Q: How Dark Should My Babys Room Be At Night
A: Babies tend to find ways to entertain themselves, which means parents need to make sure their sleep environment is dark with no distractions that may impact them falling asleep. The older your little one gets, the more sociable and curious they become. With this in mind, its recommended to keep the room dark to help your baby to fall asleep without the distraction of toys, for example, in their sleep environment and also support Melatonin, the sleepy hormone, to do its work.
Blackout curtains or blinds will help block out any light sources
How Much Will My Baby Sleep In The First Year
Over the first year of life, your baby will sleep and nap a lot from 12 up to 18 hours a day. The amount of sleep an infant gets at any one stretch of time is mostly ruled by hunger. Newborns will wake up and want to be fed about every three to four hours at first. Do not let your newborn sleep longer than five hours at a time in the first five to six weeks. Thereafter, you can keep the following general milestones in mind:
- By six months, many babies can go for five to six hours or more without the need to feed and will begin to “sleep through the night.”
- Daytime naps reduce in number as the baby grows. A 2-month-old may nap up to four times a day, whereas an older infant may nap only one to two times a day.
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.
You May Like: How Much Should A Newborn Drink Of Formula
How Can I Get My Baby Used To Night And Day
It’s a good idea to teach your baby that night-time is different from 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
Your baby will gradually learn that night-time is for sleeping.
Not Recommended For Sleep
Using baby slings and carriers is popular, and babies often fall asleep while being carried in them. If you use one, be sure to use it safely. Babies, especially who are less than 4 months old, or who were born prematurely or with a medical condition, have poor neck control and are at a higher risk of suffocation.
Keep your baby visible at all times. Make sure your baby is in an upright position. You should be able to see your babys face make sure it is not pressed into your body, your clothes or the carrier. Check your baby often and watch for overheating. For more information, visit Canada.ca .
Overheating increases your babys risk of SIDS
Swaddling is sometimes used to calm babies, but can also be a risk. Babies can get tangled or covered in the blanket if it comes loose, or can roll onto their tummy while still swaddled. These are risks for suffocation. If you swaddle your baby, be sure to do it safely:
- Use a lightweight blanket. Make sure it stays well away from the babys nose and mouth.
- Wrap your baby so they can still move their hips and legs.
- Leave your babys hands free so they can show you when they are hungry.
- It is very important to stop swaddling before your baby can roll. Swaddling is not safe for babies when they are on their tummies.
Don’t Miss: What Helps A Gassy Newborn
The Problems With Room Sharing
Anyone whos shared a room with their infant knows that infants make a lot of noise when they sleep. They snort, cough, cry out, and move.
Now imagine you have just been told by the AAP that it is merely your presence in the room that reduces your childs risk of dying. You literally have been told that you actively need to keep your child alive all night.
How do you think you are going to sleep at night?
We know that parents who room share sleep less, have more interrupted sleep, and may have less closeness with their partners. Lets be frank here having a newborn baby in the room is not going to put you in the mood.
Room sharing is also potentially dangerous as tired parents dont always make good decisions about, say, falling asleep next to their child which increases the risk of suffocation . Tired parents also may be prone to health issues, and are more likely to get into car accidents. Maternal sleep deprivation is associated with a higher risk of post-partum depression, which is not good for children either.
You Will Get More Sleep
If baby sleeps in a different room , you wont get woken up by every little grunt. Baby wont develop the habit of needing to nurse back to sleep every time he wakes, and you will be able to ACTUALLY GET SLEEP between each night time feeding.
Real sleep. REM sleep. Where your body restores itself!
In fact, baby will likely stretch to 3-4 and 4-6 hours intervals by about 6 weeks old, and youll be able to wake up, go into the babys room , feed the baby for 30 minutes, lay him back down, and go back to sleepe in your own bed for the next several hours.
Friends, you can get good sleep with baby in your house. I promise! You just have to put some work into good sleep habit training the first few months and it will get better!!
Don’t Miss: Which Body Wash Is Best For Newborn
Room Sharing: Why Your Baby Should Sleep In Your Room With You
Room sharing. Why does Red Nose advise parents to share the same room as their baby for the first 6-12 months?
Because, as Red Noses Chief Midwife Jane Wiggill explains, research has shown that room sharing, not bed sharing, reduces the risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy by up to 50 per cent.
Room sharing reduces the risk of SIDS, therefore Red Nose recommends sleeping with your baby in a safe cot next to your bed. Jane says.
Sharing your room with your baby means you are more likely to become in tune with your babys sleep patterns more intimately and can easily check on them, provide comfort and intervene quickly if there is a problem during the night, Jane says.
It also supports breastfeeding, as breastfeeding mothers tend to be highly responsive as a result of maintaining a lighter phase of sleep themselves.
