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Is Your Baby Sleeping?
One of the most satisfying experiences for a parent is soothing a fussy baby into sweet slumber. This is not always achieved easily! Are you aware of the amount of sleep required for a healthy baby? We’ll get to that as well as educate you with awesome tips and products that will help you in your quest.
The main reason newborns have such a difficult time falling asleep is because of their inability to distinguish between night and day. While they can’t be blamed for this, it sure can be exhausting to parents who do understand the difference. Sleep is just as important for parents as it is for their new bundles of joy. Attempting to tend to a newborn while drowsy can be incredibly difficult not to mention, unsafe!
The good news – it’s possible to adjust your sleeping patterns to your newborn’s sporadic bursts of sleep.
The better news – you can introduce different behaviors as well as sleeping aides to help them adjust to yours.
Parenthood is filled with too many once-in-a-lifetime experiences to travel through it exhausted!
How Much Sleep is Enough?
While sleeping needs may vary from baby to baby, it is crucial to make sure your little one is getting the amount as recommended by experts. These standard guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine reflect total sleep hours in a 24-hour period. That means, if your child prefers an afternoon nap, this time should be accounted when calculating their sleep hours.
- Infants (4 to 12 months) – 12 to 16 hours per day.
- Toddlers (1 to 2 years) – 11 to 14 hours per day.
- Preschoolers (3 to 5 years) – 10 to 13 hours per day.
- Grade Schoolers (6 to 12 years) – 9 to 12 hours per day.
- Teenagers (13 to 18 years) – 8 to 10 hours per day.
- Mom and Dad – 7 to 9 hours per day.
These guidelines have been scientifically proven to be beneficial to our mental state and overall health.
A common problem parents make is assuming their children can get by on the same amount of sleep as them. How many times have you, as a parent, slept a couple hours a night so you could get caught up on housework or finish up an assignment for work? The busy hustle and bustle of adulthood can be a tough pill to swallow, but be sure you’re being proactive in making healthy-sleep habits for your little one!
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, regular sleep deprivation can lead to serious behavioral and health conditions in children. These dangerous issues include – irritability, difficulty concentrating, hypertension, obesity, headaches and even depression.
The positive benefits of healthy-sleeping habits in your children are tremendous! They include – healthier immune systems, better behavior, memory and mental health. As parents, it is our responsibility to get our children on a sleeping schedule and keep it consistent, no matter how many times we may have to read their favorite bedtime story!
Getting to Sleep
Attempting to get your child on a steady sleep schedule can be a struggle. If you ever get discouraged, keep in mind the positive health benefits your little one gains by efficient sleeping. It makes the task much more rewarding and easier to manage.
Infants sleep A LOT! Especially during the first few weeks, your sleeping schedule will be shaken up beyond recognition. It’s easy to imagine that you’ll never get a good night’s sleep again, but don’t worry, this stage will be quick once you introduce healthy-sleep habits.
Since an infant cannot differentiate between night and day, it’s important for you to take proper steps to teach them.
This can be accomplished during the day by allowing ample amount of sunlight inside or by spending time outdoors. Keeping your little one active while the sun is shining gives a sense that daylight means awake time!
If your infant does begin showing signs of fatigue, it’s important to get them to their crib or bassinet before they fall asleep. By accomplishing this, your infant will be able to fall asleep in their regular structure and connect it with bedtime. The bedroom is the one area of your home where you’ll want to block the sun and even use dimmers for the lights. It’s another great way to help your infant associate lower-light levels with sleep expectations.
Stand Your Ground
Another way to encourage your infant to fall asleep can be a tough one for many parents, emotionally. When putting your child down for their designated bedtime, don’t be surprised if they’re less than pleased. Allowing your child to go through a tear-filled tantrum can be an anxiety inducing experience for parents. However, it is important to stand your ground and attempt to wait out their outburst until sleep sets in.
If the hysterics continue, it is recommended to perform a check-up periodically. It requires a perfect balance that shows your baby you are there for them but you won’t give in to their demands of staying awake. You may struggle for the first few times this happens but by staying consistent, your child will soon learn that crying won’t produce the results and attention they desire!
