Bedtime Secret: Dim The Lights
Melatonin, a hormone thats made by the pineal gland in the brain that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles, starts to increase in the evening, after sunset, and tends to stay high throughout the night, while it’s dark. After sunrise, it starts to decrease, when it’s time to wake up.
But if you have tons of bright lights on in the house until midnight, including light from electronic devices, that can disrupt melatonin production. So try dimming a bright overhead light in the nursery, or turn it off and use a nightlight instead. Not only will softer lighting help trigger your baby’s body to produce melatonin, but it will also act as a visual cue, so your baby knows that it’s time to wind down.
Place The Crib Near Your Bed
Placing the babys crib or bassinet next to your bed makes it easier to tend to the baby and then go back to sleep, making for a more restful night. While co-sleeping in the same bed with your little one may seem tempting, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against it because of the risk of suffocating the baby.
Be Aware Of Food Sensitivities
Exposure to different foods and flavors begins in utero, and your babys ability to process certain foods will develop and get stronger throughout the first year of his life. As your baby grows, he may develop one or more food sensitivity. ;This is especially true in breastfed babies. For example, a newborn baby may have a difficult time digesting garlic or other spices within breast milk. If your baby is crying, arching her back, and has a stiff belly, then she may be experiencing a food sensitivity. The good news is that these symptoms typically pass after a bowel movement.
Once you identify which food caused this discomfort, you can eliminate it from your diet while breastfeeding. This should ensure that your baby will sleep at night more comfortable and uninterrupted.
If your baby is at least 6 months old, and you have concerns related to how solid foods may be interfering with her sleep, please refer to “How Certain Foods Can Affect Your Childs Sleep.”
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Safety First: Lower Sids Risk
Every time you put your baby down to sleep, whether it’s at night or for a nap during the day, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you do the following to lower the chances of SIDS :
- Always put your baby down to sleep on their;back.
- Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
- ;If you baby falls asleep in a stroller car seat or swing, try to remove them;and lay them;down on a flat surface.
- Your baby should sleep in the same room as you, but not in the same bed as you.
- Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and bumper pads.
- Dont rely on devices which claim to prevent SIDS.
- Do not use wedges and positioners.
- Offer your baby a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
- Avoid covering your baby’s head or overheating.
- Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Make sure your baby gets all recommended vaccinations.
- Get some skin-to-skin contact time with them.
- Give your baby supervised, awake tummy time every day.
- Don’t smoke.
- Breastfeedyour baby.
- If you are tired, dont breastfeed while in a chair or on a couch in case you fall asleep.
- If you’re pregnant, get regular prenatal care.
Typical Daily Nap Hours For Babies
While there are guidelines on the typical number of hours most babies sleep each day, it’s important to understand that all babies are unique and need different amounts of sleep. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants ages 4 to 12 months should get between 12 and 16 hours of sleep per 24 hours . Take the guidelines as just thata guide. Plus, a four-hour range is a lot. Let your baby clue you in to how much more they need to nap.
Though there are typical baby sleep patterns, just because your baby may not be taking the typical number of naps or they may be sleeping more or less for their age, doesnt necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with their sleep schedule. In fact, a recent study found that the majority of babies don’t even sleep a full eight hours a night.
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Do Not Let Your Baby Sleep Longer Than 2 Hours At A Time From 7 Am To 7 Pm
This has got to be the single most effective thing you can do encourage your newborn to have longer stretches of sleep at night. ;Granted, this will literally be impossible to accomplish for most babies before 4 to 6 weeks. When those new newborns want to sleep, try as you might, they will not wake up. But, as soon as you see that youre able to wake them up a bit, do so! Take off their clothes, expose them to cooler air, take them outside/expose them to sunlight, put them in a baby tub filled with lukewarm water; Simply put, do anything you can to wake them up if theyve been asleep for longer than 2 hours.
Trust me on this one.
Tips For Getting A Newborn To Sleep
How can I get my newborn to sleep? is perhaps the most common question that has new parents scratching their heads. Newborns are complex little beings and almost never take to a set sleep schedule right away. The good news is that interrupted newborn sleep is perfectly normal. Your little one is learning, and growing, and doesnt want to miss a thing. There are, however, tips and tricks you can try to make putting your newborn to sleep a bit easier.