When Should I Seek A Doctor’s Help
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your baby seems to be extremely fussy/irritable or cannot be soothed he/she may have a medical problem such as colic or reflux .
- Your baby appears to have a breathing problem.
- Your baby has a difficult time being awakened from sleep.
- Your baby is uninterested in feeding or persistently shies away from activity.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/17/2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- National Sleep Foundation. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Sleep. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. November 2016, 138. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Safe Sleep. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sleep Education. Healthy Sleep Habits. Accessed 3/23/2020.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy
Don’t Miss: What Do You Do When Your Newborn Is Constipated
Building A Stronger Bond
The bond between parents and baby is often more difficult to form when how long a baby sleeps in your room is a short period of time. When a baby is allowed to sleep in the bedroom of his or her parents they have the chance to form a close bond with you as they will become comfortable in your presence very quickly. The bond between parent and child is one which should be formed quickly to provide a sense of comfort for the child who will quickly feel safe when sleeping in your room.
When Can You Let Your Baby Sleep Alone
Leave baby alone in the crib or bassinet. Baby should sleep alone on her back without bumpers, stuffed animals, blankets or pillows. Its okay to start using a pillow and blanket when your child is a toddler and old enough to move out of a crib and into a toddler bed ideally between 2 and 3 years old.
Recommended Reading: What Shot Do You Need To Be Around A Newborn
Dont Buy Those Cute Crib Bumper Sets You See On Blogs And In Catalogs
This ones pretty easy to follow: dont use crib bumpers. They are a SIDS risk, the sale of them is even banned in some US states, and doctors have been lobbying against crib bumpers for years. Yes, some babies flail around a lot in their sleep, especially when theyre on the verge of learning to roll, crawl, or walk. But they probably wont seriously injure themselves by bumping their heads on a crib rail. While those breathable mesh bumpers do a good job of keeping soothers from poking out of the crib slats, they are not recommended due to the risk of entanglement and strangulation. And while were at it, you shouldnt use a DockATot or infant lounger for unsupervised sleep inside the crib, either. Theyre technically no longer available in Canada, but similar products are still on the market.
Mittens To Prevent Scratching
One thing that continues to surprise me is how fast baby fingernails grow. It probably has something to do with their diet of 100% milk plus vitamins. Clipping your babys fingernails is an exercise in courage and takes nerves of steel. When your little one gets a little older and can grab at things, youll know their nails are long because theyll scratch you.
In the meantime, if you start finding scratches on your babys face or head, it was probably self-inflicted while he or she was sleeping. Until you have the time and bravery to trim them, a set of soft little sleep mittens will prevent any more scratches. These are inexpensive and often come in packs of four, which is good because theyre easily lost .
You May Like: What To Buy For Newborn
You Can Get Babys Tummy Full During Middle Of The Night Feedings
Getting baby full at each feeding during the day is a huge part of our sleep training method.
But, nursing a newborn for 10 minutes in the middle of the night will not fill baby up! They will want to eat on and off all night long.
Eventually, babies become very fast at nursing, but at first they are VERY SLOW. And very sleepy. So, when they fall back asleep after 10 minutes of nursing, you want to wake them back up so that theyll eat a full meal.
When their midnight feeding actually fills them up all the way, they can go another 3+ hours until eating again.
Some of the other reasons listed above affected nursing as well. But this is the biggest one! If you want baby to sleep longer stretches at night ASAP, wake yourself up as fully as possible, go into their room, and try to nurse them until theyre full.
Infants Parents Should Share Room: New Guidelines For Infant Sleep Safety
The new guidelines emphasize the importance of placing infants on their back for EVERY sleep, naptime or nighttime, at home, at grandma’s, at daycare and placing babies in a crib or bassinet with a firm mattress, without pillows, soft/loose blankets, bumper pads, or other soft objects, in mother’s/parent’s room close to her bed, Hauck added by email. All of these steps will allow for open flow of air to the baby.
Roughly one in five sleep-related infant deaths occur outside the home, according to a separate study published in Pediatrics.
“Their infant should always be placed to sleep A Alone, with no bed sharing or objects in the sleep area, B on their back, and C in a crib or bassinet only.
Researchers examined data on almost 12,000 infant sleep-related deaths from 2004 to 2014.
Compared to babies who died at home, infants who died outside the home were more likely to be found sleeping on their stomachs or in a stroller or car seat instead of a crib or bassinet, the study found. They were also less likely to be with their parents.
Parents often assume that when other people take care of their infant, they also know about infant sleep safety. That is definitely not true, said senior study author Dr. Jeffrey Colvin, a pediatrics researcher at Childrens Mercy Kansas City.
Don’t Miss: What To Get Newborn Parents
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.