Knowing When To Get Help
Some babies wont need any help with their sleep, but if youre at a point where you feel overwhelmed, anxious, helpless or just a bit lost with sleep training your baby now could be the time to get some help.
If youre also feeling like youve tried every suggestion in the book and its still not working now could be the time to get some help.
Seeking help doesnt mean youve failed as a parent. On the contrary, it means youve identified a need for your baby and youre addressing that need proactively.
Baby Sleep Training: The Basics
Baby sleep training is an umbrella term for a number of methods that help babies stabilize their naturally chaotic sleep patterns and in turn help parents get more sleep. Parents can choose from a variety of sleep training methods, most of which were developed by pediatricians or infant sleep experts. Each of these methods requires a different kind, and amount, of parent participation and each elicits a different response from the baby. With some sleep training methods, baby crying is expected. For others, its discouraged.
But despite the diversity of baby sleep training methods, the goal for each is the same: a baby that can sleep several hours at a stretch without parental intervention. When a baby is able to sleep more soundly and can fall back asleep on their own, it not only improves the mood and disposition of the child but also improves quality of life for sleep-deprived parents.
No matter what sleep training technique parents choose, successful sleep training requires parents to be patient, resilient, and consistent. The process is also helped by parents creating a nighttime ritual and an environment that is built to promote healthy sleep.
Why Should Babies Sleep On Their Backs
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of when your baby can start catching ZZZs on their tummy, lets first talk a little bit about why its so critical that they sleep on their back.
Sleeping face up, on the other hand, is thought to allow your little buddys respiratory system to strengthen and develop naturally, helping them to breathe in more oxygen as they snooze and therefore reducing the risk of potential harm.
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Q: Does The Ferber Method Work For Toddlers
Yes, the Ferber Method isnt only for babies. For toddlers and preschoolers sleeping in their own bed, Dr. Ferber recommends using a gate in the doorway. This essentially turns the bedroom into one big crib. Be sure to childproof the room, including anchoring furniture to the walls, covering electrical outlets, and securing any window treatment cords out of reach.
When Do Premature Babies Sleep Through The Night
In their first several months, preemies tend to wake up more often in the night than full-term babies because their nervous systems are still maturing. Keep in mind that your preemieâs adjusted age, rather than her chronological age, may be the better indicator of the likely timing of sleeping milestones as she grows.
Sleeping through the night is a milestone that your child will eventually reach. It takes time and patience on your part, along with maintaining the kind of environment that encourages your little one to sleep for longer blocks of time at night.
Even though you may be feeling sleep deprived at the moment, this period of sleepless nights will eventually pass. Hang in there!
During this time, you might not be getting enough shut-eye, but you could be getting plenty of rewards points for all the late-night diaper changes youâre doing. With the Pampers Club app, simply scan all your Pampers purchases to receive points that you can then use to get yourself gifts or coupons.
How we wrote this articleThe information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.
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Rolling Onto Tummy In The Middle Of The Night
The last sign that your baby is ready to sleep on their stomach is when theyre already rolling onto their tummy while theyre sleeping! It means your little one has mastered the skill to sleep in this position.
Again, always place your baby on their back to sleep at least until their first birthday, but if your baby is already rolling to their stomach, theres no need to turn them onto their back.
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Sleep Tips For Newborns To 2
Activate Babys calming reflex:White noise, swaddling, and motion work wonders starting from the first day of life to help babies sleep better, naturally. Thats because these sleepytime helpers are all integral parts of the 5 Ss for soothing babies and helping them sleep. White noise , swaddling, and motion all mimic the soothing sensations babies experience in the womb and trigger whats known at the calming reflex, or natures off switch for crying and on switch for sleep.
Consider SNOO: SNOOthe smart bassinet developed here at Happiest Babywas designed to provide those three important Ss. SNOO provides responsive white noise and motionand swaddlingall in one bed, helping babies fall asleep faster and sleep longer. Dont worry, SNOO does not keep babies asleep who need to eat! Babies will always wake up and let you know when they are hungry.
