Concerns About Baby Sleep
If youre concerned about your babys sleep, it can be a good idea to track your babys sleep for a week or so. This can help you get a clear picture of whats going on.
You can do this by drawing up a simple chart with columns for each day of the week. Divide the days into hourly blocks, and colour the intervals when your baby is asleep. Keep your chart for 5-7 days.
Once completed, the chart will tell you things like:
- when and how much sleep your baby is getting
- how many times your baby is waking during the night
- how long your baby is taking to settle after waking.
You can also record how you tried to resettle your baby and what worked or didnt work.
Then you can compare the information in your chart with the general information about baby sleep needs above:
- How does your child compare to other babies the same age? If your baby is wakeful and grizzly and getting much less sleep than others, your baby might need more opportunities for sleep.
- How many times is your baby over six months old waking up during the night? If its 3-4 times a night or more, you might be feeling very tired. You might want to think about phasing out some of your babys sleep habits.
If you decide you need to see a professional for help with your babys sleep, take your chart with you.
Is It Bad To Feed Baby Right Before Bed
Just before you go to bed, top your baby off with a late-night nibble, or a dream feed. Youll need to wake him enough so that hes not completely asleep, and you shouldnt feed him when hes lying down. Even if hes too drowsy to eat much, a few sips might be enough for an extra hour or two of sleep.
When Its Hard To Know What Your Newborn Needs
There are times when its hard to know what newborns need. For example, you might have tried feeding or putting your baby down for a sleep, but baby still seems unsettled.
If your baby is crying, first check whether baby is sick, hurt or uncomfortable. If not, and if baby has fed in the last two hours, cuddling and comfort are in order. For example, you could try holding your baby in your arms with their head near your chest.
Your newborn will feel safe and secure when you interact with them in warm, loving and responsive ways. You cant spoil your baby by picking them up, cuddling them or talking to them.
If your baby is crying a lot, its very important to look after yourself. Even just five minutes reading a book, walking around the block or doing some meditation can give you a break if youre feeling stressed, anxious or angry. Or sometimes it might help to have another person take over for a while. If you can, ask your partner or a friend or relative to help out.
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Does Earlier Bedtime For Baby Mean They Sleep Longer
Lets face it: on the really tough days when my baby was taking horrible naps, I seriously questioned whether 4PM was an acceptable bedtime. Im not ashamed to admit that sometimes I thought about it multiple times a week!
So whats the best time for bedtime? Should you be putting your baby down later to try and encourage longer mornings? Whats the best way to get this kid to sleep??
Youll be happy to know that babies who are put to bed earlier tend to sleep better. Quality sleep tends to happen before midnight for most babies so dont be afraid of an earlier bedtime. Find your childs sleep sweet spot, then stick to it for babies younger than 12 weeks, bedtime should be around 9PM to 10PM. Babies older than 12 weeks do best with bedtime around 7PM to 8PM.
Bonus Tip: How To Get More Sleep At Night
Another concern parents have is how to increase their hours of sleep at night in between feedings.
Heres my Weaning Night Feedings Guide. This guide walks you step-by-step through weaning off night feeds or reducing babys night feeds
These tips on moving babys bedtime earlier can be used for any age:
- Know your babys ideal bedtime.
- When moving your baby or toddlers bedtime, adjust it by 15-20 minutes every 2-3 days.
- Keep an eye on awake times during the day.
- Get outside during the day to blow off some steam
- Start a Peaceful Nightly Ritual every evening.
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Tip # : Begin A Peaceful Nightly Ritual
3 months is the perfect age to begin a bedtime routine, or as I like to call it a Peaceful Nightly Ritual.
The purpose of this calming ritual is to relax your baby so that she can welcome sleep easily. Doing the same calming activities, at the right time and in the right order helps your babys body learn to fall asleep easily at bedtime.
Plus, recent researchsuggests that children who start bedtime routines before 12 months tend to have better sleep outcomes as preschoolers: They fall asleep more quickly, and get more sleep overall.
You can get my step-by-step guide on creating your Peaceful Nightly Ritual in my Exhausted Moms Starter Kit.
Early Bedtime Is Better
As your baby gets older an early bedtime has multiple benefits.
- Nobody wants to come over and help you with your fussy baby at 1:00 AM, where plenty of people would love to tickle his cranky toes at 9:00 AM.
- It creates the opportunity for you to have a bit of free time yourself. In most homes, 7:00 PM 10:00 PM is known as happy hour. Not because everybody has a cocktail in hand but because this is the only time of the day that you arent running after a little person.
- Most playgroups/playdates are scheduled on the assumption of babys naps occurring at 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM which will never happen when your baby is sleeping till noon.
