How To Settle A Newborn Baby At Night

How Many Feedings Does My Baby Really Need At Night

How to settle baby on their first night home

Before taking steps to reduce feedings, youll want to make sure you are asking your baby to do something s/he can achieve! If your baby is healthy and gaining weight well, then determine how many feedings your baby likely needs at night based on the chart below. It shows common nighttime feeding patterns and reasonable expectations for babies in the first year. Always check with your pediatrician to make sure your baby is ready to eat less at night and always adjust your babys age based on her due date. If your baby is eating more than what is indicated on this chart, and you are rested and happy with your situation, you dont have a problem. If your baby is eating less and your pediatrician is happy with weight gain and growth lucky you! This blog is for those of you whose babies are feeding MORE than what is indicated on the chart below and who are feeling the effects of fragmented sleep!

Coping With An Unsettled Baby

Coping with an unsettled baby can be highly demanding and stressful for any parent. Unsettled babies can make the adjustment to parenthood very challenging especially when you are still in the process of forming a bond with your baby. Signs of an unsettled baby can include constant crying which is difficult to soothe, a baby that wakes often during the night, wakes after very short sleeps, and/or is difficult to settle to sleep.

Excessive crying occurs in up to thirty percent of infants in the first three months of life.

There are various reasons as to why your baby may not be as settled as you expected, or even very different from your other children. Some babies are just easier to settle than others it is no reflection on you.

Babies all come with their own unique temperaments and like people generally, some will be easy going and placid, whilst others will be highly sensitive or determined in their own way. You may also have had a preterm baby, or a baby with a medical condition which can bring additional challenges for them and for you. Often common medical conditions can cause your baby to be in pain and lead them to cry and be unsettled. It is a good idea to have you baby checked by a health professional to rule this out as a possible reason for their distress and crying, and if it is the case, seek treatment for them to alleviate their pain and symptoms.

Baby Is Learning New Skills

It is quite possible that your baby might just be trying out some new skills that they have learned by completing their developmental milestones! These skills include rolling, crawling, sitting up, or standing up and since babies are energetic beings, they may take it upon themselves to practice these skills at the wee hours of the night.

If theyre up practicing these skills, then chances are theyll find it unable to go back to sleep anytime soon. Of course, this includes you having to wake up and put them to sleep.

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Can I Use A Dummy To Help My Baby Self Settle

According to Andrea, a dummy can be useful in helping your baby to settle. She says:

Certainly, dummies have their uses in helping a baby to settle, and they are not called pacifiers for nothing! The rhythmic and natural sucking process can help to induce sleep.

However, there are sleep disadvantages too, says Andrea including the dummy falling out of your babys mouth as he falls asleep. And that means disrupted sleep for you as you’ll need to get up to pop the dummy back in.

The nature of sleep is such that frequent waking up due to the sleep cycles means that they may need the dummy replacing several times, she adds.

Have you tried the self settling technique? Join in the chat in our thread, below.

Need advice?

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Sleep Problems After Illness

Baby Sleeping on the bed / Adorable baby sleeping at night ...

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.

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Swaddle To Get Your Newborn To Sleep Through The Night

Swaddling typically starts in the hospital and often continues through the first several months of a babys life. This soothing technique has been proven to help newborns sleep through the night, and babies who are swaddled tend to cry less than babies who are not swaddled. In addition to keeping your little one warm and toasty in those early months of life, swaddling also keeps your baby from being disturbed by her own startle reflex.

Dont Worry If Your Baby Wont Settle

There is really one thing that is most important and that is to make sure your baby is fed well at every feed. A hungry or slightly hungry baby will usually not settle to sleep easily and if he does drop off to sleep will wake soon after his feed and be unsettled. If you are breast feeding it is important that you wake him up if he goes to sleep on you- as most breast fed babies will do! Change his nappy if he is very sleepy then put him back on the same breast if he hasnt finished that side, or put him on the other side. If baby has finished the first side you may well find he gets cross when you put him back to that breast, so put him on the other side and feed him until he wont take any more- until he is tanked right up! Wind him, swaddle him and tuck him down. I always swaddle a baby with one hand up so that his little hand is under his chin and the other arm down on his side. Tuck him down in his cot on his side with his hand that is up under his chin on the mattress side, so his arm that is tucked down on the side of his body that is facing you. Rub his body and shush him and leave him to self settle.

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Understand Your Baby’s Sleep Needs

During the first 2 months, your newborn’s need to eat overrules their need to sleep. They may feed almost every 2 hours if you’re breastfeeding, and possibly a little less often if you bottle-feed.

