Do your nights characterized by an endless cycle of wake-ups? Are you worried you are doing something wrong? Here are 5 effective sleep tweaks for newborn babies…
Spending time on the babies bed
This is one of the most common ways that parents unknowingly sabotage their baby’s sleep. New moms and dads tend to spend too much time rocking and holding their infants at the start of the night. As a result the little bundle of joy learns to fall asleep with this additional helps and soothing. What most parents don’t know is that when the baby wakes up at night they are already accustomed to being rocked and will have a hard time getting back to sleep alone without your help.
According to Judy Owens the director of the Centre for Paediatric Sleep Disorders at the Boston’s Children Hospital, anything goes during the first few weeks. However, after 3 months they need to be put down in the crib while still awake s that they learn how to self soothe. In the beginning they tend to cry for a while, but will soon get acclimatised to it.
Napping on the go is an absolute NO!
As much as possible the baby should only nap while in the crib no matter the time of day. If they get used to falling asleep in the car seat or stroller, then they will associate motion with sleep and will be unable to fall asleep in the crib. Aim for 60%-80% of the baby’s naps to be in the crib or bassinet.
Feeding is separate from bedtime
In the beginning (the first three months), it is perfectly fine to breastfeed the baby as you rock them to sleep. However, this must stop at three months. This is because by the time an infant is 3 months they are neurologically capable of forming sleep patterns. If you continue feeding and rocking them to sleep simultaneously you are making the associate feeding with sleep. Also try to feed the baby in another room other than their bedroom so that they do not associate feeding with nursing.
Pick a sleep-training method that works for you
When you are ready to start sleep training (not earlier than four months), you have two methods to choose from. According to Dr Lisa Medalie who is the director of the Insomnia Program at the University of Chicago, you can either let your baby ‘cry it out without re -entering the room’ or gradually increase the time between check ins from 10. If you are using the gradual method, avoid making eye-contact or rubbing the child’s back. Just ensure that your little one sees as you walking and out of the room. It makes them feel secure.
Give your baby the space to learn self soothing
Rushing in every time you hear your baby whimpering will be counterproductive in the long run. Give your baby time to self-soothe before you come rushing in. If you insist on rushing in every time you hear a slight sound, you will end up creating a ‘sleep monster’.