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Myth: Your Baby Should Sleep In A Light Room During The Day So They Know It Isnt Night Time
FACT: Daytime and nighttime means very little to your baby, so being in a light or a dark room wont change that. The fact is that babies find the dark extremely comforting and it will be a lot easier for your baby to settle and sleep in a dark room. Especially if your baby is over 2 months old as the dark promotes the release of melatonin, which is a hormone crucial to your baby settling and sleeping well. The best way to actually help your baby understand the day/night difference is by regulating their circadian rhythm this is done by, for example, always waking them at the same time each morning and heading towards a consistent bedtime at night.
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Is Sleep Training Safe
There has been ample long-term research studying sleep training, and there is no evidence that sleep training is physically or psychologically damaging to babies and children. In fact, its been known to improve parental mood, improves an infants sleep quality and increases the secure attachment between babies and their caregivers. As long as your baby is old enough and is in a safe environment, sleep training is perfectly safe and healthy.
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When Should I Start Sleep Training
So, is your baby sleeping through the night yet? a mom youre talking to asks. You blush, unsure how to answer. Your baby wakes every couple of hours, and sleeps only when you are holding her. Shes a great sleeper, you reply, feeling your mothering skill being judged.
As a culture, we tend to equate infant sleep with parenting prowess. Books and products are targeted at new parents to get your babies to sleep longer, sooner, alone, in a crib, etc. Youve probably heard the terms controlled crying, cry it out, extinction and Ferberize or cosleeping and the family bed. You may have seen special sleep sacks or heartbeat bears to keep a baby comfortable, physically and emotionally. So much stuff out there, but so few clues as to whats normal for a baby.
Many new parents think their babies have sleep problems and theres a huge market for sleep training books, classes and consultations. Can sleep training help? Are there any drawbacks? Does it make a difference if youre breastfeeding or bottle feeding?
On a positive note, though, this frequent waking may be protective against SIDS and can certainly facilitate infant growth by signaling feeding more often.
Picking The Right Sleep Training Method
One of the most important aspects of infant sleep training is finding the method that works best for you. Ultimately, YOU are the only one that knows what your tolerance for crying is. If a method doesnt feel right or sounds too intense for you, then dont try it. Start with a gentle plan that youre comfortable with.
Keep in mind, you and your partner might have different comfort levels and tolerances. Make sure to discuss the approach you want to take and incorporate sleep training into a consistent bedtime routine you set up together. Its best to start small and, if needed, move to a less gentle method so you can learn what youre comfortable with and what just isnt going to work for you and your family.
Ultimately, the best method for you and your family is going to be the one that you can alter to meet your needs and comfort levels. Melissa points out that although she chose a particular sleep training program, she made it work for her.
There are many different sleep training methods to choose from, but the most common sleep training techniques are one of or a variation of one the five we’ve explained below. You might find that one of these methods sounds like it would be a perfect match for you, OR you might find aspects from each plan that you like. Just like Melissa said, don’t feel like you need to stick to a certain method 100%. Make the plan work for you!
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Newborns Are Restless Sleepers
While older children can snooze peacefully for hours, young babies squirm around and actually wake up a lot. Thats because around half of their sleep time is spent in REM mode that light, active sleep during which babies move, dream and maybe wake with a whimper.
Dont worry. As he matures, his sleeping patterns will too, with fewer REM cycles and more periods of deeper, quieter sleep.
For a complete list of the studies and publications cited in this article,
new image added 3/2022
image of father holding sleepy infant by monkeybusinessimages / istock
Small portions of the text appeared in an older article, Baby sleep patterns: A guide for the science minded, last published in 2014.
Why Do Babies Need So Much Sleep
Babies are constantly growing and developing,and they do that growing and developing largely while theyre asleep. Sleeptherefore is the cornerstone of your babys healthy development now andlater, too: babies who dont sleep enough can develop mood disorders andobesity.
Plus, establishing healthy sleep habits helpsparents, too: sleep training your baby will help you get more sleep, which inturn makes you a happier, more attentive parent and keeps you more alert in otherplaces, too, like the workplace and while driving. So, yes, sleep training isabout your baby and your babys health, but you matter here, too.