To ensure your infant is sleeping the recommended time of 12-16 hours, naps will likely be a common occurrence. However, excessive napping or the wrong timing can sabotage your attempts at creating a solid schedule.
A common reason to blame for your child having a difficult time falling asleep or throwing intense tantrums in the morning is over-napping. Keeping a log of the times and durations your child sleeps throughout the day makes it easy to monitor and adjust their napping schedule.
During the first month or so, attempts at developing a schedule are futile. Most newborns tend to sleep in short bursts that last about two to four hours. Until you notice a more regularity in your child’s sleep pattern (usually when they’re around six to eight weeks old) you should allow them to sleep as much as they need. Adjusting to a new perspective of the world is an exhausting experience for a newborn!
When the time comes to begin planning naps, it is important to space them out far from your infant’s desired bedtime. It’s also crucial to get everyone in your child’s life involved in the healthy sleeping schedule you desire. If your infant has a caretaker or daycare provider, make sure they are involved and supportive.
Importance of a Routine
Structure is important to many different aspects of parenthood, especially introducing sleeping patterns to your baby. The more consistent your process is in putting your infant to sleep the better! Consider using this helpful program, developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics – Brush, Book, Bed.
- Each night, help your children brush their teeth. This is a great way to introduce oral-health care to your child, even if their teeth haven’t began developing. Gently wiping down your baby’s gums will promote healthy development when their pearly whites do start popping through!
- Read a favorite book, or two. A relaxing story featuring your child’s favorite characters helps pave the way for a restful slumber.
- Get to bed at a regular time each night.
With firm consistency, this routine will become a welcome pattern for your baby!
Even by following strict guidelines, your infant may fuss and attempt to fight sleep. Luckily, you’re not alone! You have several awesome options when it comes to baby-products that will help enhance your efforts.
Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions on sleeping safely with these products. Some should only be used as an aid rather than a permanent solution.
The Almighty Pacifier
For years, the pacifier has been one of the most helpful tools parents have relied on for getting baby to sleep. Experts believe this is because babies suck their thumbs before they’re even born. This reflex creates a soothing and calming effect that often leads to bedtime. According to the AAP, pacifiers also reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
The soothing sway provided by a baby swing can be all it takes to get your baby asleep. It’s important to safely buckle and monitor your precious child while the swing is in motion. Experts suggest that a swing should be used as a relaxation tool rather than an area for long periods of sleep. Once you see your baby dozing away to the steady back and forth motion, gently transfer them to their permanent sleeping structure. We have reviewed the best baby swings on the market today.
The first time I heard of swaddling was in the delivery room with my newborn daughter in my arms. At the nurse’s insistence, I learned to swaddle and watched my little beauty transform from terrified to a state of complete serenity. While it’s possible to swaddle with any blanket, consider using one that is meant for it. You can find plenty on the market that make the process a breeze. The AAP considers these blankets a helpful tool that gives a newborn the feeling of familiarity of their mother’s womb. Inquire with your doctor about safety precautions when using the swaddle technique.
Have you ever felt more refreshed and alert after falling asleep to a thunderstorm? This occurs because your brain interprets these sounds as non-threatening and more as background noise. This is also true in infants and gives you a great advantage! Research shows that relaxing noises like rain, waterfalls and waves on the beach have a positive effect on assisting your baby into slumber. Consider purchasing a model that features several different sounds to give yourself and your child plenty of options.
Overhead Crib Mobile
Younger children can easily fall asleep to the recognizable motion achieved by an overhead mobile. They provide visual and sound stimulation as well as relaxation. Consider these awesome sleeping tools similar to the “counting sheep” method that adults sometimes use to fall asleep. Most of the time, you can find a mobile that features your child’s favorite characters, making bedtime seem more comforting. Note: These newborn sleep aides may become a distraction for older children, so take this into consideration as your child grows older. As with all baby products, be sure to monitor your little one’s behavior when you introduce a mobile into their lives and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on safety.
Creating and sticking to a healthy-sleep schedule for your baby is no easy task. It’s important to remember how solid consistency and a firm plan can help you in making it easy for your little one to fall asleep. Your precious child may avoid sleep to take in the exciting sights that their brand-new world provides. Introduce a schedule and positive sleep habits to make sure you and your baby are getting sufficient amounts of rest.