What Are The Benefits Of Sleep Training My Baby
The sleep habits you teach your baby now will likely stay with them for years, so it’s important to nip any sleep problems in the bud. Sleep plays a vital part in your child’s development, contributing to learning, memory, mood regulation, immune system functioning, metabolism, and attention. A well-rested infant is also more likely to be happy and less fussy during the day, which allows parents to be better rested and helps reduce symptoms of depression in mothers as well.
How Much Should A 4
A typical 4-month-old should get between 12 and 17 hours of shut-eye a day, including nighttime sleep and three or four naps. Still, every baby’s sleep needs are different and it’s normal if your child snoozes a little more or less than that. Your 4-month-old has a stronger grasp on day and night now and may be able to sleep for six to eight hours overnight .
Establish A Good Bedtime Routine
A consistent bedtime routine is the cornerstone of good sleep for children. It should also be a time for parents and babies to bond. Bedtime routines need not be complex. Bathe your child , change her into pajamas, read her a story, sing a song and feed or soothe her, then put her in her crib. The key is consistency performing the same activities, in the same sequence, at the same time each evening.
Finding the ideal bedtime can be tricky in the first few months of life. Infants who take a late afternoon nap may go to bed as late as 9 or 10 p.m. A good rule of thumb is that your baby will probably sleep three to four hours after his last nap ends, but you may need to experiment, adjusting your babys nap and bedtime schedule to figure out what works best.
A few other tips for a successful routine:
Have all caregivers in your home participate in the bedtime routine. It is a recipe for burnout when only one parent can soothe the baby to sleep.
If you are nursing, teach your baby to take a bottle once breastfeeding is established, usually around 4 to 6 weeks. Allow the non-nursing partner to feed and soothe the baby to sleep.
Make the routine simple enough that one parent can do it if necessary.
Around 3 to 4 months, as babies grow larger and need fewer feedings, they often begin sleeping for longer periods during the night. At this age, six to seven hours of continuous sleep can occur.
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How Long Will My Newborn Sleep
Newborns should get 1417 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, says the National Sleep Foundation. Some newborns may sleep up to 1819 hours a day.
Newborns wake every couple of hours to eat. Breastfed babies feed often, about every 23 hours. Bottle-fed babies tend to feed less often, about every 34 hours.
Newborns who sleep for longer stretches should be awakened to feed. Wake your baby every 34 hours to eat until he or she shows good weight gain, which usually happens within the first couple of weeks. After that, it’s OK to let your baby sleep for longer periods of time at night.
The first months of a baby’s life can be the hardest for parents, who might get up many times at night to tend to the baby. Each baby has a different sleep pattern. Some start to sleep “through the night” by 23 months of age, but some don’t.
Dealing With Baby Sleep Problems
All babies change their sleep patterns. Just when you think you have it sorted and you’ve all had a good night’s sleep, the next night you might be up every 2 hours.
Be prepared to change routines as your baby grows and enters different stages. And remember, growth spurts, teething and illnesses can all affect how your baby sleeps.
If your baby is having problems sleeping or you need more advice about getting into a routine, speak to your health visitor.
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Make A Planand Stick To It
Agree with your partner about what youll do when baby wakes in the middle of the night and who will do it. The number one way to fail is not to have plan, Ryan says. Set a date on calendar to start, and be consistent. Thatll make it so much easier for baby to learn.
Our infographic details sleep safety tips and advice for babys best sleep:
Pick Up Put Down And Shush
For babies younger than seven months, Garden prefers an approach where you stay in the room without giving them too much help to fall asleep. For example, you could stand over their crib and shush them, pat their tummy or apply pressure to calm and reassure them.
Another option is to let them fuss for a bit, but when they start to escalate, pick them up to soothe them but put them back down before they fall asleep. Our job is to help calm the child, and their job is to fall asleep, says Garden.
While these methods can work really well for younger babies, after six or seven months, your presence might make your baby more upset, and picking them up and putting them back down will likely be too much stimulation.
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When Do Babies Sleep Through The Night Breastfeeding
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Okay, before we get into the meat of how to get a breastfed baby to sleep through the night, I really want to make sure that we are on the same page with your expectations of newborn sleep.
Youve probably already heard the main reason why breastfed babies struggle with sleeping through the night: their little bodies metabolize breast milk more quickly, so they require more feedings.
Im not going to argue with that fact. Its totally true. But, believe it or not, many breastfed babies are physically capable of sleeping through the night by 3, even 2, months.
Now, if youre 4 months in and youre finding it pretty hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, do not worry.
The goal of this post isnt to make you feel bad that your baby isnt sleeping for more than 3-4, even 2 hours at night. I want to encourage you and let you know thatmore sleep IS possible.
How Long Should Breastfed Babies Sleep
So, to clear things up, what does sleeping through the night mean for breastfed babies?
The definition of sleeping through the night ranges a lot. In the early weeks, sleeping through the night is only about 5-6 hours of continuous sleep .
When Can Babies Fall Asleep On Their Own
Your pediatrician is your best resource to know exactly when your baby can fall asleep on his own. But in general, babies in the newborn stagethe fourth trimester, as they saystill need help falling asleep.
That said, you can still set good habits even now that encourage him to sleep independently. Make every first attempt an opportunity for him to fall asleep on his own .
