Being a parent of a newborn, one of your most common worries revolve around your baby’s sleep patterns.
You are always concerned about few things related to baby sleep, such as
- What are the ideal number of hours your baby should sleep for?
- Why doesn’t the baby sleep properly?
- What are some ways to get a sound and healthy sleep for the baby?
In this article today we’ll be discussing these few common points of concern of every other parent like you.
How Much Sleep Does Your Baby Require?
The table below refers to the amount of sleep your baby needs –
|Stages||Age||Baby Sleep Hours|
|Newborns||0-2 Months||16-18 hrs/day|
|Babies||2-6 Months||14-16 hrs/day|
|Older babies||6-12 Months||14 hrs/day|
|Toddlers||1-3 Years||10-13 hrs/day|
|Preschoolers||3-5 Years||10-12 hrs/day|
|School-aged children||5-10 Years||10-12 hrs/day|
Let’s discuss and try to solve the baby sleeping mistakes you might be making
1. Generating sleep crutches to get your baby back to sleep.
This generally includes singing, nursing, walking, swinging, rocking and rubbing the back to put her back to sleep.
By doing this, over time you are basically training your baby,”That ok little one, every night, I’ll sing, swaddle, and nurse you in my arms and then you’ll go to sleep.”
As your baby grows up, she will get habituated to this and won’t be able to go back to sleep by herself.
You obviously don’t want to do all this, every time the baby wakes up at night. The trick here is to put your baby to bed when she’s drowsy but awake.
This helps her to self-soothe each time she wakes up and goes back to sleep.
2. Feeding your baby too close to her sleeping hours.
It is true that your baby comes to her drowsy state when fed during bed-time.
However, laying your baby down right after feeding her, doesn’t leave enough time for the food to get digested.
Many pediatricians would recommend you to feed your baby at least 30 minutes before her bedtime. Make her burp before putting her to bed, so as to allow the food to settle down and avoid situations like vomiting in the night which could lead to waking her up.
3. Making your baby sleep too much during the daytime.
Babies need more sleep time than adults. As per a study conducted by Michelle Lampl, Professor of Anthropology at Emory University, they found that babies generally grow more during their sleeping hours.
Various trains of thought exist when it comes to a baby’s sleep schedule. Some believe that if their baby plays a lot during the day, she would get tired and would get a sound sleep at night. While few others believe that making your baby oversleep during the day would compensate for the disturbed sleep at night in toddlers.
Well, these beliefs are wrong.
Compensating night’s sleep during the day doesn’t work usually. Various hormones promote sleep during the night hours. Body’s need of rest to recuperate from day’s activities can be gratified better at night.
4. Rushing too quickly for a diaper change
Do you rush to your baby when she starts crying after a peep and pick her up in the middle of the night? Here you actually got the baby from a drowsy state to a fully awake state!
And there she is all enthusiast and refuses to go back to sleep.
This is the reason why many pediatricians recommend a time frame for which you should wait before picking up your baby in the middle of the night after hearing the cry.
It is also known as the Ferber Method, a technique formulated by Dr. Richard Ferber. It states that you should train your child to self-soothe. When the kiddo starts crying in the middle of the night, you wait for a while before you rush to her. Slowly, increase the time before which you attend to her. Gradually she will learn to calm herself down when she wakes up at night.
Watch this video on 5 tips to make her sleep all night.
Now, let us peek in some ways to ensure that she get a sound and healthy sleep.
1) Follow an optimal Bedtime Routine
Babies can be molded to learn a habit in their initial days and they eventually get accustomed to it. The step you need to take is to set an ideal bedtime for your baby.
Once it’s around her bedtime, take your baby to her bed and help her feel cozy and comfortable to sleep by switching off the lights in the room. By this, your baby would ultimately develop a habit of feeling drowsy during those hours and would sleep much more easily.
2) Proportionate Meals during Bedtime
Feed your baby in a proper proportion during her bedtime so that she neither starts to feel hungry during the night nor feels too stuffed.
Try to maintain this so that she feels relaxed and comfortable to have a sound sleep.
3) Introduce Sleep Inducing foods
Protein rich foods break down into amino acids like tryptophan. This amino acid helps to form hormones like melatonin, favoring sleep ultimately.
Here you go with the foods that boost tryptophan content which will help your baby sleep through the night:
- Whole Grain Crackers and Cheese
- Oatmeal with Milk
- Plain Yogurt with Banana
- Lukewarm Milk
- Honey (after 1 year of age)
4) Produce a Sense of Security
Babies get accustomed to the touch of their mothers and the level of comfort and security which is provided by the feeling of knowing that they are not alone.
But now, it’s time that she learns to sleep without you. At first, the baby might feel scared of being alone in her bed, which could keep her awake at night.
To resolve this, you can give her a cartoon blanket, pillow or soft toy, which she can take with her to bed which would give her a sense of security and makes it easier for her to fall asleep. (Effective for toddlers.)
5) Ambience Helps
Switch off the lights, put some flowers to make the ideal sleep environment for your baby. Also, clear her bed so that no kind of obstacle or her toy strikes her body in midnight affecting her sleep. Lay her down in bed and sing a lullaby or tell her a bedtime story.Eventually, your baby will learn and interpret that whenever these things happen, it’s close to her sleep time.
* Do remember that lullabies are just an initial thing to let her know it’s time to sleep. Do not repeat it when they wake up during night. Let her practice self-soothing when her sleep gets disturbed.
6) Bedtime Bath
A soft, gentle massage followed by a bath with lukewarm water can help soothe your baby in a great way. Let go the toys and cut down the activities and sounds as much as possible so as to make the bathing time a soothing experience for your kiddo.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started with these and help your little bundle of joy sleep comfortably through the night!
Good luck with adopting these healthy sleep practices for your baby 🙂