A good sleep is what every mother dream of, but with babies around, sleep becomes a luxury. Well, it was just great after delivery at the hospital, with nurses helping you out with everything. All you needed to do was feed the baby, and rest. Once home, your life changes and you have the whole responsibility of a new life and the same old chores. So, don’t feel miserable, go through our 8 best baby sleeping tips for parents.
Importance of Sleep Time For Babies
Babies enjoy exploring their surroundings, use hands to hold and love to play. We all know that poor sleep could hamper their health. Proper sleep will enhance their learning skills and sharpens memory. Parents also dedicatedly play with them so a proper sleep routine and play time is beneficial for their overall development.
How much sleep does my baby need?
Your body takes time to adjust to the new routine and obviously you will feel exhausted. It gets tough initially as you may feel the moment you doze off the baby wakes up. So you too can take a nap any time your baby naps especially in the first couple of weeks.
Newborn babies would be sleeping barely 2 hours at a time and you would find yourself in a vicious cycle of nursing, napping, and changing diapers. It would not be a great idea to force the baby to stay awake for a longer time thinking they would sleep longer. It is just that they have small tummies, which need refilling every now and then and would snooze after a good feed.
Sleep in Different Ages
- Month one and two– As soon as the baby turns a month old, you will notice a change in their sleep habits. You will be relieved to find them sleeping for longer stretches, may be three hours at a time. Do not be surprised to see them play and stay awake a bit longer after nursing.You will soon pick up the cues that it is nap time. You will find your newborn sleeping for 15 hours in a day.
- Three months– You have been waiting for this time. As the baby is 3 to 6 months old, you will see them sleep through the night. Now with your baby’s stomach size will be growing bigger, they can hold more milk and would not require as many feeds. During this time, you will notice your baby’s naptime decreases but they still sleep for 15 hours.
- Six months-Babies at this age seem to sleep just 14 hours with longer wake times and just 4 hours nap times and still wake up at night.
- Nine months-Your baby gets more sleep at night by nine months and would only be napping just once in the afternoon. By chance, if your baby happens to sleep early then they get cranky and bedtime can be a real nightmare. Better look for signs that they need a nap, than delaying and make things worse for you. Establishing a routine would be helpful for you and the baby. But it will not be in the same pattern always, so you will have to adjust as the sleep needs change. Now they would be sleeping for 14 hours and nap less.
- Twelve months-Now is the time the baby explores their world and plays a whole lot. Some kids refuse to nap too, but an overtired baby could make things horrible for you. Encourage an afternoon naptime and you can also get your energy level up. You could expect them to sleep for 13 hours now.
Why Babies Don’t Sleep?
There are many reasons why a baby wakes up through the night and turns our life upside down. Some of the reasons could be that the baby needs a feed, needs comforting during the night, baby colics, irritations due to conditions like diaper rash, blocked nose, cold etc, or they just a need for consistent bedtime routine.Watch for teething as this could also spoil the baby’s sleep patterns.
Parents could also cause sleep problems when they create excitement after the baby has got up at night. If you want baby to go back to sleep then better not engage in any kind of talks or play. Make it as dull and quiet as possible and do avoid lights.
Best Baby Sleeping Tips for Parents
Well, here are some of the Best Baby Sleeping Tips for Parents, which could help solve the problems you are facing. Make sure you stick on with the schedule even on weekends to make it a success.
- Difference in Daytime and Nighttime: Babies generally do not know the difference between day and nights. They are born with circadian rhythms, which are basically internal clocks that cycles once every 24 hours. These are not synchronized with external 24-hour daylight and night. We need to help them develop their own internal body clock by making daytime feeds a lively affair. Try to use lights and curtains to your advantage, like when it is day, make the room as dark as possible. Keeping nighttime feeds quiet and calm, which would help them, doze off quickly and use dim lights.
- Regular bedtime routine: Researches show that mothers who follow a strict routine and who encourages the babies to a regular bedtime routine will find baby’s sleeping patterns easier, better, and with less disturbances in the night. Start routine with a warm bath, massage, and activities like lullabies or stories and follow it the exact way as much as possible every day. The key is to help them relax and make it as quite as possible. Overtime, babies understand these cues are associated with sleep time.
- Dream feeding: A dream feed is feeding your baby right before you go to bed. Feeding would keep his tummy full and helps him sleep longer. Dream feeding also prevents him from waking up in the middle of the night. But make sure you give proper attention for the sucking patterns to avoid milk getting into her wind pipe as she falls asleep while sucking.
