Better Sleep...for you and baby!
If your little one is suffering from baby sleep problems, life can be very exhausting indeed. Sometimes it seems that baby just will not go to sleep, or not at any time when you can benefit from it. Try these tactics to help your baby to drop off to sleep quickly and peacefully.
Some babies will fall asleep to music. You could experiment with playing peaceful music quietly in the room. Many babies love being sung to, and a lullaby often works. You can also try reading repetitive stories or poems to the baby in a very calm voice, even if he or she is way too young to understand them.
Many babies feel secure when they are being rocked and you know how it can calm a baby to be walked around the room in your arms. Many babies will also fall asleep when they are walked in their stroller or driven in the car. It can be very frustrating to have baby sleep at these moments when you have no chance of sleeping yourself! But you could try putting baby in the stroller or the car and going for a very short trip.
You could also use a rocking crib for a newborn but look for one that can be fixed so it will not rock and only use the rocking facility when you need to. You do not want your baby to get used to it always moving when he or she moves. This would cause problems later when you want to transfer your growing child to a bed that does not rock.
Try not to transfer your anxiety about sleep to the baby. This can be hard to do when you are desperate for your child to doze off, but it is very important. The baby will feel your anxiety and associate it with sleep or nighttime, so that he or she becomes afraid to fall asleep or scared of the dark. This could cause sleep problems that continue long into childhood and even adulthood. Try to create the feeling that sleep is a pleasant and happy state to fall into and stay in, by keeping yourself as calm and happy as possible while you are trying to get your baby to sleep. Chill-out music may help you with your own emotional state.
If the current sleep routine that you are using is simply not working, consider making some changes either to the routine or to your lifestyle. You can try alternative times, have both parents put baby to bed together, change the baby's feeding routine, walks, daytime naps or the time that you get up in the morning. Do not try to force your baby into a routine that only suits you - you may have a baby with a very different temperament to your own.
Finally, if these tips do not help, seek professional advice. It is important to know what is normal and what is not, and to get some help for serious baby sleep problems so that they do not affect your ability to care for your baby.
Co-Sleeping With Baby...
Sleep sharing or co-sleeping is where you regularly share your bed with your baby while sleeping.
It is a common practice in many countries around the world and is becoming acceptable in more western countries with a greater number of parents.
The decision to co-share your bed or bedroom with your baby is one that needs to be made on a personal basis and you shouldn't let the opinions of others affect your decision.
There are reasons for and against sleep sharing with the major concern of those who are opposed to it being a fear for the baby's safety. Now days you can have a side sleeper attached to your bed for the baby, this keeps the baby at arms reach while safe in his own sleeping space.
Many mothers find that the convenience of having their baby in bed with them when it is time for feeding can help them to get more sleep and to sleep better knowing that they have access to their baby at all times through the night.
There is of course the concern that it might be difficult for the baby to sleep alone as it grows older.
Some babies actually sleep better alone and if that is the case then co-sleeping is not really an option.
If you and your partner are particular restless sleepers then co-sleeping will usually make this a bigger problem and there is also the danger of a baby sleeping with restless parents getting smothered unintentionally in the night.
This is the biggest concern of those people who are opposed to co-sleeping.
There are other factors that need to be taken into consideration such as the effect it will have on your intimacy with one another.
This can place additional strain on a relationship when it is often already stressed due to the addition of a new member to the family.
Sometimes it is a little more difficult to wean the baby off breast feeding as they have had the convenience of feeding whenever they like through the night.
As with most decisions you make concerning your baby there will be pros and cons for the actions you take and your decision to co-sleep needs to be made entirely based on your own personal preferences and circumstances.
Given the choice today I would choose co bedroom sleeping, using a side sleeper for my baby.
Sleep Time Routines...
The best way to make sure that you have a baby that sleeps well is to develop consistent routines that create good habits as this is the key to successful sleep patterns.
If your baby associates particular activities with sleep such as feeding, bathing and burping at the same times every day then it will become a lot easier for sleep to come naturally as you will be helping to develop the habit of sleep.
Other factors that will help to induce the right sleep patterns are for you to put your baby down for sleep in the same locations each day or night.
This is another way of developing habit patterns and it also makes it easier on the child as they will be in familiar surroundings when they awake each time.
