Any parent can attest as to how hard it is to get enough sleep during the first few months of a baby’s life. Sleepless nights are common for most parents because newborns are still yet to establish their sleeping pattern. Newborns spend most of their time sleeping. They can sleep for a total of 16 hours a day, but often in one or two hours per interval. Although this is common, a baby’s sleep pattern will become more consistent as the nervous system matures. As time passes, your baby will also be able to sleep longer in between feedings.
At three months old, most babies can sleep up to five hours during the night. By the time they turn six months old, it can be possible for babies to sleep longer. A baby’s sleep pattern is greatly affected by the number of feedings he needs during the night. However, at an early time, there are ways that can be done to help promote sleep for your baby.
It may help if you have some activities during the day with your baby. This can be simply done by spending time with your baby singing, talking and playing. Your baby can greatly benefit from these kinds of stimulation. You can also allow your baby to get used to household noises while you spend time with him. These may include the sound of running water, clock ticking and the sound of other household activities. Activities during the day can help in promoting better sleep during the night.
Parents should also establish a bedtime routine. It is important that your baby will associate these activities with sleep. You can choose activities that are relaxing like baths, singing or reading stories before bedtime. Playing your baby’s favorite bedtime music can also help induce sleep. Although these may sound so easy, it can greatly help in promoting sleep.
Putting your baby to bed when he is almost asleep can help your baby associate the bed with sleep. Avoid putting your baby on his stomach while sleeping because it is associated with SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome. A good position is to put your baby to sleep on alternate sides. This will prevent respiratory secretions to pool in one lung or the other.
A pacifier can help in settling infants but parents must be prepared for middle of the night crying spells when the pacifier falls off. The use of pacifiers can also lessen the risk of SIDS. It is common for a parent to instinctively pick up the baby from the crib when he fusses. Although this may be good, sometimes it is better to allow the baby to settle down for a few minutes. For some babies, stirring at night is normal and they are just trying to settle down. However, you need to make sure that your baby is not hungry or uncomfortable because stirring or wriggling at night, can also be a sign of your baby’s discomfort.
Although babies normally wake up for middle of the night feedings, parents should try to maintain his “sleeping environment”. While feeding or changing diapers, maintain the dim lights and avoid jerky movements. Your baby can easily mistake night time care for play time if you don’t maintain the calmness in the room.
Babies may have a very erratic sleep patterns. This can be quite tiring for parents who are trying to adjust to the demands of parenthood. Parents need to be supportive during this time while the baby is adjusting to the outside world. Your baby may need constant rubs in the back or cuddling, in order to feel secure enough to go to sleep. Sometimes all it takes is a parent’s presence so that the baby can go back to sleep. Caring for infants can be quite demanding, but the bright side is that, it will soon come to pass. As babies grow older, they will also adapt to sleeping patterns that will allow parents their much needed sleep.