6 Tips for a Successful Baby Sleeping Strategy
Getting your baby to sleep soundly is one of a mother's greatest challenges. When your child is constantly waking at all hours, it can be a stressful situation to everyone involved. Poor sleep can cause harm to his health as well.
For babies, sleeping is not just a chance to replenish their energy; it's also a time to learn about the world and themselves. If you want your child to sleep as soundly as possible and get the most out of his sleep, here are some guidelines that may help:
Tone Down Your Arguments To Help Baby Sleep
Take your disagreements outside, away from your baby's crib. Babies are well attuned to the moods of their parents and are likely to react to heated arguments. When your baby hears you and your partner's voices become raised, he produces heightened levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. This will disrupt his sleep patterns, which in turn will make him restless and anxious.
Show Some Love To Deal With Separation Anxiety
One reason babies wake so often is the fear of separation from their mother. Think about it: if you are a newly born child, and you are away from the most important person in your life for hours, the anxiety must be intense. That's why experts feel it's a good idea to always reassure babies and let them feel your empathy.
When you put your child to bed, try to look him in the eye, stroke his cheek, whisper to him, or sing gently. Try to avoid a stern attitude or "tough love," which usually makes things worse. The key is to come across as emotionally available for the baby, not distant. He needs to feel in touch with you as he drifts off to sleep. This allows his separation anxieties to recede.
Breastfeed Your Baby To Sleep
Breastfeeding isn't just a way to provide vital nutrients to your child. It is also a relaxing activity that helps to put him at ease and prepare his mind for deeper, longer sleeping periods. At about 3 months old, your baby will have begun to get used to his sleep routine. Now is the time to wean him off breastfeeding before bedtime. Put him to bed as he shows signs of drowsiness, rather than just as he falls asleep. That way, he can learn to disassociate breastfeeding from drifting off to sleep.
Don't Start Smoking Again After Giving Birth
One underrated reason to give up cigarettes is the transference of nicotine from your bloodstream to your breast milk, and then to your baby when you breastfeed. Because nicotine is a stimulant, it disrupts your baby's sleep. Researchers have found that sleep times can be reduced by as much as 37 percent by just a couple of cigarettes smoked hours before putting your baby to bed.
Allow Your Baby to Learn While They Sleep
Researchers have found that the brain's neurons develop rapidly while babies sleep, making it a vital period in their mental growth. Allow your baby to sleep for as long as his body needs to, not just because he can be cranky when roused early, but also because he is learning while he sleeps. The stimuli around him are being processed by his young mind and he remembers almost everything he hears during sleep.
Don't Worry If Your Baby's Sleep Patterns Are Erratic
Many parents become anxious if their child hasn't settled into a regular pattern of sleep after a few months. Don't worry. It's perfectly natural for babies to show erratic sleep patterns up to three years after birth.
However, if you do have serious anxieties about the amount of time your baby is sleeping, consult a nurse. Your parenting skills are probably not the issue, although there could be underlying health issues.
Babies are unpredictable little people. Their sleep habits are inherently chaotic, hard to fit around adult rhythms, and frustrating for many parents. The encouraging thing is, there are ways to help your child sleep longer. If you show some love, take your arguments elsewhere, let him sleep when he needs to, and refrain from smoking, your child can sleep more soundly and enjoy the benefits that a good night (or hour's) sleep can provide.