For most new parents, Sleepless nights have been like a rite of passage. This is due to disrupted sleep as the parents try to understand the baby’s communication method and habits. The new parents tend to have difficulty adjusting schedules and routines based on the baby’s sleeping patterns. Some stock the baby’s wardrobe with cute girls pyjamas hoping that a change of clothing will put the baby to sleep. This editorial guides parents on how to help the baby become a better sleeper and encourage good sleeping habits.
Baby’s Sleeping Rhythm
It is crucial to learn the sleeping rhythm and understand how long your baby sleeps. Most newborns can sleep up to 16 hours or even more in a day. At times, the sleeping pattern may be erratic; however, that shouldn’t be a worry since the baby’s consistent sleeping schedule will emerge.
Good Sleep Habits
Consider sleeping with your baby in the same room but in his crib. This is vital as the parent can watch over the baby. However, try to avoid sleeping with the baby in the same bed. You may accidentally knock the baby and disrupt his sleep or suffocate the baby in fatal incidents. Once the baby understands that the crib environment is for sleep, he/she will learn to self-soothe himself to sleep. Moreover, whenever they wake up, they can fall back to sleep. Newborns enjoy being rocked, bounced, and soothed to sleep. However, they quickly outgrow these activities. At least by 5months, most babies should independently fall asleep.
At 8 months, the baby’s body releases a drowsy making hormone called Melatonin. The level of Melatonin hormone rises at dusk and lowers at sunrise. This internal clock tells them when to wake up and when to sleep. The brain associates light with being awake and darkness with sleep. Hence correct lighting is essential as it helps set a baby’s internal clock.
Nighttime rituals are essential for your baby and should be done as soon as they are 6 to 8 weeks. Following a consistent routine for bedtime is the key to calming your baby to sleep. In a quiet room, start by bathing the baby, putting her in one of your many girls pyjamas, singing, cuddling and playing her slow and soothing music. These activities are best done before the baby is overly tired or overstimulated. Placing the baby in her crib while still awake will help him associate sleep with his bed. For safety precautions, place the baby to sleep on her back. The crib should be clear of all soft bedding to avoid suffocation. Most babies fuss and cry before falling asleep. When this persists, a parent should softly talk to the baby to reassure their presence. This comforts the baby to sleep.
Newborns tend to doze off while eating, which makes them think they need to feed to sleep. It is advisable to combat the issue by feeding them earlier and tucking them to drowse while still awake. A book or a lullaby plays the role of calming and soothing them to drowsiness. At midnight, the baby may need care or feeding. Always use a still, soft voice, very calm movements and ensure the room lights are dim. This shows the baby it’s time to sleep and not play.
Reworking the baby’s sleeping routine can change bad sleeping habits. Paediatrics state that the habits are reversible. Consistency is the key; doing the same activities in the same order every night so that the baby learns what to expect. This is the only way your baby will enjoy a good night’s sleep.