Your heart swells with love when you see your little one is sleeping deeply. He is charming and innocent. On the other hand, your heart will race and anxiety will set in when you can’t get him settled for sleep, or stay asleep for a long enough time.
You can alleviate your stress and be ready to set your little baby’s sleep routine by comprehending which elements of his sleep routine are in your hands, and which are not.
When you know what is within your control you can adjust these for better sleep results and leave off worrying about the rest.
1. Recognize your baby’s needs
Make sure you have the right expectations. For the first three months a baby is going to wake up frequently for feeding. Newborns love to eat rather than sleep so don’t expect them to snooze for long. Most babies will sleep for 1-2 hours during the day and longer stretches at night.
If you are breastfeeding, a mom needs to feed a baby approximately every three hours, for bottle-fed babies you might notice your baby requests a feed every three to four hours. At this stage, the baby’s need to eat overrules his need to sleep so you can expect to be on call.
Expect a newborn to clock up 14 to 17 hours sleep in a 24 hour period.
Even if a baby is sleeping soundly it’s best to wake them at the three or four hour mark for feeds to help build your milk supply. Most babies will sleep pretty soundly between milk feeds though, so you can rest assured they are getting the rest they need for healthy growth and development.
2. Mixing up day and night
If your baby is mixing up day and night you can help settle down into a more natural routine by spending time outdoors in the sunlight (but not directly in the harsh sun). This works especially well to go out for walks in the morning and afternoon. During the day keep the blinds open in your home, even when the baby is napping and leave the lights low or off when feeding at night.
Chat to your baby when they are awake in the day time and engage with them in fun and noisy ways. At night, be quiet with them and sing lullabies or whisper them back to sleep.
At three to six months of age most babies are usually able to sleep for a six to eight hour stretch. This stage is a good routine for a baby and for a mom to recover from anxiety and stress, however, it’s okay if your baby doesn’t sleep through the entire night, even up to one year old.
3. Set a bedtime schedule
Some moms begin their baby’s bedtime schedule as early as six to eight weeks. According to a study, a baby who undergoes this kind of setup sleeps easier, better and seldom cries during the night.
The keys to accomplish this routine are:
- Play active games with your baby in the daytime and silent games in the evening. This works to stimulate your baby adequately through the day, and relax them for sleep.
- Be considsent in the activities you choose and the way you put your baby to sleep. They will come to recognise the order of things.
- Make all activities peaceful and calm, especially towards the end of the routine.
- Include a bath. A bath is a wonderful part of a bedtime routine. It’s relaxing and soothing and can have some subtle lavender scent for easy sleep.
4. Place your baby in bed when he’s sleepy
Starting from six weeks old, soothe your baby until he feels sleepy and on the verge of sleep, place him into his crib and let him drift off all by himself. Do not wait for the moment that your baby sleeps in your arms before you put him into bed as he may become dependent on your touch to fall asleep, leaving you tied up for hours with a restless baby. If your baby does fall asleep in your arms, which can happen, especially if you are feeding him, gently wake him as he goes into bed so he gets used to the feeling of falling asleep all by himself.
This kind of strategy will train your baby to soothe himself the moment he sleeps and there is no need for you to cuddle him every time he wakes up during the night.
5. Safety first: Decrease SIDS risks
Every time you place your baby in bed during nap time or for night sleep, follow these tips to minimize the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Place your baby down flat on his back. It is a risk for your baby to sleep on his tummy.
- Always use the original mattress or padded shelf provided with the cot or baby bed you purchase. Do not attempt to make the bed softer with blankets or toppers. A firm surface means their airways are clear.
- Always sleep your baby in their proper bed. Car seats, baby swings and rockers, beanbags and other devices are not suggested for safe sleeping.
- A baby should sleep in the same room with his parents, but not in the same bed unless a proper co-sleeper bed is used.
- The baby should be alone in the bed, no bumpers, sleep positioners, wedges, pillows, blankets or toys.
- During sleep, prevent covering your baby’s head
- Breastfeeding is good for baby and is shown to prevent SIDS
- If you are tired when breastfeeding, lay your child alongside you on a large bed to feed so that he will be safe if you fall asleep. Falling asleep with an infant in your arms can mean they get stuck and can’t breathe.
6. Allow your baby to self soothe
If your baby cries every time you put him down, you are going to have to be okay with it. Letting your baby cry is a way of teaching him how to sleep on his own and put himself back off from sleeping during the night or even day time. Professionals say that once a baby is five to six months old, parents should start applying this method.
Here is an outline on how to do it:
- Place your baby in the crib (awake but drowsy) and once you’re done with your routine, say goodnight and leave the room.
- If your little one cries, wait for a few minutes before checking on him. The length of waiting time depends on you and your baby. You may wait for about one to five minutes before he settles down.
- If he doesn’t settle, make an effort to comfort him again when you enter the room but don’t pick him up. Leave again within three minutes, even though he may still be crying for you. You might like to gradually step back towards the door little by little.
- If he continues crying, gradually increase the length of waiting time. For example, you waited three minutes for the first time, then wait four minute the second time and five minutes the third time.
7. Be observant about tired indications
A baby will show signs when he’s worn out like yawning, sucking, grizzling, jerky actions, frowning, rubbing eyes, crying and fussiness. Taking action early with these indications will help avoid distress and make it simpler for Baby to sleep.
8. Keep the room dark
When you have to feed or change the baby’s diaper during the night, keep the light low to prevent overstimulation. Some moms use black curtains to keep the room dark while the baby is sleeping at night.
9. Don’t change the diaper
After six months, unless the nappy is sopping wet, don’t change it overnight. Only change a diaper if the damness is distressing the child or if there has been a bowel movement.
10. Use white noise
There are specific white noise machines that are designed to look good in a child’s bedroom. This device gives a relaxed and womb-like experience that stops them from crying and helps them fall asleep and stay asleep more easily. When room sharing parents find the noise to be helpful to her sleep as well.
It is a method of nursing your baby right before bedtime. This method prevents the baby from waking up from hunger after you finally put him down. In addition, being full of warm milk helps your baby sleep deeper and longer.