Were you curious as to whether or not your child would turn out to be a “good sleeper” after they began sleeping through the night? Your baby’s age and ability to self-soothe play a large role in how he or she responds to stress.
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Make sure your baby sleeps through the night, develops good sleep patterns, and avoids problems as he or she grows older.
Signs of sleep readiness
There is nothing more easy than being aware of when your baby is ready to sleep, giving him the skills he needs to do so on his own, and calming him back to sleep. You’ll know your baby is ready to sleep if he or she exhibits the following behaviors:
- Repetitive eye movements
- Taking a step back.
How to get baby to sleep through the night
1. Establish a bedtime routine.
You never know when you’ll need to start a sleep habit. Keep your nighttime ritual as basic as possible so that you can do it on a regular basis. When it comes to your baby’s nightly routine, even the simplest change can cause them to wake up more often. Using swaddling and shushing to soothe your baby is a great way to keep them calm. The bedtime routine might help your baby build positive sleep associations.
2. Teach your baby to self-soothe, which means trying your best to soothe them less.
As soon as your baby wakes up crying for you in the night, go check on them. It’s best to limit your time in the room with them, however. The moment has come to put your feet up and go to sleep, not to play or eat. Place your palm on their chest for a few seconds and then leave the room to calm them down (making sure to place your baby on their back to avoid sudden infant death syndrome). Weighting your baby gently on their chest and sides with the Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack can make them feel like you’re still around. Using this method, you can help your infant learn how to soothe themselves and alleviate their separation anxiety.
Night weaning and sleeping through the night
Night-weaning should be discussed with your pediatrician, and these rules should be followed if you chose to do so:
Feed the animals for longer periods of time. Starting at around 3 or 4 months of age, you can begin lengthening the time between feedings, as newborns require a feeding every two to four hours (though, again, it varies from baby to baby). Start by increasing the time between feedings by 15 to 30 minutes every other night if your pediatrician gives the go-ahead. Ideally, the baby will be able to sleep for longer.
Increase the number of feedings. Your baby can usually start getting fed less frequently when he or she is 3 or 4 months old since the time intervals between feedings can be extended (though, again, it varies from baby to baby). If your pediatrician gets the go-ahead, begin by increasing the time between feedings by 15 to 30 minutes every other night. Ideally, the baby will be able to sleep for longer.
It is recommended that nighttime feedings be minimized. Alternatively, you can lower the amount of liquid you give your baby in his bottle or the length of time you spend breastfeeding him when he wakes up at night. The amount of milk or the amount of time your baby is breastfed should progressively decrease over a few days.
Reduce the amount of times you give your baby a nighttime feeding. Reduce the amount of milk your baby receives from his bottle or lessen the time spent at each breast as another way to night wean your baby. If you maintain reducing the amount of milk or the amount of time he or she spends breastfeeding, your baby will soon stop needing a nightly feeding.
Be patient and mindful of your child’s hunger cues at night. Do not rush to feed your infant milk or formula if he or she wakes up in the night sobbing. He might doze off or amuse himself for a little time (see at those wonderful toes!). Make an effort to quiet him down as soon as he begins to scream by singing or rubbing him on the back. An opportunity to teach your baby that waking up in the middle of the night doesn’t mean he or she will need to be fed right away. Before you begin feeding your baby, make sure that he or she isn’t genuinely hungry (and if he is, feed him). You can begin increasing your child’s daily calorie intake if your pediatrician believes he or she is ready.
Don’t rush to feed your baby in the middle of the night. Do not rush to feed your infant milk or formula if he or she wakes up in the night sobbing. He may fall asleep or play with his toes for a brief length of time. Start singing or rubbing him on the back as soon as he starts screaming to settle him down. A fantastic way to teach your baby that early night wakings aren’t going to result in an instant feeding is to use them as a teaching opportunity. Before you begin feeding your baby, make sure that he or she isn’t genuinely hungry (and if he is, feed him). You can begin increasing your child’s daily calorie intake if your pediatrician believes he or she is ready.
