It is very important that you teach your baby how to sleep, not just how to sleep, but how to sleep properly. There is so much for you to learn about your baby when it comes to sleeping, this baby sleeping guide contains necessary information about babies and sleeping to help you understand the whole process better.
Why sleeping is very important for your baby
Sleep plays a very important role in the physical health of every human being. Having enough sleep is helps in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Not having enough sleep can increase risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease. For babies, when they sleep, the blood supply to the muscles is increased, important hormones are released for the growth and development of the baby. It also helps restore energy and repair body tissues. What all these means is that sleep is very important for everyone, but you can say it is more than important to babies.
What Makes a Good Night’s Sleep?
There are many things involved in making sure your baby has a good night’s sleep, some of them include;
A Quiet Room
Your baby cannot have a good night’s sleep by sleeping in a room that is not quiet, you as an adult cannot too. Make sure the room is quiet, you can also add white noise if you want.
Dark or Dimly Lit Room
Too much light in the room is another discouraging factor for a good night’s sleep. If you do not want your baby’s room all dark, dim the lights or make use of a soft, bedside lamp.
Moderate Room Temperature
The temperature of the room should be moderate, not too hot, not too cold. It has been said that overheating can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in babies. For babies to sleep comfortably, a room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
Everyone needs fresh air, you will hardly be comfortable if the air is not fresh, so too will your baby be. Babies need fresh air because it helps them to sleep longer at night and that is ideal for them to get a good night sleep.
How much sleep do your baby need
The amount of time or hours baby needs to sleep varies, but you should know the recommended sleeping hours to ensure your baby is getting enough.
- 0 – 3 months old; Babies of this age needs to sleep for about 10 – 11 hours each night and about take about 4 – 5 hours nap time during the day.
- 4 – 5 months old; Babies of this age needs to sleep for about 10 – 12 hours each night and about take about 2 – 4 hours nap time during the day.
- 6 – 8 months old; Babies of this age needs to sleep for about 11 – 12 hours each night and about take about 2 – 3 hours nap time during the day.
- 9 – 17 months old; Babies of this age needs to sleep for about 11 – 12 hours each night and about take about 2 – 3 hours nap time during the day.
- 18 months – 3 years old; Toddlers of this age needs to sleep for about 10 – 12 hours each night and about take about 1 – 3 hours nap time during the day.
- 3 – 5 years old; Toddlers of this age needs to sleep for about 10 – 11 hours each night and about take about 0 – 3 hours nap time during the day.
- 5 years and above; Toddlers of this age needs to sleep for about 9 – 10 hours each night and do not necessarily need to take naps.
What might keep your baby awake
Some babies may find it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. It could be that there are some things keeping them awake, some of the things that might keep your baby awake include;
If your baby has formed a habit of sleeping with a particular thing or object (sleep association), it may be difficult for him to fall asleep if it is not available. It can be anything, a toy, the pacifier, anything your baby is fond of. You should try to change these sleep associations early so your baby will learn how to fall asleep without needing that object.
Certain Development Stages
Babies get nervous at times especially when they reach a developmental milestone like when your baby learns how to pull up, crawl, walk or talk. It’s normal for them to get anxious which may make them wake up at night. If that is the case, there is not much you can do than trying different soothing methods or allowing it to pass.
When your baby is Teething
This is usually the case because babies find it very hard to stay asleep when the milk teeth is emerging. During this time, it is likely for their gums to swell and get sore, this causes them pain and makes them fussy. There are ways by which you can ease these pains, like making use of teething gels and giving them small doses of paracetamol and ibuprofen.
If your baby is hungry before going to bed, believe me he falls asleep, he will wake up in the middle of the night and cry on top of his voice. When hunger is the case, you already know what to do but feeding late in the night is not advisable. To avoid this make sure your baby is well fed before bedtime.
When your baby has colic, it can keep your baby awake and prevent him from having a healthy sleep. You know if your baby has colic mainly from doctors diagnosis and you should start finding possible solutions to it immediately too, because it is really not a nice situation. You can try some natural remedies in treating baby colic, they work best.