Familiar sounds can also help to induce sleep and you should always make the lead up to sleep a calm and happy time for your baby as the results will be far more effective.
Once you settle on a pattern that seems to be working stick with it and try to improve upon the results that you get rather than jumping from one technique to another to get your baby to sleep as this will only add confusion and make sleep time more difficult.
The more that the same pattern is followed the more effective it will become and the easier it will be to get your baby off to sleep each night or even during the day if you develop patterns for daily naps.
You need to persevere with setting the scene for sleep as it will get easier the more you do it.
While it might seem a bit of an ordeal initially the benefits will far outweigh the time it takes finding the right balance in your child's pre-sleep regime.
There is no set rule determining the amount of time that your child should sleep.
You need to understand that every child is different and while some children can go to sleep easily and sleep for long periods of time others can be quite restless and wake often while sleeping very little.
Provided a child is contented don't be overly concerned about sleep patterns initially as they will in time become more regular unless there are some other conditions that need to be checked by your doctor.
You can try to make your life a little easier by getting your child to go to sleep without requiring undue attention from yourself as this will make your life a lot easier in the longer run.
As you get into more regular patterns with your own life your child will adapt also and this will make life a lot easier and more contented for both of you.
If your child is crying consider what might be causing the discontent but don't be overly concerned as often it is just the way of communicating.
The time you spend with your child is very valuable to its development but it will also require time on its own to be able to amuse itself and be contented without you being around all the time and this is a gradual process that you need to work towards.
Toys can help to keep your child amused and while you don't need to go overboard on the expenditure on toys it is well worth buying a few just to free up some of your own time.
By associating specific actions with sleep it becomes a lot easier for your child to go to sleep so try to be as regular as possible with the various different events that lead up to sleep time.
Getting Enough Sleep...
For optimal development your baby will need sufficient sleep and getting that solely at night time isn't enough.
Your baby should be having regular naps throughout the day and this is also a good time for you to have a nap to recover some of the lost sleep that you will have been missing.
These short naps are as good for you as your baby as they will help to reduce your levels of stress while recharging your batteries.
They will also help you to control your own body weight as a lack of sleep is one of the reasons why many people have weight problems as there is a tendency for you to eat more and your metabolism will slow down causing you to store more body fat.
Some babies will nap at regular times throughout the day and others will nap as they feel like it.
There won't generally be a regular pattern for newborns as they will nap for 2 - 4 hours at a time throughout the day and night.
As they age they will start developing more predictable sleeping patterns and this will make life a lot easier for you to plan.
You will usually be able to tell when your child is due for a sleep due to signs such as eye rubbing, getting irritable and so on.
One thing that you will need to consider as your child gets a little older is whether they should be having naps later in the day as sometimes this can affect their ability to sleep well at night where they might feel that they are already rested enough.
If you do have a problem with your child going to sleep at night it would be wise to see if missing the afternoon nap will help. More often than not this will work as they will become more tired at their regular bedtime.
Sleeping Through The Night...
Getting baby to sleep through the night is something that every new parent dreams of. But babies' habits change slowly and it is is not something that you can hope to achieve with a newborn in a short time. Concentrate on developing a regular routine and a secure environment so that your baby's sleep time will gradually lengthen as nature intends.
Do remember that it is normal and natural for a newborn baby to wake often. In the womb the supply of nutrients through the bloodstream was constant. Now they suddenly have to deal with taking in milk and digesting it in their small stomachs. At first they cannot take so much at a time and so they need to be fed more often. They will wake when hungry. So it is a good idea to encourage your baby to take as much milk at each feed as possible, although of course you do not want to try to force this or create any anxiety around feeding. But naturally, as their stomachs are able to deal with larger feeds, they will sleep for longer.
All parents know that there is no way to force a baby to sleep, or stay sleeping when he or she is wakeful. Create a safe environment for your baby to sleep in. Most babies like to be enclosed in a crib when they sleep, to resemble the womb. Of course they need to be warm and dry and the room should be quiet. This will help them to stay sleeping longer, and in time you will find your baby wakes less and less often until he or she is sleeping through the night.