What might prevent your baby from sleeping through the night?
There are numerous reasons why a newborn might not be able to sleep through the night:
- As exciting as it is, the eruption of a baby’s first tooth can cause sleepless nights for the poor creature. Teething symptoms including as crying, ear pulling, and night waking can begin two to three months before the baby’s actual pearly whites break through the gums.
- A sleep environment that is less than ideal: Baby can have a hard time getting to sleep if it is too hot. Keep the temperature in your baby’s room between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and have him sleep in a one-piece sleeper. Keep the room quiet and dark as well.
- A lack of sleep: Your baby’s sleep should not be snatched away from you until he has fallen asleep, and you should not alter his nighttime routine. Doing so will help your child develop the ability to fall asleep on his or her own in the long run.
- Self-soothing incapacity: If your baby is six months old, he may wake up several times during the night, but this is normal, and he should be able to go back to sleep by himself. Consider sleep training if he’s not able to calm down on his own.
- Sickness: Colds and ear infections can keep you and your baby awake at night. You may rest assured that as soon as your baby feels better, he or she will sleep better as well.
- Growth spurts: Babies typically have three growth spurts between three and nine months of age (though the exact timing can vary). His naptimes will likely become shorter, and he’ll be up more frequently at odd hours of the night in search of nourishment.
- A new ability your baby is learning, such as rolling over, sitting up, or crawling, can make it difficult for him to fall asleep or stay awake at night. In the absence of a compelling reason to doze off,
- Regression in sleep: It’s typical for newborns to wake up more frequently and have a hard time getting them back to sleep once they’re three to four months old and at other ages, even for those who sleep well. If you’re experiencing sleep regressions, realize that they’re just a phase.
Should you sleep train your baby or get baby on a sleep schedule?
Between the ages of three and six months, you’ll be able to start your kid on a regular sleep routine. Attempting to implement a sleep pattern too early could have a negative impact on your baby’s development, as well as on your milk supply if you’re nursing.
Depending on your baby’s temperament, he or she may choose to get up early and eat right away, or he or she may prefer to sleep in and eat later in the morning. Either way is fine; newborns’ sleep needs and when they need them vary widely.
The most crucial thing to remember is the total amount of hours your child is sleeping. It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that babies aged 4 to 12 months have 12 to 16 hours of sleep per day, taking naps included (see below). Including naps, babies between the ages of four and eleven months should get 12 to 15 hours of sleep every day, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
It’s not too late to start sleep training your baby at 5 or 6 months old if you’ve already weaned him off night feedings. This entails teaching your baby to sleep longer stretches at night and to calm himself when he wakes up on his own.
The cry it out approach, in which you let your baby to cry until he falls asleep on his own, is a common sleep training strategy. The Ferber method is a variation of this technique, in which you go in to calm your baby for a few minutes at a time for several nights until he falls asleep on his own. If you’re not comfortable with sleep training, don’t do it. Allowing your infant to cry for a short time will have no lasting effect on him. You’re actually helping him develop a lifelong ability by letting him sleep through the night on his own.
Even if you’re groggy and hazy from sleep deprivation, try to be kind to both yourself and your little night owl while you read this. Preventing tiredness is possible by sleeping when your baby does, and by enlisting the assistance of family and friends.
The first few months of becoming a parent can be very taxing. However, before you know it, your baby will be bouncing off the walls all day and sleeping longer lengths at night (most of the time). The days of little onesies and baby burp towels will soon be a distant memory.
Helping your baby fall asleep
Sleep and wake cycles may not be self-organized in newborns. Unexpectedly, not all babies have mastered the art of self-soothing. In addition, not all newborns who are awakened in the middle of the night can go back to sleep. Many parents choose to rock or breastfeed their babies to sleep at night. It’s a good idea to establish a nighttime routine. Do not allow your baby to fall asleep in your arms, however. This could be a recurring issue. In addition, your infant may begin to associate falling asleep with being in your arms. During a sleep cycle, your baby may be unable to return to sleep on their own if they wake up for a little period of time.
