If you are a new parent you are probably asking yourself the same question asked by parents since the dawn of time. How to get baby to fall asleep, and stay asleep long enough to get some rest yourself?
With all the parenting books, internet sites and other parents you can turn to, sleep in unfortunately the least predictable milestone in your baby’s life. Other milestones are pretty standard, as in teething ages, the ability to start on solid foods and when you can anticipate her first smile. However, nobody seems able to give you a concrete idea of when you might be blessed with more than a couple of hours sleep at a time.
Developing healthy sleep habits is very important and should be started from baby’s birth. After the initial period of getting to know your baby and watching her signals, you will be able to recognize and know when she needs to be put to bed.
Once baby reaches about two weeks of age, it’s time to start helping her to distinguish the difference between day and night. This is the first step to begin developing her sleep schedule. During daytime hours, take advantage of play time or singing using your normal tone of voice. Don’t stop yourself from daytime tasks. Baby needs to distinguish and grow accustomed to the variety of noises around him during the day.
It’s time to change things around when your baby wakes up during the night. Dim the lights and reduce noise as much as possible to avoid stimulation. This will help teach baby that night time is a quiet time. When he wakes up to feed, try not to talk very much, and remember not to be playful. The realization will occur soon enough that day time is play time, and nights are for sleeping.
Bedtime routines also play an important part in getting a bit more sleep. Try leaving bath time until right before bed. Warm water is very soothing to your baby, as is the whole bathing process. If you happen to notice that your baby gets too excited during bath time, this defeats the purpose of it being a calming experience. It might be best to move this to a morning ritual instead. Try to establish a new bedtime routine through soothing music or family bed-time stories.
Even when you are trying to establish a routine, when it comes to calming themselves many babies have challenges falling asleep. There are many opinions on the easiest way to help baby overcome these challenges.
One technique that many parents have found helpful is the crying down method that can be used when when baby reaches about 6 weeks old. If you’re sure your baby is not hungry and any other potential issues are taken care of, you might let your baby cry a little until she calms down. At first start with 5-10 minutes, but expect that if your baby has become over-tired or over-excited this could take as long as 20 minutes. If you are having trouble ignoring the crying try and wait 5-10 minutes before returning to baby’s room. Repeat this procedure until the baby can fall asleep on her own without the crying.
If you think that it would be a little tough to let such a young baby cry itself out, there are other techniques that may be better for you. For example, many parents prefer to pay closer attention to clues that indicate baby is ready to fall asleep, meaning bedtime may vary from night to night. Other parents may begin by lying down with baby and touching and talking to baby to provide comfort. Over time, the parent starts to provide less comforting interaction and moves further away, weaning the baby from the need to have the parent nearby to fall asleep.
Any way you look at it, babies are precious to their parents, but they still need to sleep. Listening to a few tips from others and a bit of patience, a sleep pattern that is beneficial to everyone will soon show the way to that good night’s rest.
Tags: beauty, Fitness, health, Mental Health, parenting, self improvement, sleep, wellness, women
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