Sleeping Tips for Babies
One of the biggest challenges facing most parents is getting their baby to sleep not only through the night, but during the day, throughout their first year of life. In a perfect scenario, baby would sleep soundly for 12 hours per night plus 2-4 hours per day during nap time. However, for many parents, this is simply not the case. To help you get baby to sleep regularly, consider the tips outlined below.
Many define ‘sleeping through the night’ as 6 or more hours of consecutive sleep. Unfortunately, your baby may choose to begin their evening sleep stretch as early as 6 p.m. Try to keep in mind that you are doing a great job if this occurs early, and that eventually, baby’s length of sleep will extend, up to 12 hours.
Utilize the tips outlined below to help your baby sleep through the night as early as possible.
- Establish a Routine– Starting at six weeks of age, begin a regular bedtime routine. For example, you may bathe your infant, put them into their pajamas and nurse or offer them a bottle, in that order. Choose a specific time to begin this routine daily, and ensure that you repeat the same steps each and every night. In time, your baby will recognize the consistency and will understand that when these steps begin, that it’s bedtime.
- Create an Ideal Environment– Baby’s sleeping area should be quiet, dark, cool and comfortable.
- Drowsy, not Sleeping– Don’t make the mistake of rocking your baby to sleep! Place your baby into their crib when they are sleepy, so they can learn to fall asleep on their own. This is critical for teaching your baby how to sleep through the night.
- Don’t Run when the Baby Stirs– A baby’s normal sleep cycle, similar to an adult’s, is typically 90 minutes in length. This means that baby will stir several times throughout their evening sleep. If you accidently wake them from their sleep, they may not only become fussy, but they may have trouble falling back to sleep. When baby stirs, listen carefully to determine whether he is waking up, or simply stirring. If you allow baby to fall back asleep on their own, you are again teaching them how to self- manage sleeping.
In addition to bed time, parents must learn to teach their babies how to nap successfully. One of the biggest nap time tips is to learn how to observe your baby. If your baby is rubbing his eyes, he is already tired and will likely become fussy, resulting in a shorter than ideal nap time. Look for early cues that your baby is becoming tired to determine which times of day are ideal for nap time. For more babies, the morning nap develops around 9-10 a.m. and the afternoon nap beginning between 12-2 p.m. As with your evening routine, be consistent with naps. Start at the same time daily, repeating the same steps each time. With patience, your baby’s naps will develop into consistent time periods that will ensure that they are getting enough sleep daily (ideally 13.5+ hours total/day).
Getting your baby to sleep doesn’t have to be an impossible task. Pay attention to their cues, work to be consistent and in time, they will be consistent sleepers.