Every parent would love to look over their sleeping baby and sigh with love. But a wide-eyed tired baby who keeps you up is not what you imagined.
The Department of Neurology at Columbia University mentions that “babies have different sleep cycles than adults. Babies spend much less time in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep (which is dream time sleep) and the cycles are shorter. “
The average sleep requirement for a newborn is 16 hours divided by daytime and night time.
The hours decrease as the baby grows older in her first year with an average of 13-14 hours a day.
Feeding is more important to newborn babies then sleep. So, if you’re waking every two hours to nurse your baby, it is normal.
However, if your baby is not sleeping enough as per the required number of hours it is a cause of concern.
Hence in order to put your baby to sleep whenever and wherever follow these tips or practices to ensure your little one is well-rested along with you.
Fix a Bedtime Routine
Creating a bedtime routine early in the baby’s life is a good practice. Infants don’t understand day and night and can choose to sleep whenever they are tired, or fed.
Parents can define a bedtime and start practicing it with their newborn around the 7th-8th week. Tucking your baby at the same time every night will help the baby sleep easier, longer and waking up less in the middle of the night.
Start the day with active games and end it with calming games to ascertain your baby is not too active right before bedtime but is also tired from the day’s fun.
Games that are soothing can help the baby fall asleep gradually and for a longer duration.
Create the Right Ambiance
Comfort is key to a peaceful night of sleep for your baby. If your baby has fallen asleep on the couch, car seat or a stroller, lay her down in her crib, especially since you always want to focus on the perfect safe sleep environment
The crib is a familiar place for the baby so it will help them relax. Keep the crib in the same room as you to ensure the baby is nursed or comforted whenever required.
Don’t use devices, pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, positioners, etc. which can crowd the crib and are not safe for the baby.
Dress your baby in the right amount of warm clothes to avoid overheating or freezing.
Keep Them Active During the Day
As mentioned earlier, engaging your baby in activities is beneficial, as it aids healthy growth and development.
Physical activity like crawling, grasping, pulling or pushing tires the baby and helps them sleep uninterrupted and for a longer duration of time. According to What To Expect, “If you’re on vacation, make sure you have trips to the park baked in and if you’re headed to Grandma’s, play in the backyard all day long.
Active babies become sleepy babies at nap time and sleep time, even when the surroundings are slightly unfamiliar.
If you’re in a different time zone, burning energy during the day is the best remedy for jet lag.”
Feed Before Nap-time
The main reason a baby wakes up in the middle of the night is due to hunger or thirst. As newborn babies have a very small appetite and digest their food fast, they are hungry every two hours.
Your child should not be refrained from feeding every once in a while, for an uninterrupted sleep routine.
Once your baby starts growing you can feed them well to last a couple of hours. Check constantly for the baby’s food and water requirements to help them get a feeding instantly.
You can alter the feeding time according to their nap time, to help them feed properly and not doze-off in-between.
Help Your Baby Sleep Alone
Teaching your baby to fall asleep independently is one of the best ways to focus on teaching sleep skills. But, many parents aren’t even sure how to do that! (Don’t worry, I have this epic blog post to read if you’d like to learn more about sleep training.)
But, until you’re ready to come up with a soothing method and plan, just consider all your sleep opportunities as practice.
When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, be there to comfort her and then leave.
Showing your face to the baby will help them calm down and be assured that you are nearby.
Lifting the baby and trying to put them to sleep will make them too attached and cranky when you are not around.
Most of the times the baby just wants to be around the parent, playing instead of sleeping. In that case, keeping the crib in the same room helps the baby stay close to the parents.
Once your baby has the opportunity to sleep in many different places you will find the joy of seeing your baby sleep anywhere.