The constant nightmare of any new parent is their newborn not sleeping through the night. A newborn baby’s need for a feed is higher than the need for sleep. While they catch up with their sleep anytime anywhere, it is the parents who suffer from sleep deprivation. This leads to irritation and exhaustion throughout the day. Newborn babies (0-3 months) wake up, as it is their developmental stage, every 3-4 hours for a feed. Little older ones i.e. 4-6 month-old babies sleep for 6 hours at a stretch. Sleep pattern generally gets regularised after 6 months of age, though, of course, it depends on the health of the baby.
There can be other reasons why a baby does not sleep throughout the night. A wet cotton nappy or an uncomfortable bed can be other reasons. Taking all these into consideration the article gives a sneak peek at a few small changes that can be done to ensure the baby and the parents have a good night’s sleep and wake up fresh.
Ensure a bedtime routine
A regular routine of any work always helps in the setting up of a habit. Putting the baby to sleep at the night is developing the habit of resting at the night and working in the morning. A consistent bedtime routine like feeding, singing a lullaby, reading a book or telling stories drifts the baby to sleep. In addition to these activities, a specific time for sleeping ensures a well-rested and happy baby. Activities like a massage in the evening and a bath just before bedtime induce sleep. Similarly, playing with the baby also tires the baby helping him/her to fall asleep easily and for a longer duration.
Set up a calming atmosphere or environment
It is important to ensure the ambience of the room is dim and dark. A softly lit room helps in putting the baby to sleep. One can ensure talking softly and moving around noiselessly. Most babies wake up with a slight disturbance.
Switch to diapers at the night
A very common reason for waking up at the night is a wet nappy. The cold and wet cloth on the body is very uncomfortable for the baby. It is best to use diapers, at least, for the night. The diaper does the soaking and does not disturb the baby.
Keeping the child awake during the day
It is best to keep the baby awake most of the time during the day. This tires the baby in the night and he/she dozes off easily. Activities like playing with the baby or playing songs or rhymes keep the baby engaged for most of the time of the day. Having said this, one can keep an eye on the drowsiness of the baby. An overtired baby might end up being cranky. One can look out for signs like rubbing the eyes, crying, fussing over normal activities and yawning. Pushing the child beyond these for a longer duration may end up in an irritated child.
Invest in a crib or bassinet
Putting the child to sleep in a crib or bassinet indicates a place of sleep for the baby. This dissuades the child from sleeping while rocking in the arms. Thus slowly weaning out of the physical dependence of the baby on the mother. It also reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The crib or bassinet should not have any toys, pillows or any other objects that might harm or suffocate the baby. A comfortable mattress ensures a good night’s sleep. A definite place to sleep brings calmness and the baby sleeps peacefully without any distress. A snug crib gives a secure feeling to the baby.
Taking the child out in the daytime. Early morning outings in the natural light are a perfect source of Vitamin D. The outing in the sunlight, with protection, gives a sense of different times of the day to the baby. So the baby, over a period, understands it is playtime when the sun is out and sleep time when it is dark. A stroll in the evening is also a healthy way to tire the baby, aiding in a goodnight’s sleep.
Most infants sleep for about 16- 18 hours a day. Babies might wake up in the night for varied reasons. It can be hunger, discomfort, separation anxiety or even pleasure. Sleep might also be because of some health issues. Apart from health issues or any kind of illness, which a doctor can only help out, other reasons call for a combined effort by both the parents and sometimes even the family. Every child has different sleep patterns. A vigilant and caring parent can work out a solution effectively.
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