Proven techniques for the comfort of your mind – your ultimate guide for baby sleep.
There’s no greater joy than watching your newborn open its eyes for the first time. However, as you’re going through the process of raising your baby, you might find yourself struggling to get them to shut their eyes for just 10 minutes.
At least, when you want them to,
Unlike toddlers and adults, babies take a while to develop awareness for the day/night schedule. That’s why your baby might end up wide awake from 4 am to 7 am.
It takes around 6 months for newborns to regulate their first sleep cycle.
Learning how to manage your baby’s behavior and keeping up with that cycle is the key to earning your good night's sleep.
If you want to know how to get your baby to sleep alone, follow this article to master baby sleep and get results from day one!
It’s not you, it’s me
Before we turn to our babies, it’s imperative to check our own habits and routines first. If your sleep pattern is out of sync, this might directly reflect on his behavior during bedtime and make him wake up several times each night.
There are other factors too. So in order to solve the problem, we must first ask ourselves:
Why is my baby wide awake during the night?
1. Inconsistent bedtime
The best way to encourage positive sleeping habits is to get him used to a routine. If your baby takes several short naps during the day, he will get used to carrying on with this throughout the night.
Make sure you implement a bedtime routine, this will be the first step from him towards developing an adult-like sleeping schedule.
2. Not getting enough sunlight
Babies need to be exposed to outdoor areas as early as two weeks old. If you don’t go out enough and/or live in a particularly dim environment, your toddler might not be able to differentiate between daytime and nighttime, causing problems in his sleeping routine.
Try to plan more picnics at your local park, or take your baby with you to run your daily errands.
3. Feeding your baby to sleep
Old habits are tough to break, and if you are constantly nursing your child to sleep you’ll get him used to requiring attention when he wakes up during the night.
If you try some spacing between mealtime and sleep, your baby might have better chances of sleeping on his own when he wakes up in the middle of the night.
4. Constantly changing your methods
You might confuse your baby by shifting your routines. If you are not favoring any sleep training methods, don’t throw in a new one every day. Instead, choose any routine and stick to it.
Once we’ve identified the problems, we can now better understand the process that your baby goes through. What we need to do now is to formulate a plan that you are willing to adhere to, and reinforce that process with those habits.
Habits that go a long way
Encouraging good habits isn’t necessarily aimed at just infants and children. Parents also need to be educated on the correct process of introducing sleep to their babies.
Remember, good habits start early. Here are some habits that can positively reinforce your child’s attitude towards sleep.
1. Let there be darkness
Your baby will have a better understanding of the day and night cycle if you develop some habits early enough, especially at nighttime.
What you can do is switch off most of the lights at night and keep his nursery away from any bright sources of illumination. Avoid toys that emit light and don’t turn anything on when tending to a restless baby in the middle of the night.
2. Feed him at the right time
Feeding your baby right before sleep might have a lot of negative effects, like indigestion and acid refluxes. It’s important to maintain the same time for meals every day, keeping the last meal 2 hours apart from his sleeping time.
3. Don’t respond to your child right away
Twitches and murmurs during the night don’t necessarily mean that he’s awake. Try and wait a minute before getting up to investigate, he might go back to sleep.
If you get used to waking up with every twitch you will prevent the baby from going into a deep sleep, which will make him very groggy and restless.
The big 4 don’ts
Now that we’ve talked about the positive habits you can implement, it’s also essential to know what to steer clear of, and we present that in the form of 4 big don’ts.
1. Don’t rely on rocking sessions
If you get your baby used to rocking sessions right before sleep time, he will learn to expect to be rocked to sleep every time, and that might prevent him from going back to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night.
We’re not saying ditch rocking sessions completely. A better approach would be to stop swaying when the baby is drowsy and about to sleep, and putting him in bed to be able to sleep still.
2. Don’t prevent naps
Naps are important. Infants, in particular, require a significant amount of sleep in order to grow properly.
If you are worried about him carrying on with his napping routine throughout the night, stick to day-time naps, and shift the morning playtime towards the evening, to keep your child more active.
3. Don’t rule out other medical problems
There could be medical problems that you are overlooking, like hyperthermia, which means a high body temperature.
Your baby might be feverish because of hot environments or the flu. When this happens, your baby will start to sweat, which will disrupt his normal sleep pattern.
Try to provide cool temperatures for your infant to prevent sweating, and constantly have your infant checked in at doctor’s appointments on a monthly basis.
4. Don’t let your baby “cry it out”
Babies are very prone to getting stressed out. Nothing ruins a baby’s sleep pattern more than sadness or an adrenaline surge.
Try to attend to your infant as much as you can, and don’t forget that the baby might just be hungry for a quick breastfeeding snack.
If you can’t get the results you want right away, don’t give up! Change takes a little bit of time and a little bit of effort. As long as you are willing to stick to the plan and not get disheartened by a couple of slip-ups, you should be fine.