Lulling Your Baby to Sleep from 0 – 3 months

Babies are a lot of fun to be around and play with. Except when it’s bedtime when she just refuses to go to sleep. Getting your baby to match your routine sleeping patterns is good for everyone. However, this is not always possible during the early weeks, as your babies are unable to differentiate between day and night. As such, their body clocks are out of whack, leading to sleepless nights and sleep-deprived parents. This is without doubt one of the first major challenges for new parents.

Though it may seem like an eternity, take heart! This sleep-deprivation phase will only last for a few weeks. In the early weeks, babies have shorter sleep cycles than adults, with interspersed light, easily disturbed sleep. On the whole, babies will sleep for about 16 – 17 hours in a day, often waking up in between sleep sessions.

From 4 weeks onward, begin to introduce a sleep routine for your child. Newborns can be encouraged to sleep less and be more active during the day, by exposing them to light and noise. As evening approaches, reduce the ambient light and noise to help them adapt to a sleeping climate.

In this reading, we share a few tips to help your baby (and you) to get some quality sleep!

 

1.  Plan Your Sleeping Arrangements

Recent studies have pointed out the benefits of Co-sleeping for babies, helping them to sleep longer and more soundly. Kidshealth.org has given a neat description of what this may be.

Co-sleeping: This is when a parent and child sleep within a "sensory" distance of each other, meaning that each can tell that the other is near by their touch, sight, or even smell. (Co-sleeping is sometimes also called sleep-sharing.)

This can be classified into Room-sharing, which is commonly practiced by new parents, and Bed-sharing, which admittedly may not be everyone’s cup-of-tea, due to the potential dangers to the small infant. However, each type of Co-sleeping arrangement has the benefit of bringing the newborn within “sensory” distance of her parents, and has a calming effect on the baby.

Of course, we cannot neglect to mention that sleeping posture is very important for newborns. Instead of having them lie down on their stomach, a leading cause of breathing obstruction and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), pediatricians recommend that you place your baby on her back when sleeping during the first year.

It may be interesting to know that infants fall asleep more easily in the presence of family noise rather than complete silence. A soothing, continuous noise could work as a sleeping tactic. Aim for a noise level of 50 dB, which is akin to somebody taking a shower (without singing of course). Alternatively, play some light music to help your child drift off to la la land.

 

2.  Refrain from too much baby activity

Contrary to common sense, the more tired a baby is, the more difficulty she has in sleeping. It can be frustrating to get your baby to fall asleep in this scenario. Therefore, watch out for these signs of an overtired baby.

  1. She may attempt to stay awake by rubbing her eyes
  2. She may be reluctant to make eye contact, or avoid stimulating sources
  3. She may fuss, yawn, or start to hiccup (which is so cute!)

To help your baby to get some much-needed rest, try swaddling her. Swaddling re-creates the same environment that they were exposed to for 9 months in the womb, giving babies a sense of familiarity and comfort. So swaddle them! If you know some lullabies, these work well too. Don’t be too concerned about how good or bad you sound; it’s the sound of your voice that babies will take comfort it. Other calming activities include reading a book in a darkened room, ad playing continuous, soothing music.

 

3.  Identify the cause of sleeping problems

If all else fails, it’s time to put on your detective glasses and try to identify the cause of the sleeping problem. Common causes range from overstimulation, underfeeding, to gastro-intestinal discomfort and even to clothing which fit too snugly.

Overstimulation occurs when babies’ senses are overloaded with stimulation, from bright lights, sudden loud noises, and even by getting dressed/undressed, and being jiggled or patted.

Underfeeding and gastro-intestinal discomfort arises from ineffective feeding cycles or methods; solutions include adjusting the frequency of breastfeeding, adding infant formula to your baby’s diet, or managing the volume of milk given at each feeding.

It is important to be attentive to your baby’s needs, as they do not outwardly reveal their every intention. At 4 – 6 months, your baby’s sleep cycles would likely have improved, which is good news for everyone!

 You may want to understsand more  in depth about your newborn sleeping cycle  by following this link.

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