Your baby may sleep from 10 to 18 hours a day, sometimes for 3 to 4 hours at a time. But babies dont know the difference between day and night. So they sleep with no regard for what time it is. That means your babys wide-awake time may be from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

By 3 to 6 months, many babies are able to sleep for a stretch of 6 hours. But just as you think your baby is getting into a nice routine — usually between 6 and 9 months — normal developmental stages can throw things off. For instance, when your baby begins to associate bedtime with being left alone, they may start crying just to keep you around.

Bedtime Routines For Your Baby

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Bedtime routines help your baby develop positive sleep patterns and behaviour and can prevent sleep problems.

Regular daytime and bedtime routines can help your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep. They let your baby know that sleep is coming.

Bedtime routines are predictable and calming for your baby.

Some things you can do include:

  • keeping the routine short no more than 15 to 30 minutes.
  • using the same relaxing activities before bed every day .
  • creating a calm, quiet, dark and warm environment, with no television.

Use regular bed times, nap times and wake times to help your baby develop a good sleep-wake rhythm.

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Be Aware Of Food Sensitivities

Exposure to different foods and flavors begins in utero, and your babys ability to process certain foods will develop and get stronger throughout the first year of his life. As your baby grows, he may develop one or more food sensitivity. This is especially true in breastfed babies. For example, a newborn baby may have a difficult time digesting garlic or other spices within breast milk. If your baby is crying, arching her back, and has a stiff belly, then she may be experiencing a food sensitivity. The good news is that these symptoms typically pass after a bowel movement.

Once you identify which food caused this discomfort, you can eliminate it from your diet while breastfeeding. This should ensure that your baby will sleep at night more comfortable and uninterrupted.

If your baby is at least 6 months old, and you have concerns related to how solid foods may be interfering with her sleep, please refer to “How Certain Foods Can Affect Your Childs Sleep.”

What Can I Do To Help My Baby Sleep

Parenting is a really personal thing, and what works for one family might not suit another. Theres lots of advice out there, and sleep is perhaps one of the most debated areas in all of childcare perhaps because sleep becomes so central to your life once you have little ones! However, there are some tried and tested approaches that are worth considering to find one that feels right for you and your baby:

  • Stick to a routine

Babies thrive on predictability, so a simple bedtime routine can really help settle your little one for the night. That could be something as straightforward as milk, cuddle, story whatever works for you and your child.

The key is to keep the pattern the same every night so that your little one knows what to expect and comes to associate the familiar routine with bedtime.

  • Settling your baby

Its up to you how you decide to settle your baby into sleep some experts suggest putting them down when theyre calm and relaxed but before theyre fully asleep so that they begin to learn how to settle themselves. Of course, not rocking or cuddling your baby to sleep is easier said than done, and others believe that such soothing is vital and that babies will thrive on it. Follow your instincts, and try to be as consistent as you can. You can listen to the calming sounds from CBeebies Radio.

  • Waking in the night
  • Night feeds
  • Overtiredness

It’s important that you make sure you get some rest when you can.

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Having A Flexible Baby Routine

I am also a great believer in a flexible routine. If you are bottle feeding this is easier to do at first as you know how much baby is having at feed. If you are breast feeding it is a little more tricky to do but is certainly possible. Having a flexible routine is a great asset to teaching your baby to sleep. If you are demand feeding, which might suit you well, especially in the early weeks, but you may well find that when baby is a few months old his sleeping patterns are all over the place and he is sleeping in the day but not at night! So a gentle flexible routine will enable you to teach baby to sleep well.

Babies who are in a flexible routine will very often drop the middle of the night feed by the time they are two months old. So if you are four hourly feeding baby will then be having five feeds a day instead of six feeds.

Sleep Myth : Crying It Out Is Bad For Baby

5 things that really calm a screaming baby

Crying is a common and response to saying good-bye to a loved parent at bedtime. However, learning to fall asleep on ones own is an important skill that you can help your baby learn when she is old enoughat about 4 months.

Most experts and research agree that letting a baby or toddler cry as they go to sleep will not have any long-term damaging effects. A child who is well-loved, nurtured, and responded to during the day will not be hurt by fussing a bit before bed in the evening. And the good news is that the crying at bedtime will probably only go on for a few days before your baby adapts and begins to learn how to put herself to sleep.

But that doesnt mean its an easy choice for parents. Many parenting decisions, and especially this one, involve understanding temperamentnot only your babys, but your own as well. If letting your baby cry herself to sleep is too emotionally painful for you, there are other options. For example, you can go back to check on her every 10 minutes . Or, you can decide on a certain length of crying that you are willing to put up with and if the crying goes beyond that, you will go in to comfort the baby. Another option, if your partner is able to endure more of the crying, is that he or she takes on the bedtime routine. In any case, it is important for the two of you to be in agreement about your bedtime plan. Finding an approach that works for both your baby and your family is important.

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