If You Are Breastfeeding You Are Likely To Get More Sleep If You Keep Your Baby Nearby
The World Health Organization recommends that babies share a bedroom with their parents, and its a recommendation that makes breastfeeding less disruptive. A recent study found that breastfeeding women got more sleep when they co-slept with baby . In fact, mothers who co-slept and breastfed got more sleep than did mothers who bottle-fed their babies .
When Its Hard To Know What Your Newborn Needs
There are times when its hard to know what newborns need. For example, you might have tried feeding or putting your baby down for a sleep, but baby still seems unsettled.
If your baby is crying, first check whether baby is sick, hurt or uncomfortable. If not, and if baby has fed in the last two hours, cuddling and comfort are in order. For example, you could try holding your baby in your arms with their head near your chest.
Your newborn will feel safe and secure when you interact with them in warm, loving and responsive ways. You cant spoil your baby by picking them up, cuddling them or talking to them.
If your baby is crying a lot, its very important to look after yourself. Even just five minutes reading a book, walking around the block or doing some meditation can give you a break if youre feeling stressed, anxious or angry. Or sometimes it might help to have another person take over for a while. If you can, ask your partner or a friend or relative to help out.
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Try To Have A Regular Bedtimeand Routine
Find the time, ideally between 6.30pm and 8.30pm, that suits your baby to go to sleep. It wont always be possible but try and stick to it as often as you can. If they go to sleep at that time most nights, theyll start to;learn what bedtime means .
A regular night time routine bath, story, milk;or a lullaby in a dark room can help too .;Getting your baby to sleep in the same place at least most of the time can also make a difference.
How Long Should You Let Your Newborn Sleep Without Eating
Newborns should eat as often and as long as they want, so it may be necessary to wake your newborn if shes sleeping too much to meet her calorie and nutrient needs. Frequent feeding is crucial for your newborns growth and development. Right after birth, babies lose up to 10 percent of their body weight and need to quickly regain it.
- Newborns: feed every two to four hours
- 2 months: feed every three to four hours
- 4 months: feed every four hours
- 6 months: feed every four to five hours
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Start Weaning The Night Feedings
Once you get the okay from your doctor to stop night feedings, you should slowly start to reduce them. In many cases, feeding becomes a sleep association because you fed your baby every time they woke up. Just because thats no longer necessary, doesnt mean your baby wont want it anymore. Slowly wean them off the night feedings , feeding them less and not as frequently over a few days or a week to get them used to not feeding every time they wake.
Bedtime Secret: Place Your Baby In The Crib Awake
“Babies wake up briefly every hour at the end of each sleep cycle, says Dr. Meltzer. One of the reasons that some babies sleep through the night is that they’ve learned how to fall asleep at bedtimeand put themselves back to sleep during the night.
So 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.
If youre struggling with a fussy baby at bedtime, try first using just one of these tips for two to three days, then make an additional change every few days until you land on a routine that helps your baby get to sleep.
Added bonus: Youll get more shut-eye, too.
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When To Make A Nap Routine Change
With that in mind, if your baby is quite a bit off the norm in terms of typical daily sleep averages, perhaps you might want to consider making some adjustments to both nap and bedtime routinesparticularly if your baby also shows signs of daytime tiredness and wakes up a lot at night.
Signs that your baby could use more daytime and nighttime sleep include crankiness, difficulty falling and staying asleep, rubbing their eyes, and appearing less alert. If your child exhibits these symptoms, they are likely asking for a napand a more consistent schedule in general.
How To Help A Sick Baby Sleep
When a baby has a cold, it can mean long, sleepless nights for everyone. And, often, this lack of sleep becomes part of a vicious cycle: baby gets sick and doesnt sleep well and, as a result, doesnt get the critical shut eye they need to kick their congestion, fever and general icks. Because of this, illnesses wear on longer than they should, and sleep continues to be a battle night after night — and that means youre getting less shut-eye, too.
