How to deal with a poor sleeping baby?
Any adult that has had trouble sleeping would testify how sleep habits such as creating a good sleep environment and switching off all gadgets once it’s bedtime, play a big role in falling asleep and staying asleep. For babies, however, parents are often at a loss on how much sleep they need and how to help them get it.
Healthy sleep habits
Before thinking of how to develop healthy sleep habits for your child, it is important you know the time range or duration of sleep your baby really needs. Without in-depth knowledge or at least awareness of this, you might come unstuck.
Although the amount of sleep a baby actually needs can vary, all newborns really need at least 11-14 hours of sleep each night. After a month or so after birth, most newborns sleep for 14-17 hours over both day and night. Gradually, as they develop, the sleep time reduces to about 11 hours and your baby will sleep more at night and less during the day – dropping day naps as they progress towards 2 years of age.
How to get your baby the sleep she needs
Now that you understand the sleep requirements of your child, it’s time to swing into action and get your baby the proper amount of sleep she needs (and of course, extra sleep time for yourself!).
Follow a night time routine
Good sleep habits also involve developing effective routines that become very predictable for your baby. By following a set routine at bedtime such as bathing, brushing teeth, followed by a final goodbye, helps your child associate these activities with sleep. As you know your baby best, customize a nighttime routine you feel will work; which may be long or short. If unsure just experiment and see how baby responds then follow the pattern that is most effective. The important thing is to do similar things in a similar order at similar times each night. Because she is still a baby, parents being out of sight coupled with a darkroom might be somewhat distressing for her. Use a night light or keep the door slightly open so your baby can stay calm and relaxed. However, be sure to pick a dull color such as red or orange for a night light so as to ensure the optimal production of melatonin by your baby.
Consistency is key
Often times, poor baby sleep is down to parents being inconsistent. In this game of training your child, you want to be predictable and consistent. Make her understand the events that would take place before bedtime. Reiterate the same routines you have always done in previous nights – clean up, read a bedtime story and then it’s light out. Not only is predictability comforting, but this built-in warning would also help her fall asleep on her own; possibly even before bedtime!
Since all babies are different, the routine that worked for your friend’s child might not work for you. So, study your child. Does she love stories? Is she a fan of music? Customize a routine, establish it and keep to it.
Need professional help?
No matter how much you know your baby, being aware when you need to ask for professional help will likely pay off in the long run. This is sometimes, the only difference between a parent that seems to have it all together, and another parent who feels like they’re never doing enough for the baby. Which parent would you choose to be?