- Let Them Settle On Their Own: Babies often depend on their mothers to put them back to sleep in the middle of the night. It would make things easier for you if you allow them to settle on their own, probably after three months. Avoid talking to her, singing lullabies, playing with him, keeping lights on etc when he wakes up in the middle of the night. Gently pat until she dozes off. Give enough time for your baby to settle down before you go back in. Avoid rocking or feeding your baby as she will start depending on it.
- Napping Late During The Day: You dread when the baby sleeps for a longer stretch as it screws your sleep at night. You can slowly make him wake up if he’s sleeping for longer stretches. Taking shorter naps in daytime will help your baby sleep better at night. But while waking him up, make sure you’re not irritating him, as most babies will get cranky if disturbed in the middle of their sleep. There could be times, when your baby is overtired and needs a recovery nap though.
- Baby Massage: A good baby massage oil will not only help relax but also improve their sleep habits. It can help babies who have colic too. A massage could create a special bond between mother and baby. You will see your baby looking forward to this play time.
- Swaddling Helps: We all know that from beginning to five months babies get startled easily. This sensation of falling usually causes jerk like movements waking the baby up. So a tight swaddle helps babies to sleep cozily for longer time and would not startle them. You can stop swaddling once the babies starts rolling over get their arms out.
- Changing Diaper At The Right Time: A wet diaper make the baby feel cold and she wakes up. If you need to change the baby diaper, do it while the night feeding as it prevents the baby to wake up again. Ideally change the diaper, feed, swaddle up and then prepare him for sleep. Changing the diaper after the feed would wake him then it would be a challenge to put him back to sleep.
Sleep Problems You Encounter And How to Tackle Them
- Waking up to Feed Throughout The Night: Eating throughout the night is just fine for a newborn. Once they cross 2-3 months then shift majority of the feedings during the day and make sure you feed less often in the night. Focus on shortening naps and offer more daytime feeds.
- Baby Need To Be Held to Sleep: Babies feel secure when close to their mother and hence love to be held by you. You need to give him this comfortable feeling and at the same time slowly break away from this parent sleep association. Totally avoid the habit of making him sleep in your arms or lap. You can lie on his side, close to him, or wrap him with one arm, giving him the warmth and slowly change the habit to gentle pats. Slowly help him to get him to sleep on his own. The early you do it, the better. Once babies get used to the habit of sleeping close to parents, it is very difficult to change it.
- Baby Falls Asleep When Feeding: While this is a common problem, your little one is associating feeding with falling asleep. This may lead to some dangers like getting milk into windpipe. Mothers have to keep watching the sucking pattern. The only way you can wean the baby off this association is to distance the feeding from sleep time. So make feeding time a bit earlier from the bedtime routine.
- Baby Wakes Up Too Early: This could be rather frustrating problem for the exhausted you. If the baby is overtired during the day, she will nap too much in the day. An overtired baby could also sleep early in the night. This will make him sleep less in the late hours of the night or wake up early.
- Intervention on time: Sleeping babies make all kind of noises and may even cry out; all this is perfectly natural. Studies suggest that babies quickly settle themselves after waking up in the middle of the night. It could also hinder them from settling themselves. It is ideal to wait a bit and don’t intervene too soon, as it could backfire and you would be awakening a sleeping baby.
What do Babies Dream About?
A sleeping baby looks more peaceful and angelic, but what happens when they are sleeping, we always wonder. We do see babies making noises, smiling or make faces in their sleep and we assume they are dreaming. Dreaming plays a huge role in your baby’s brain development.
Our babies also go through different cycles of sleep. A sleeping baby seems to be in REM phase and is dreaming most of the time. The dreams they have is not exactly the dreams we have or good or bad things as we imagine. It is a mix of impressions they see and experience around, which their brain reflects and recreates.
Did you know that newborns spend half the time in this phase? While in REM sleep, eyelids go back and forth, they stretching, wiggle arms, etc. You may have seen babies wave their arms and legs and wake themselves in their sleep and go back to sleep again. Sometimes this wakes them over and over again which makes falling asleep difficult for them.Wrap her in a swaddle or tuck her arms in the blanket is a great way for a longer sleep. Holding your baby closely and securely could also help.
What tips work for some might not work for others. Just remember every child is different and so are experiences. Things would get easier once you follow good sleeping habits.