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Secrets Of A Baby Sleep Expert
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There’s nothing like climbing into bed after a long day, placing your head on a soft pillow, and drifting off to sleeponly to be abruptly awakened by your baby’s cries.
For many moms and dads, this repeat scenario can go on for months, and in some cases, even years.
But getting enough shut-eye each night isnt just a concern for the parents in the house. When infants don’t snooze enough, it can negatively affect both their bodies and minds.
“Sleep impacts every aspect of a baby’s development, from physical growth to emotional development,” says Lisa Meltzer, Ph.D., a sleep specialist and associate professor of pediatrics at National Jewish Health in Denver, CO. “Babies who sleep more have better gains in weight, length and head circumference. Sleep also helps an infant’s brain process and reorganize information learned during the day, develop stronger social skills, and have better maternal/child interaction.”
If you happen to be a sleep-deprived parent reading this, you may be thinking, easier said than done!
So what exactly constitutes a solid bedtime routine for baby? According to Dr. Meltzer, there are seven simple steps that any parent can practice each night.
When Do Babies Sleep Through The Night
Sleeping through the night doesn’t have a strict definition. However, people often say a baby sleeps through the night when the baby sleeps for six to eight hours at night , without waking up, in addition to daytime naps. By six months of age, roughly 62% of babies sleep for six or more uninterrupted hours at night. By one year of age, that percentage climbs, with around 72% of one-year-old babies sleeping for six or more uninterrupted hours at night.
Its important not to push your baby to sleep through the night too early. Prior to three months of age, virtually all babies sleep in three- to four-hour blocks of time , without regard to whether it’s daytime or nighttime. Around three months, some babies begin to do more of their sleeping at night, but this sleep is still interrupted.
Also, keep in mind that your night of sleep and your baby’s night are different. If you put your baby down to sleep and they sleep through the night uninterrupted, they will still likely wake up while you are sleeping. For example, with an 8 p.m. bedtime, six hours of uninterrupted sleep leads to a 2 a.m. wake time.
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What If My Child Regularly Has Trouble Falling Asleep
Some children have trouble falling asleep on their own and can lay awake for long periods of time. This can be caused by too much screen time before bed, or caffeine from soda and energy drinks.
- If your child is watching TV or playing video games for long periods of time, try limiting screen time or cutting it out of the bedtime routine.
- Dont allow your child to drink or eat anything with caffeine.
- Try doing relaxing activities before bed such as reading, listening to calming music, or laying in bed with your child talking quietly about their;day.
If these reasons arent the cause, talk to your doctor about other ways to help your child learn to fall asleep on their;own.
Understand Your Baby’s Sleep Needs
During the first 2 months, your newborn’s need to eat overrules their;need to sleep. They may feed almost every 2 hours if you’re breastfeeding, and possibly a little less often if you bottle-feed.
Your baby may sleep from 10 to 18 hours a day, sometimes for 3 to 4 hours at a time. But babies dont know the difference between day and night. So they sleep with no regard for what time it is. That means your babys wide-awake time may be from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
By 3 to 6 months, many babies are able to sleep for a stretch of 6 hours. But just as you think your baby is getting into a nice routine — usually between 6 and 9 months — normal developmental stages can throw things off. For instance, when your baby begins to associate bedtime with being left alone, they;may start crying just to keep you around.
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Don’t Give Up On Swaddling
“It’s the first piece of advice I give to new parents, and they often say, ‘I tried swaddling, and my baby hated it.’ But sleep changes so rapidly in those early weeks and that what she hates at 4 days might work at 4 weeks. And you’ll get better with practice too. It’s common to swaddle to loosely the first few times or feel flustered if your baby is wailing. Believe me, it’s worth another shot, as long as she is still too young to roll over. Try different styles of swaddles, like the Miracle Blanket, which wraps snugly around, or the Swaddle Up, which lets your baby keep her hands up by her faceand maybe make it a little tighter to leave one of her arms out.” Linda Szmulewitz, a licensed social worker and founder of The Chicago New Moms Group and Sleep Tight Consultants
Need Newborn Sleep Help You Came To The Right Place Check Out These Resources
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