Develop Good Sleep Habits in your baby

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Develop Good Sleep Habits in your baby

October 13, 2016

Written by: Eugene Gabriel

Newborns love to sleep. They can sleep for 16 – 17 hours a day, but can make you sleep deprived. The reason is that even though they sleep a lot, most newborns won’t stay asleep for more than 2 – 4 hours at a time. They have a tiny stomach and need to be fed and changed every 2 – 3 hours. For parents, this means waking up multiple times during the night to tend to the baby’s needs.

Babies also have shorter sleep cycles. At birth, if they are sleeping 16 hours in a day, half of it will be REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the phase of sleep in which we dream. Experts claim that this REM sleep is necessary for the baby’s creativity and brain development. Older children and adults spend less time in REM sleep. As your baby grows he will spend less time in REM sleep and more time in deep non REM sleep. In other words, he will start to sleep for longer intervals.

By 3 – 4 months of age your baby is officially out of the newborn phase and his sleep pattern will begin to organize. He will sleep for shorter intervals during the day and longer intervals during the night. By month 6, some babies can sleep throughout the night. However, most still need 1 – 2 feeds in-between. Although this will get better as your baby grows, some babies keep waking up during the night even in their toddler years. So you will have to work consistently to develop a good sleep routine for your baby and help him achieve the point where he can sleep through the night. The earlier your baby gets to that point, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy peaceful uninterrupted sleep at night.

Tips on Developing Good Baby Sleep Habits

Handling newborns is hard and managing their sleep routine is even harder especially when you are sleep deprived. You can start working towards establishing good sleeping habits for your baby as soon as he is born. Here are a few tips to help you with that:

Teach your Baby the Difference between Day & Night

Some babies are night owls. They stay awake longer at night and sleep soundly at day. This can be a problem especially if you are not a night owl yourself. Teach your baby to distinguish between night and day. When he wakes up in the morning wash him and change his clothes to freshen him up, so he knows it’s the start of the day. During the time he is awake, interact with him and let him play with his toys. Also, don’t mind if there are any background noises at this time, like the television or the washing machine. They are in fact good for him to learn that it’s the time of the day when things are running. Keep the room well lit and try to keep him awake if he tends to sleep while feeding.

During the night, turn off the lights to keep the room dim and make sure the surroundings are peaceful and calm. Even if your baby is awake try not to interact much with him. Your baby will eventually learn that night time is bed time.

Look for Signs of Sleep Readiness

Your baby may not be able to establish sleeping and waking patterns on his own and you will have to help him. He will, however, show signs of being tired and ready for sleep such as:

  • Rubbing Eyes
  • Pulling Ears
  • Staring at Objects
  • Looking Away
  • Yawning
  • Fussing

Watch your baby for these signs and try to put him to sleep. Soon you will begin to learn your baby’s daily rhythms and patterns which will help you establish a healthy sleep routine.

How to help your Baby fall Asleep

Feeding or rocking your newborn to sleep might seem like an easy option at the beginning, it may prove to be otherwise in the long run. Be careful of what sleeping habits you develop for your baby early on, as this is what they will learn. If you rock your baby to sleep every time for the first few weeks, he will learn that and expect you to keep on doing the same. Similarly, if you nurse your baby and let him fall asleep in your arms, he will expect that every time.

 

Parenting experts suggest that it’s best to make your baby sleepy in your arms while nursing or feeding and then place him down in his cot to sleep. This way he will learn to sleep on his own.

We hope these tips will help you establish a good sleeping routine for your baby. Just remember, it may seem tough at the beginning but be consistent and you will eventually be able to set up a good sleep routine for your baby.

About Author:eugene

Eugene Gabriel has always been fascinated about sleep and the effects of good quality sleep, or the lack of it, on productivity and overall well being. See his article on ways for getting better rest. Follow him on twitter @eugenegabrielj.

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