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Newborn Sleep Surface Dos:
Babies should always sleep on a firm, flat sleeping surface that is completely clear of objects. This can include a safety-approved crib, a portable crib, a play yard, or a bassinet. While it may not be as cute to look at, boring is better!
Room-sharing without bed-sharing is generally recommended as the safest way to sleep. Keep your babys crib in your room until he is at least 6 months old and has learned to roll from side to side on his own .
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When Can I Start Sleep Training With My Baby
When it comes to sleep training, I recommend waiting until your baby is between four to five months old before you start officially sleep training/teaching. Prior to four to five months of age, your baby may not developmentally be ready to start learning to self-soothe, and many parents find that when they start the process too soon, it causes a lot of stress for both the baby and the parents. Around 4 months or so, your baby’s circadian rhythm has kicked in, melatonin production has started, and your baby’s sleep naturally becomes more organized, which helps promote your baby’s internal sleep clock and will make the sleep training process much more realistic and effective.
Of course, there isn’t one magic age at which your baby will be ready for sleep training. Some parents have success at six months or even nine months.
But there are two other ways you can determine that your child is ready for some level of sleep training.
2. You have laid a healthy foundation of sleep with your baby. Many exhausted parents are eager to jump right into sleep training once their child reaches a certain ageand I get it! However, sleep training requires some prep work to ensure your child is ready to learn independent skills. Without first establishing healthy habits with your baby, sleep training is typically ineffective or may not withstand future regressions and/or developmental leaps.
The four areas you want to focus on when laying healthy foundations with your baby are:
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Get Quality Baby Gear
Be sure to use good quality baby items so your baby can be comfortable when they sleep. Get the best baby crib that you can find thats sturdy, safe, and with good material.
You can use organic crib mattresses so you know your little one sleeps on safely, without the dangers of toxic materials. Get the best crib sheets available.
Also, you might want to install a smart baby monitor, as this can help you track your little childs sleep patterns, even if you need to step away and go to another area in your house.
What To Do: The Feed Play Sleep Routine
What are the three main things babies need? Well according to experts, its food, play, and sleep in that order.
The logic behind the order of this routine is that babies generally have a spike in alertness and energy after eating, become sleepy after a stretch of play, and are hungry after getting some sleep.
To make sure baby becomes energized instead of sleepy when they eat, offer the breast or bottle in a well-lit room where they wont receive sleepy-time signals. When its time to transition from play to sleep, keep it short and sweet by reading a book or singing a lulling song. When baby wakes up, feed them as quickly as possible so they associate feedings with recharging their energy, instead of drifting into dreams.
Determine the proper timing of this routine by keeping track of when your baby typically seems hungry, alert, and sleepy and base your routine off that timing. Because sleep deprivation can make the memory murky, you can set a timer to remind you when its time to start transitioning from one activity to another as youre getting used to the routine it will eventually become second nature.
Like most things in life, you may have to go through some trial and error before settling on timing that best suits you and baby.
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Which Sleep Training Method Works Best
Lets be honest, there is no magical baby sleep training method that will solve all of your sleeping woes instantly.
No matter how many times your mom, best friend, or distant relative say there is, there isnt!
Not everything works for every child, so its important you decide which technique youre most comfortable with, and try it out for as long as you can.
If, after that, youre still struggling, reach out to the community on Peanut for help, or check in with an infant sleep specialist for more guidance.
Ultimately, trust your gut as you know your little one best.
Youve got this.
When To See A Doctor
If an infant is not regularly sleeping through the night by the time they are 6 months old, it may be best to seek a doctors advice. Although it is unlikely that anything is wrong, the doctor will check the infants health and be able to offer support.
Lack of sleep can be very challenging for parents and caregivers. Try to set good habits early, but be flexible and make changes to routines if needed. Try to rest or nap during the day if possible.
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Do You Need To Sleep Train Your Baby
You might start wondering if you have a sleep issue to fix. But remember, babies are not supposed to sleep for very long periods of time. In fact, frequent waking may even help protect your baby against SIDS , which peaks before the age of six months .
We know there are many reasons why babies need to sleep little and often.
If you do want to try sleep training, its important to be realistic about how often and why your baby wakes frequently. You could also consider if there are other reasons for frequent night waking, such as reflux or colic.
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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