Baby Sleeping Tips for Parents
Wednesday, January 7th, 2015
Baby Sleeping Tips for Parents By Parent Coach Aoife Lee
We all need sleep, whether you are a grown adult or a tiny new-born baby. More often than not parents sleeping comes naturally whereas for babies & children it takes time, consistency and perseverance. Although some babies maybe sleeping through the night from 3 months on, others may still be struggling to settle at one years and more. We essentially need to teach our babies to sleep and the good news is that although every child is different there are practical ways to support our children through this.
How Does Sleep Work?
When we fall asleep we drift from light to deep sleep that changes through the night following a particular pattern. Sleep cycles are pretty much the same for every child after about 3 to 4 months of age. New born babies do not know whether it’s day or night often sleeping from 16-18 hours a day. Whether your baby is bottle fed or breast fed makes no difference, they will wake 2 to 4 hours each time and will have an appetite for milk!
Consistency is key. Establishing a daily routine from the beginning is a great start. Routines whether it’s for feeding, napping & bedtime create security and a great comfort for your baby.
Although it can be a difficult prospect starting a routine it helps parents learn to interpret their baby’s different cries. Specifically for bedtimes, follow the same predictable routine with a feed, bath, soft music & lighting, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Even when your baby wakes at night maintain that dim lighting and quietness so your baby learns to differentiate between day & night time feeds.
Ideally encourage your baby to self sooth. Once your baby reaches 3-4 months they no longer need night time feeds for nutrition, as they enter into sleep cycles they will naturally wake. To avoid regular night time waking and to encourage them to fall back to sleep by themselves it begins with how your baby falls asleep in the first place. From as young as possible at bedtime, feed your baby until they are sleepy but not asleep, place them into their cot so they drift off unaided – without being rocked or fed to sleep.
Creating positive sleeping habits and associations from when our children are very young will instil sleeping and bedtimes as a normal part of everyday life as they grow. And as we all know… early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise!
Whether or not to use sleep routines for your baby is always a hot topic at mother-and-baby groups. Some believe wholeheartedly that your baby should lead her own development, much like on-demand breastfeeding, while others swear by enforced routines outlined by the many books available to buy on the subject.