The more secure a baby is, the better prepared they are to cope with being apart, especially at night. The more secure your infant feels, the happier you will both be. Other methods for teaching your infant to sleep include:
- Depending on your baby’s age, you should allow for daily naps.
- Having nothing to do in the hours leading up to sleep.
- The establishment of a nightly ritual, such as taking a bath, reading a book, and rocking.
- While your baby is winding down for the night, put on some soothing music.
- Allowing your infant to sleep with a special toy or blanket. A little blanket or a cuddly toy may be all that is needed. But wait till your child is old enough to do so. Your child should be able to sit up and roll over by now. Suffocation will be avoided as a result of this action.
- When your infant is tired but not yet asleep, tucking him or her into bed.
- Assuring and comforting your baby when he or she is scared.
- When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, pat and soothe him or her. Don’t disturb your child’s sleep.
- Wait a few minutes before returning to pat and soothe a crying infant. Say your goodbyes and depart. Repeat as necessary.
- Maintaining a routine and responding in the same manner each time.
AAP guidelines for reducing the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related mortality from birth to one year old are as follows:
- Make sure your child is vaccinated. SIDS risk may be reduced if an infant is fully vaccinated.
Breastfeed your child. Only breastmilk for the first six months of a baby’s life is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
- Your baby should always sleep and nap on their backs until they are one year old. There is a reduced incidence of SIDS, food or foreign object ingestion (aspiration), and choking as a result of this. Never put your infant to sleep or snooze on their stomach or side. Keep an eye on your infant when he or she is on their stomach. This can help to prevent your child from developing a flat head in the first place.
- If your infant has been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux, you should consult with your child’s doctor before raising the crib’s head.
- Give your baby a pacifier to help them sleep or nap. If your infant is breastfed, wait to introduce a pacifier until he or she is well established in the feeding routine.
- Ensure that you have a firm mattress and a well-fitted sheet. In a crib, a play yard, or a bassinet, this can help minimize gaps between the mattress and the edges. That can help prevent the baby from being trapped between the mattress and the sidewalls (entrapment). Reduce the risk of suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Instead of sleeping in your own bed, let your baby to sleep in yours. Suffocation, trapping, strangling, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) are all risks associated with sleeping with your newborn. It’s not a good idea to share a bed with a set of twins or other multiples. Sleeping in close proximity to their parents is recommended by the AAP. However, infants should sleep in a crib or a bed designed just for them. For the first year of a baby’s life, this sleeping arrangement is perfect. But at least for the first six months, it should be maintained.
- The use of infant seats, car seats, strollers and child carriers for routine sleep and daily naps is not recommended. An infant’s airway can get obstructed, and asphyxia can occur.
- Putting an infant to sleep on a sofa or armchair is not recommended. There is a considerably greater risk of mortality, including SIDS, when a baby sleeps on a couch or armchair.
- During and after childbirth, avoid using illegal substances and alcohol, as well as smoking. Ensure that your baby is not exposed to people who smoke or areas where people smoke.
- Don’t overburden, overdress, or cover your baby’s face or head. Reduces the incidence of SIDS by preventing children from overheating.
- Your baby’s crib or bassinet should not have any loose bedding or soft things, such as bumper pads, cushions or comforters. Suffocation, strangling, trapping, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) can all be avoided this way.
- The incidence of SIDS and sleep-related newborn mortality can be reduced by avoiding the use of home cardiorespiratory monitors and commercial products (wedges, positioners, and special mattresses). SIDS has never been proved to be reduced by the use of these devices. Occasionally, they have resulted in the death of a newborn.
- There should be no dangling cables or window coverings while placing cribs, bassinets, and play yards. This can help prevent suffocation.