- Having a baby up in the dark and sleeping during the day disrupts some very important chemical processes that are triggered by light, which overtime, will work against you.
- And as your baby gets older youll find he wakes up earlier regardless of when he goes to bed, so maintaining a late bedtime simply results in less sleep overall.
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Average Baby And Toddler Bedtimes By Age
|Average awake time is about 12 hours, if toddler/preschooler is no longer napping||7-8:30 p.m.||Most children give up the afternoon nap at this stage. Substitute an afternoon rest time in for the nap time. Try to time bedtime so that you allow for roughly 12 hours of night sleep, for children who are no longer napping. Use the later bedtime for children who are still transitioning away from the afternoon nap.|
*Average Wake Time refers to the amount of time your baby or toddler is able to comfortably stay awake during the day, between naps.
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What Is Paced Feeding
Paced feeding means feeding your baby in a way that gives him more control. It respects your babys hunger and fullness cues, and mimics the flow of breastfeeding.
- Use a wide-based, slow-flow nipple.
- Keep the bottle horizontal, so the milk or formula flows as your baby sucks on the nipple. Experiment to see what works best for your baby, so that hes sucking and swallowing slowly and comfortably.
- Rather than push the nipple into your babys mouth, stroke his lips with the nipple until he opens wide.
- Pause frequently during feeding to keep your baby from guzzling.
- Switch sides now and then, as you would when breastfeeding.
- Let your baby stop eating when he shows signs of being full. Dont encourage him to finish a bottle after hes lost interest or fallen asleep.
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How Can I Create The Right Environment For My Baby To Go To Bed
There are lots of factors that will encourage your baby to go to sleep. These include:
- The right lighting
- Nightclothes that fit correctly
- The right amount of bedding, depending on the temperature
Its also important to keep your baby safe in her cot, Moses basket or bed.
Andrea says: When putting your baby to bed, it goes without saying that her safety is of paramount importance.
‘It is strongly advised that all parents follow the Safe to Sleep guidelines set out by baby sleep charity, The Lullaby Trust.
What time do you put your baby to bed? Join the chat in the thread, below …
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.
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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.
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Do Babies Sleep Longer On Formula
It is easier to digest, which may contribute to more frequent night wakings. On the other hand, formula is harder to digest and may help your baby sleep marginally longer. However, formula does not help your baby fall back asleep quickly as it does not contain sleep hormones.
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What If My Child Regularly Has Trouble Falling Asleep
Some children have trouble falling asleep on their own and can lay awake for long periods of time. This can be caused by too much screen time before bed, or caffeine from soda and energy drinks.
- If your child is watching TV or playing video games for long periods of time, try limiting screen time or cutting it out of the bedtime routine.
- Dont allow your child to drink or eat anything with caffeine.
- Try doing relaxing activities before bed such as reading, listening to calming music, or laying in bed with your child talking quietly about their day.
If these reasons arent the cause, talk to your doctor about other ways to help your child learn to fall asleep on their own.
What Are Some Common Sleep Problems
- Sleep deprivation: Some children dont get enough sleep. If your child is fussy, cranky or has difficulty staying asleep at night it might be because they arent getting enough naptime or aren’t getting to bed early enough.
- : Your child may have difficulty relaxing and going to sleep if they feel upset that you are not there. Try an extra long cuddle before bedtime, a security object such as a blanket or stuffed animal, or leaving their door open when you put them to bed.
- Nightmares: Most children will experience nightmares at one time or another. Nightmares can happen after a stressful physical or emotional event or can be caused by fever. Your child may call out to you for comfort. Talk calmly, cuddle and reassure your child.
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What Is The Best Sleep Schedule For A 3
There is no single, specific sleep schedule 3-month-old babies should follow. Instead, like newborns, most 3-month-old infants should sleep multiple times day and night, for a total sleep time of between 16 and 17 hours per 24-hour period. There are some differences between the sleeping patterns of a 3-month-old and a newborn, however.
Three-month-olds are also more likely to wake up fewer times during the night than their younger counterparts. On average, three-month-olds wake up 2.78 times per night, which is less than one-month-olds, who wake up an average of 4.12 times per night.
Ready For Sleep Coaching
You may find that even though you now know your childs ideal bedtime, he does not cooperate and go to sleep well on his own, even after a soothing bedtime routine. If your child struggles with going to sleep and staying asleep on his own, you may need to create a plan and start gentle sleep coaching.
Establishing your childs ideal bedtime gets you one step closer to a soothing, predictable bedtime routine for your child and helping him get the sleep he needs.
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