anywhere near babys sleeping area. Likewise for sound and movement. Your goal should be zero disruptions.
- Consider swaddling your baby at night so their arms and legs dont move and wake them. You can also try putting them to sleep in a small crib, so they feel snug and secure.
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Help Your Baby’s Eyesight Develop
Your baby’s once-fuzzy eyesight is growing clearer every day, and at around the 3-month mark, so is her ability to follow an object with her eyes. Give her some practice by offering interesting things to look at, such as:
- Bright patterns. Sharp contrasts are more intriguing to newborns than delicate pastels, so don’t hesitate to go bold in what you show her. Draw simple pictures or cut them from paper and hang them near her changing table.
- Mirrors. Babies love mirrors! She’s not vain , she just loves seeing another tot just her size. Choose an unbreakable mirror made just for infants.
- Mobiles. Hang one about 6 to 12 inches above your baby’s face, and off to one side . And remember, the objects on the mobile are for your baby’s benefit, not yours. Make sure the most interesting view is from the bottom not the side or top .
- Faces and people. Whether live or in photographs, babies are fascinated by the human face. Offer yours for observation often, or show her pictures of other people’s faces.
- Books. There’s no need for fancy words or any words at all. Choose sturdy cardboard or cloth books with simple, clear drawings or photographs of everyday objects, babies, children and animals. Your baby might spend more time chewing on the book than looking at it, but she might occasionally sneak a peek at the pictures.