All babies are unique and have different sleep needs. The range of normal is quite wide. So even if your baby seems to sleep more than others, there is a good chance they are just a super sleeper. For some new parents, one of the toughest challenges is sleep or should I say, the lack-there of. It is important to recognise that every baby is different, especially when it comes to how often and how long they sleep for. Most infants fall asleep easily and sleep longer when they’re put down before they get tired and bug-eyed. The Sleep in America poll found that overtired children take almost 20 percent longer to fall asleep! In other words, being overtired makes kids wired. (This is particularly true for superspirited infants who get increasingly rebellious.) Expose your baby to natural daylight, and involve your baby in the stimulating hustle and bustle of your daytime activities. When evening falls, protect your baby from exposure to artificial lighting. Light is a signal that tells the brain to delay the onset of sleepiness at night. Lovely as it is for your baby to snuggle into you for a nap as a newborn, if you soon notice that it is the only place your baby will settle to nap this could have become a ‘nap habit’. It may make it difficult for them to settle at night too and it doesn’t give you any break while they nap to catch up on me time, get a few things done or nap yourself. Before trying any sleep-inducing program, you be the judge. Run these schemes through your inner sensitivity before trying them on your baby, especially if they involve leaving your baby alone to cry.
Don’t just wait for your five-month-old’s sleep to fall into place on its own. A Canadian study found that a third of five-month-olds who woke at night still couldn’t manage six hours of unbroken sleep at two and a half years of age! If your baby isn’t given opportunity to fall asleep on their own as they grow, it may mean that their night time sleep is disturbed for longer especially if they get particularly unsettled when they wake in the night and realise you’re not there. Place your baby on their back in a cot close to your bed. It’s better to settle them in their own sleeping space than in bed with you as they’re less likely to resist going into their cot when you go home, and you get a good night’s sleep too. You may need to stay with them a little longer to help them settle, to offer a bit of comfort and reassurance, but try to let them go to sleep on their own. Babies should always be in the same room as you for the first six months for sleep, day and night. This doesn’t mean you can’t leave the room to make a cup of tea or go to the toilet, but for most of the time when they are sleeping they are safest if you are close by If you're looking for a compassionate, effective and evidence-based approach to sleep or just advice on one thing like sleep regression then a baby sleep specialist will be able to help you.
Baby Sleeping Safety Tips
You may find that a gentle massage will help to relax your baby after her bath. Try massaging her arms and legs with a little warm oil before you get her dressed for bed. Sometimes it’s essential to wake your baby up! For example, if she poops in her sleep, you need to wake her to change her diaper in order to protect her skin. And waking her up for an 11 P.M. dream feed (an extra couple of ounces) may be to the key step in improving her sleep. You may be able to coax your baby to sleep a little longer by using blackout curtains to shut out the sun’s first rays. Also, white noise helps obscure the early morning sounds of birds, dogs, traffic, and the neighbors. And sometimes the sound even helps a baby successfully ignore the early morning light. The average three-month-old’s bedtime is around 9:30 P.M. Yet, as infants get older their bedtime gets earlier, dropping to 8:30 P.M. and earlier. Researchers in Pittsburgh found that infants who went to bed before 9 P.M. slept significantly longer overall (13 hours) than infants who went down after 9 P.M. (11.8 hours). But if you push for a bedtime that’s too early, your little buddy may not be tired. Good quality sleep is important for everyone but especially for children as it directly impacts on their mental and physical development. If you need guidance on 4 month sleep regression then let a sleep consultant support you in unlocking your child's potential, with their gentle, empathetic approach to sleep.
