Throughout your pregnancy you keep imagining how complete and perfect your life would be once your baby comes into this world. You believe that he will be the best sleeper and eater – your perfect bundle of joy. But once you bring him home, you realize that parenting is not as easy as you thought. The first thing that you realize is that you can say goodbye to a good night’s sleep as you try different methods on how to get baby to sleep through the night.
If you are blessed with a magical baby who does everything that is Instagram-worthy, then parenting will be a smooth ride for you. But usually, this is not the norm. Many first time parents face issues like sleep deprivation and exhaustion especially during the first year. It is important to prepare your baby’s schedule as it will establish a routine and ease your stress.
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Understand Your Baby’s Sleep Requirements
During the initial two months, your newborn will need to be fed every two hours thus overruling her need to sleep. During these first two months, your baby may sleep up to 18 hours a day sometimes sleeping for almost 4 hours at a time. Babies cannot differentiate between day and night; therefore, it is quite possible that your baby will be wide awake during the night.
At this point, many parents become exhausted stumbling between the baby’s room and the bedroom with bleary and red tired eyes. The need for sleep becomes crucial, yet it is often elusive. It is important to understand the things that both help and hinder your baby’s restful sleep. The tips covered in this article will help your baby form good sleep habits from infancy and into childhood:
It is extremely important to understand that overtired babies find it extremely difficult to sleep. You may think that your baby cannot sleep, but this is usually the result of over-tiredness. Newborns can stay awake for very short periods of time. A newborn, up to six weeks old, can generally remain awake only for 20-30 minutes therefore once you have fed and changed him you will find them ready to sleep in half an hour.
This time increases as the baby gets older. At three months your baby can stay awake for an hour. Knowing this sleep pattern will help you understand what your baby needs when he starts to get irritable. He doesn’t need to be jiggled up and down; he doesn’t need to be played with-chances are that he wants to sleep. Catch the early signs of tiredness such as yawning or rubbing the eyes as this will help them sleep better for longer. Ensure that your baby gets good naps during the day as it will also ensure a good night’s sleep because your baby will be much more relaxed.
Swaddle Your Baby
Most infants sleep much better when they are swaddled, and it makes perfect sense why this is so. They have just left the safe environment of the womb where they were held snugly and tight. Swaddling the babies give them the sense of being held safely, relaxes them and helps them feel secure. Swaddling the babies has another added advantage; it prevents the babies from waking themselves up due to flailing arms and legs. Infants do not have control over their limbs that is why they often wake themselves up by hitting themselves in the face. For this purpose, a swaddle blanket is a perfect thing as it can drastically improve your baby’s sleeping instantly.
It is hard to imagine how a baby perceives this world. For an infant, everything is new and stimulating. Just looking around they can see so many shapes, objects, colors, and sounds which stimulates their senses. When infants get overstimulated, it becomes hard to settle them down to sleep and even if they do manage to sleep it is not a deep sleep and they often wake up after sleeping for a short while. Therefore, another important tip on how to get baby to sleep through the night is to avoid over stimulation. It is usual that when the baby starts to get irritable, we try to amuse them with a toy or start cooing thus confusing their tired cues for bored cues. This stimulates the baby making it hard for them to fall asleep as their nervous system gets energized rather than being relaxed thus taking it longer for them to settle down.
Follow a Sleep Routine
Having an established routine at bedtime and nap time will greatly help your baby sleep soundly through the night. This where the principle of association comes into play. This consecutive routine helps your baby learn that it is time to sleep.
Bedtime routines should be started early. They usually include a bath, feed, change and some quiet time. The best practice to follow is to stay in the baby’s room after you have bathed him but avoid playing. Make this a cuddly time.
Calm Your Baby Before Sleep Time
This tip about how to get baby sleep through the night is related to overstimulation. Babies, as with adults, require a period of settling down before they can sleep. At this time it is best to turn off music or television and go into the baby’s room that is quieter. Allow 10-15 minutes downtime, cuddling the baby in a swaddle or a blanket. You can also hum, sing or talk to your baby but do it quietly. Let your baby realize that it is time to relax.
Some babies like to sleep in the dark as it blocks out the various stimulating things around them. Pull the curtains and turn on a night lamp. This will help them settle down. If it is bedtime give the baby the last feed of the day in a dark and quiet place. Make sure that you are relaxed too because babies can pick up vibes from their parents. If you are stressed, try to relax as it will also help the baby to rest.
What to do when your baby wakes up at night
Newborns usually wake up two to three times during the night for feed and diaper change. As such times it is important that you stay in the baby’s room and don’t go in the living area and turn on the television as it may make the baby think it is time to get up. Avoid interactions with your baby while focusing on doing what is necessary.
It is important to make nighttime as boring as possible. This is not the time to chat or play with your baby, and you want to assert this if you want your baby to sleep through the night. If the baby does not require feed or changing do not pick him up. Try to soothe them by stroking or patting them without picking them up from the crib. If this does not help and the baby is still crying pick him up and settle him but be sure to put them back in their crib before they fall asleep. This allows them to learn to sleep on their own.
Following these tips will greatly increase the chances of your baby sleeping deeply all through the night thus allowing you to get all the sleep that you need.