If you read the previous post, you may have figured that tiny babies – even up to six months of age are really light sleepers and that their sleep occurs in rhythms of about one hour. This is no solace when you are trying to either get used to motherhood or to juggle your time with another toddler. Hopefully these tips may help.
You can expect a newborn infant to sleep for between 15 and 18 hours a day. But that sleep can be broken into as many as seven periods. Wouldn’t we just love it if the longer sleep periods were during the night! Unfortunately it just doesn’t necessarily work that way. From between two to six months your baby will get into some form of routine and your aim is to try to make it so that they only wake once say between 10pm and 6am. However, if you make baby’s wake times during the day more active and feed more often through the day, the greater the likelihood that you can gradually get into a routine of making night time “quiet time”.
Establish A Routine
Even if you think it’s too early to establish a night time routine, it is a good practice. Somewhere between four and six months, you can expect your baby to have one long period of sleep of maybe six, even eight hours if your one of the rare lucky ones. Make sure that no sleep is too long during the day. When it comes to the long sleep, begin a different routine. Dim lights, quiet surroundings – maybe a certain lullaby. As your little one gets older, you might begin to tell a story – even if they don’t understand it. As your baby gets older you can adapt the routine to fit, but do your best to create a routine series of events as early as possible. After a while, your little one will associate the routine with bedtime.
You have a few options to try to get the schedule to suit you…
Try A Baby Blanket With A Silky Edge
Babies seem to love a silky feel against their cheek. All the better if it smells a bit like Mom. Once baby is a couple of months old, try using one particular little blanket with a satin edge with your little one during the day and then if it is near them in bed, they have a bit of “Mom” to snuggle to. Of course it would have to be safe and not a chocking or stifling hazard!
You Don’t Have To Change Baby Every Time!
It may seem horrifying to leave a baby in a wet diaper, but your aim is to create as little disturbance through the night time hours as possible. Keep the lights dim and noises down – especially if they have awoken for a feed. Make the feed as quick and as gentle as possible. Of course if your baby has dirtied her diaper, that’s a different story, but if you make a point of putting a good layer of diaper cream on late in the evening, you may get through the night without having to do a change, even if you have to give your bub a quick feed.
If you can bear the thought of possibly disturbing a sleeping baby, you could actually give them a feed just before you go to bed yourself. Some Moms swear by this method. They manage to gently lift their baby from the crib and give them a feed while the baby still sleeps and then put the sleeping baby back to bed. At least you know that they won’t wake up from hunger in the next two hours! The possible problem, of course is if the baby has wind and then is disturbed anyway. But it may be worth a try.
Make Sure Your Baby Doesn’t Get Over Tired
Newborn babies sleep erratically and lightly and it’s really hard to get a routine until around two months. But by then you will know how many sleeps your baby has during the day. Make sure that they get those naps – both for your sake and theirs. If your baby has been awake too long, adrenalin kicks in with over tiredness and then it becomes really hard to settle them down. So keep your baby’s day time naps regular and then their night time sleeps should become more that way too.
Some mothers swear by the ancient practice of swaddling – and others shout the idea down. It really depends upon the baby. It’s possible that babies awaken themselves with their own movements because, remember that tiny babies are light sleepers and they are used to the confines of the womb. Some experts say that swaddling a baby helps them feel secure and they are therefore less likely to awaken as easily. You can read more about swaddling XXhereXXX . Certainly you wouldn’t want to swaddle your baby for more than a few months, but they will give you the signal by attempting to wriggle out of their blanket.
Don’t Over React To A Baby Monitor
With today’s parents relying heavily on a monitor to alert them of any disturbances in the child’s room, it is very easy to over react and want to rush in at the slightest sound of disturbance. Babies sleep lightly and can be quite noisy. Use the monitor to make sure that your little one is really disturbed. Don’t use it as an excuse to jump in fear at every little murmur. In fact a video baby monitor can be a really useful tool to help you determine the situations when it is best NOT to respond to your baby because in fact, he may be able to sooth himself back to sleep. If your monitor has a lullaby feature, maybe using that at a very low volume may help.
With any luck these tips may help you. Unfortunately we can be our own worst enemy by setting our standards too high or by fearing the worst rather than trusting our own wisdom. We’re rarely as cruel as we think we are. If your baby has sleep problems, it is more likely their personality than your parenting. It is so important to look after your own well being so that you can be really there for your baby. You need your sleep, so do what it takes to get it.