Some babies like to have gentle music playing as they drift off to sleep, but it is best to turn it off immediately they are asleep so that they do not become dependent on it. Any loud noise will disturb your baby's sleep patterns even if they seem to sleep through it at the time. They may wake when the noise ends, or simply have a more restless night. So when you are watching a noisy movie on TV with gunshots or loud music, go into your baby's room for a moment to see if the sounds can be heard from there. If you are concerned about not hearing the baby if he or she cries, get a simple baby monitor. This is better than leaving doors open and having noise disturb the baby.
If you are using cloth diapers and finding that your baby is waking more often that you would like during the night, you could try switching to disposable diapers. These take the wetness away from the skin so that the baby is not so likely to feel uncomfortable and can continue to sleep after passing urine. With a cloth diaper, the baby can feel the wetness and is more likely to wake.
Waking during the night more frequently than normal can of course be a sign that your baby is uncomfortable and if you cannot see the reason for this, you should consult your doctor. Teething, colic, wind and skin rashes can often cause this, but there is a possibility of more serious health problems.
Do not forget to consider your own health too. If your baby's sleep patterns are causing you anxiety, stress or exhaustion, consult your doctor or baby clinic nurse. Warning signs that you need help include irritability, forgetfulness, clumsiness and frequent minor accidents.
Although infancy can seem endless, try not to let your baby's sleep problems dominate your life. Sooner or later you will be getting baby to sleep through the night in a natural way so that all of the family can live a stress-free life!
How To Stop The crying...
One of the most commonly asked questions of most new parents is how to stop their baby from crying.
There are many different reasons why a baby is crying and there are as many solutions to solve the problem. Once you know that all your baby's needs are met with feeding, warmth and toileting then other than a problem such as teething it is most likely comforting that is required to settle down the crying.
What works for one baby might not be so successful for another and you are sure to get many suggestions from people you know on what works best for them.
What makes it even more difficult for some parents to understand is why one method worked so well for one of their children and is totally ineffective for another of their children. This is just one of the many joys of parenting and an example of why so many people struggle with bringing up a child especially when it is their first born.
The simple solution is to try one method after another until you find one that works for you.
Some babies like rocking to relax them while others like a particular type of music.
Here are some options that you might like to try. I am of course assuming that your baby has been fed and doesn't have wet or soiled nappies.
First you will need to check whether there have been any changes in your baby's daily routine that might have caused an unsettling disruption? If so you might need to rearrange your plans and revert back to your former routine and make changes a little more gradually.
Are you giving your baby enough attention? It is very easy with all the additional work that has been brought about by having a newborn in the family to find it difficult to manage your time where baby gets sufficient attention.
Newborns are particularly demanding especially in the first few months. They can also pick up on your stress levels and that can be unsettling for them.
Ensure that your baby is well wrapped and warm as this will give it a sense of comfort and security. Alternatively if the weather is particularly warm then over heating could be the cause of distress.
Invest in a baby carrier that you can wear while you go about your chores so your baby is with you and the swaying motion of you walking will often put a baby to sleep.
Some babies find comfort in the motion of a ride in a car but you don't want to make a habit of having to go for a drive each time the crying starts.
A warm bath can be soothing and sometimes the simplest things like a dummy to suck on is all that is needed.
Think of things that might comfort you but don't resort to giving your baby chocolate even though that might be the first comforting thought that comes to mind for you.
Sleep For You...
Not only is it important that your baby gets sufficient sleep but you also need to get sufficient sleep in order to be able to care for the babies needs.
While you won't be able to change when your baby requires feeding for some time you should take advantage of the times that it is sleeping to get some additional sleep of your own.
Cat naps throughout the day when the baby is asleep can go a long way to help you cope with the sleep deprivation that is expected in the early weeks and months of the baby's life.
You should work towards getting your baby to go off to sleep while you are going about your normal work and don't get into the habit of sneaking quietly about the house as this will only train the baby to sleep when there is complete silence.
Also try to get your baby to go off to sleep on its own rather than relying on you to be lying beside it for it to go off to sleep.
It's not a good habit to get into to have to have the baby sleep with you in your own bed on a regular basis in order to settle it down for sleeping as this becomes a 'trained problem' that you will need to wean your baby off.
You will expect to have a lot less time to yourself in the beginning however if you are ever feeling down or overwhelmed then just remember that everyday you get one day closer to easier times when you will have more time and be able to cope better.
Don't use your babies sleep time to get extra work done if you are already over tired when a short sleep could do you the world of good.