How important is soothing to your baby
Soothing is very important for your baby to sleep and you would come to benefit from soothing more when your baby learns how to self soothe. Below are some of the reasons why soothing (self soothing especially) is important;
- Soothing helps make your baby feel calm and relaxed. When your baby is calm and relaxed, he can quickly fall asleep and also enjoy his sleep as well.
- If your baby can self soothe, he will be able to fall asleep and stay asleep all by himself. This takes some work off your shoulder as your baby is now helping you.
- Soothing will make your baby’s bedtime routine easy to maintain. You can set up a schedule and when it’s time your baby won’t want to sleep, but when you soothe them, they definitely will sleep.
- Babies who can self soothe normally grow up to become toddlers who manage their tantrums better and it can also make them perform better in school (Strange but true).
How important is a baby bedtime routine
When talking about babies and sleep, a baby bed time routine is very important and it is something you should try to develop and maintain. Below are some of the reasons why your baby needs to have a daily bedtime routine;
- Your baby having a bed time routine helps him understand when it is time for him to get to bed. As you carry out your baby bed time routine everyday, you are actually training your baby to be organized and develop a good sleeping habit.
- A good bed time routine can help calm and soothe your baby to having a good night sleep. This is true since your baby will be active for few minutes before bed time.
- A baby bed time routine helps you as a mother to bond with your baby. It brings you and your baby closer so you get to know and understand each other better.
- Bed time routines can help your baby feel safe and secure at home and around family. When your baby gets used to his bedtime routine, it becomes easy for him to trust the parents as he can now predict what they do.
These are few, but should be enough to convince you. Now that you know just how important a baby bed time routine is, you should try to create a consistent and effective one for your baby to follow.
Sleep training has to do with helping a baby learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep all through the night. This is normally quick and easy for some babies to do, but the majority do have problems with sleeping and going back to sleep when they wake in the middle of the night, so you will need to help them with it.
When you should start sleep training
Babies are different, so the time that you should start sleep training differs. That being said, it is recommended that you start sleep training when your baby is between the age of 4 – 6 months. The signs that shows that your baby is ready for sleep training are likely to starts showing up when he is about 4 months old, most babies usually don’t feed much at night at this time and they may develop a sleep-wake cycle. Baby training can be done in a number of ways but these are the 3 major approaches;
- The no tears approach; In this process, you make sure your baby is very comfortable and does not cry (no tears) when it is time for sleep. You can soothe your baby to sleep and comfort him almost immediately when he cries.
- The cry it out approach; This process is in contrast with the previously mentioned one. The cry it out approach implies that you leave your baby to cry and not pick him up, unless it gets out of hand. By doing this, your baby will learn how to self soothe and be able to fall asleep on his own.
- The fading approach; You gradually fade away from your baby’s crib, one step at a time. You may sit close to his bed today, the next you move your chair a bit farther and so on. This also makes your baby learn how to soothe himself.
What you should know about Naps
Naps (Daytime sleeps) are really helpful, they provide you and your baby with rest. They are very important if you want to grow a healthy and happy baby. The number of naps a baby needs differ from age to age and you would need to have a nap routine, just like your bed time routine.
There are periods when some babies may refuse to take naps – more especially the older babies – though they are tired and still needs to rest. If this is the case, it could be that your baby is having more than or less than enough sleep during the night so you should try adjusting his bedtime. It is not easy to make your baby get the right amount of naps they need as babies can be stubborn at times. You should just be patient and be consistent with the nap routine, your baby will surely catch up with time.
Sleep regressions, what are they?
This is the last thing I will be talking about in this
baby sleep guide – sleep regressions. It is a common situation among most newborn babies and it gets parents really confused. Take for instance, your baby who has been sleeping soundly every night suddenly starts waking at night, just like that, for no reason. Or your baby no longer takes naps, and when he does, he wakes up almost immediately – that is what sleep regressions means. It usually happens between 1 – 4 weeks after your baby is born.
To handle sleep regressions, you just have to put more effort in soothing and comforting your baby to sleep. Make sure everything needed for a good night’s sleep is available and everything that will prevent sleep is removed. You can also try putting your baby in bed more earlier so he has enough time to get sleep.