If you’re desperate for a longer stretch of sleep at night, you could try ‘dream feeding’. So instead of waiting for your baby to wake you when they’re hungry, you feed them before you go to sleep. Even if they’re half asleep, you’ll find that they should wake enough to feed, and then settle back to sleep. What happens if babies don’t get enough sleep? They can become overtired — where they’re exhausted and moody but also too wired to relax. There is no magic key that will solve all your baby sleep issues. The goal is though to teach the infant to fall asleep on his or her own and to get used to eating only in the daytime. Most babies eventually learn to sleep on a regular schedule. The amount of time this takes varies from baby to baby. However, healthful sleep practices, a nighttime ritual, a regular schedule, breastfeeding, and safe sleep strategies can help a baby establish their routine earlier and remain asleep longer. Some babies who were born very prematurely and spent some time in a neonatal unit may have been slept on their fronts for medical reasons. Remember that babies in neonatal units are under constant supervision. By the time your baby comes home they should be sleeping on their back. For sleep training guidance it may be useful to enlist the services of a sleep consultant.
Quiet In The Bedroom
It’s important for babies to get used to father’s way of comforting and being put to sleep (and back to sleep) in father’s arms, otherwise, mothers burn out. A father’s participation in nighttime parenting is especially important for the breastfeeding infant who assumes the luxury that “mom’s diner” is open all night. If your baby cries because she's hungry or wet, that's understandable, but waking up in the middle of the night because she can't find her pacifier is frustrating for all. You can teach her to find it on her own. If you listen to your best friend, a cousin, or a neighbor talk about how their baby was sleeping through the night at 2 months, you'll just get stressed. Tune out the unhelpful comparisons as much as you can. Make sure baby has a feed during their awake time and wind them well after this. While feeding them right before their nap can make them sleepy you want to avoid feeding them to sleep. Remember, the aim is to have them fall asleep in their bed, rather than on the breast or in your arms. So feed them soon after they wake, when they are bright and alert. Turn off screen and electronics for baby an hour before sleep time as the light from them promotes alertness and wakefulness. There are multiple approaches to gentle sleep training and a sleep expert will help you choose one that is right for you and your family.
Babies who need to be given oxygen at home should be sleeping on their backs. You may have been told to increase the amount of oxygen if they are on their back instead of their front, but this is still the safest way for them to sleep. When your baby gets a bit older, some parents try and encourage increased night-time sleep by giving them more of their feeds during the day. This can take a bit of effort – in that you might be feeding your baby every 3-4 hours rather than leaving longer gaps between daytime feeds – but it could mean that they’re only waking once for a night-time feed. Of course, use your instincts to not over-feed a child. If you teach your baby to rely on a crutch to get back to sleep, like being nursed or rocked, as your infant gets older, that habit may become ingrained and hard to break. A better habit to start as soon as possible: put your baby into the crib when your little one is drowsy, but not yet asleep. Always be mindful of how long your baby is sleeping in a car seat or bouncer/swing chair and remember that for the first six months your baby should be in the same room as you when they sleep, both day and night. The charity also warns that sleeping on a sofa or armchair with your baby can increase the risk of SIDS by up to 50 times and if you are tired there is NEVER a safe time to sleep on a sofa or armchair with a baby day or night. Babies aren't truly developmentally ready to sleep through the night, which is generally defined as sleeping six to eight hours at a stretch overnight, until they're between 4 and 6 months old. By 6 months, if you're lucky, your little one could be clocking a solid seven or eight hours a night. A sleep consultant will take a holistic approach to create a sleeping system that you can manage and one which takes into account ferber method as well as the needs of the baby and considerations of each family member.
Sleep Training Babies
If your baby can't bear to be separated from you, try putting the cot next to your bed, so that baby can see and smell you. Every night try moving the cot a few inches away from your bed and eventually into their own room. This slowly, slowly approach gives baby time to adjust to the distance that's being put between you both. To help your baby establish a healthy circadian rhythm, start by making sure your baby gets plenty of daylight and stimulation during the day. While young infants need several naps during the daytime, you can experiment to find a napping schedule that makes your baby tired enough to get to sleep at night without being overtired. Wake your child at the same time every day, and keep bedtimes consistent, too. While newborns go to bed notoriously late, an older baby’s ideal bedtime is probably earlier than you think; no later than 7 p.m. for babies age four months to two years, while 7:30 p.m. is the sweet spot for most kids. Uncover more details appertaining to Sleep Consultancies on this NHS web page.