And if he cries hysterically? Then yes, scoop him up and try something else. Maybe this time youll put him in the swing, carry him in a wrap, or try an infant cushion. And if he truly isnt having any of it, then hold him in your arms to help him sleep.
He might still need help falling asleep a lot of times, but at least youre consistently giving him a chance to do it on his own, too.
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No Tears Sleep Training Effectiveness
You may be concerned that these gentler methods wont work as well and cost you rest in the long run however, its been shown that there is no one best method when it comes to teaching your little one how to self-soothe.
Each child is inevitably unique and will bring new challenges to parents. Dont let the rigid techniques fool you into thinking theyre superior to another. Sure, they work. However, they all have the potential to produce a good nights rest when implemented effectively.
How Can I Make Sure Sleep Training Successful
Infant sleep training will look a little bit different for every family, depending on what method you choose to follow. The different methods require different tactics from the parents in order to be successful. Pro tip: take notes! Having a record of how your baby has progressed throughout the sleep training will come in handy when youre too tired to remember how long they slept the previous night.
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Most Popular Baby Sleep
Exhausted new parents and certified sleep consultants swear by some of these sleep-training techniques. Heres what you need to know before you get started.
For the first few months of his life, Laura Welks baby, Greyson, was a dream sleeper. He had regular naps during the day, and all it took was a calming bottle in the evenings and he would be fast asleep. He would wake up only once a night for a feed, and that would last him until morning.
But when he was about three-and-a-half months old, the routine fell apart. I would feed him, but he wouldnt be asleep at the end of the feed, recalls Welk. I would rock him until he fell asleep and put him down, and then he would wake up 30 minutes later and I would do it all over again. Desperate for some rest, Welk brought Greyson into bed with her, but then she ended up just lying still, holding a pacifier in his mouth all night long. I didnt know anything about sleep, says Welk. I didnt know you couldnt just rock them to sleep and then put them down.
When Greyson was four months old, the first-time parents contacted a sleep consultant, who clued them into a few things that were getting in the way of Greyson sleeping well: All the rocking and pacifying were now ingrained in him as sleep associationsor crutches he needed to fall asleep and stay asleep. They decided to sleep-train him.
Will My Baby Cry When I Sleep Train Him
No. The slower you go with sleep training, the less likely your baby will cry. Remember, sleep training involves setting up a consistent routine AND teaching your baby to fall asleep on his own. Gentle sleep training methods involve focusing on only one change at a time. In my baby sleep program, first we create a peaceful bedtime routine.
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Set A Bedtime Routine
A study of 405 mothers — with infants between 7 months and 36 months old — showed that babies who followed a nightly bedtime routine went to sleep easier, slept better, and cried out in the middle of the night less often.
Some parents start their baby’s bedtime routine as early as 6 to 8 weeks old. Your baby’s routine can be any combination of regular bedtime activities. The keys to success:
- Play active games during the day and quiet games in the evening. This keeps your baby from getting too excited right before bedtime but gets them tired from the day’s activities.
- Keep activities the same and in the same order, night after night.
- Make every activity calm and peaceful, especially toward the end of the routine.
- Many babies enjoy bathing right before bedtime, which calms them down.
- Save your baby’s favorite activity for last, and do it in their bedroom. This will help them look forward to bedtime and associate their sleep space with things they like to do.
- Make nighttime conditions in your baby’s bedroom consistent. If they wake up in the middle of the night, the sounds and lights in the room should be the same as when they fell asleep. If you need to feed or change your baby during the night, keep the lights low and the talking to a minimum. Too much stimulation can make it hard for them to settle again.
Emphasising The Difference Between Night And Day
Your newborn doesnt understand the difference between day and night. Its quite common for newborns to be wide awake during the night and then sleepy during the day.
In these first six months, here are some things you can do to help your baby get used to the idea that night is different from day, and that night is a good time to sleep:
- During the night, keep the room dark or dimly lit, and quiet.
- Use a dim light when you need to attend to your baby during the night. Try not to turn on a bright overhead light.
- At night, respond to your babys cries quickly, and settle or feed baby as soon as you can.
- Give night feeds in the bedroom. This will help to keep these feeds brief and make them different from daytime feeds.
- At night try to be soothing and quiet when youre with your baby. Try to keep play for daytime.
From three months on, try to make a quiet, dark place for your baby to nap during the day. Babies become more awake and alert as they get older, so they dont sleep as well in places that have a lot of light and noise, like the family room.
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Carefully Choose When To Start
It may be tempting to sleep train your baby right out the gate for a deep desire to gain back those precious zzzs. Equally, it can be easy to fall into a bad habit of rocking your infant to relax every night until theyre three years old.
Suddenly, youre stuck training your kid to go to bed at an age when they can verbally say, No, thanks.
You can start teaching your kiddo when they become mobile, can roll over on their own, are no longer being swaddled, and can snooze for at least one four to six hour stretch of time, generally around five months of age.
Tips On How To Sleep Train A Baby
As you may have noticed already, there is an array of techniques that can be employed when tackling bedtime with your little snoozer. If you take a more authoritarian approach you may want to let your kiddo cry it out, and if youre more of an attachment-style caregiver, you may prefer co-sleeping. Every family and every child is unique, and you have to do whats best for you.
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