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Infant Sleep Problems And 7 Easy Ways To Fix Them

Sleeping is an essential part of all living. It is useful in brain growth, especially in the early life of a baby. If your infant has sleeping problems, there a few things you can do to change this.

Infant Sleep Problems And 7 Easy Ways To Fix Them

Sleeping is an essential part of all living. It is useful in brain growth, especially in the early life of a baby. If your infant has sleeping problems, there a few things you can do to change this.

Newborns have irregular sleep patterns before the development of Circadian rhythms. The Circadian rhythms start developing in a baby at the age of six weeks. At age three and six months, a baby will have developed the rhythms to form a regular sleep and wake pattern. Up to the age of two years, a baby will have spent 40 percent more time asleep than awake. A baby will, therefore, sleep more at such age to allow both physical and mental formation.

Sleep is categorized in two different states:

NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) or quiescent sleep

During this state of sleep there is increased blood flow that facilitates the  growth, and repair of tissues and release of essential hormones to aid body development.

REM (Rapid Eye Movement)

In the state of REM, there is an irregularity in both heart rates and breathing. Also, it is during this time that dreams occur due to the brain being super active.

Infants spend about 50 percent of their sleeping time in both NREM and REM states. They fall in and out of each sleep state that lasts about 50 minutes each. When they reach six months, REM takes 30 percent of their sleeping time. At preschool age, both sleep cycles lengthen to every 90 minutes.

Sleeping Tips for Infants

Every baby must have enough sleep to enhance the body and mental development. The following tips will help babies sleep at the set time. Treat sleep as an exercise and nutrition for your baby.

Calm Your Baby Before Bed Time

Set a quiet time for your baby before going to bed. Cut off all the excitement before bed time to induce nodding off.

Avoid any distractions that will interrupt quiet time with your baby. Put away games and switch off electronics such as phones,  TVs and computer. You can allow gentle music like lullabies to play quietly.

Scientific Reports, a research journal reports some survey results that TVs and video games before bedtime are linked to sleep problems and ‘delayed sleep onset.’

Set Bedtime Routine

Setting a bedtime routine can create a sense of responsibility for your baby. It can also help them set their mind for bedtime when in preparation routine.

Begin the routine with a relaxation period of about 15 to 30 minutes. Switch off any noisy distractions such as TV or computer. Dim lights, play relaxing music and whispering.

With that kind of preparation, your baby will get the urge for bedtime. Start your usual bedtime routine such as bathing, changing clothes, brushing teeth, bedtime stories, covering, and Goodnight kisses.

Setting a consistent routine is the essence of having the method which will help your baby set mind to bedtime.

Feeding Your Baby Well

For a newborn baby, in-between feeding is a must. They get hungry quickly and the reason to get short bouts of sleep.

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Still, you can improve that by making sure your baby is well fed by dream-feeding before your bedtime. The dream-feeding technique will help both you and your baby have longer sleeping time before the next feeding.

As your newborn grows, you can start delaying feeding a little longer when your baby wakes up for feeding. For instance, you can delay the feeding time by taking time to change or cuddling your baby.

As you continue lengthening the delays, you will eventually find that your baby has stopped night feeding entirely.

Don’t Rush to Intervene

Give your baby some time before intervening. Sometimes a baby can cry while sleeping. It could be a ‘dream cry.’ If you rush to intervene, then, you may be disrupting your baby’s sleep.

Allow your baby to be fully awake before rushing to intervene. It is usual for a baby to cry and probably fuss a bit before falling back to sleep.

Avoid Night-time Excitement

Many mothers create excitement when either changing a diaper or feeding the baby. It is sleeping time and not daytime, and therefore you should avoid excitement. Be quiet and create that sleep mood even when feeding your baby at night.

Excitement can only disrupt your sleep and your baby’s. Just the way it can take time for an excited baby to fall asleep at bedtime, the same case will happen even at night.

Stimulating your baby to get excited is one way to cause sleep problems with your baby. It can cause your baby to be fully awake at a specific time of the night.

Remember to keep the room as dark as you can. Bright light can disrupt your baby’s sleep.

Arrange for Your Baby’s Early Afternoon Napping Time

Avoid napping your baby too late in the afternoon. The longer the time between napping time and the regular sleeping time, the better it can be.

Avoid Disrupting Your Baby’s Sleeping Patterns By Fixing Strict Sleeping Times

Sometimes it can be hard to keep your baby awake up to bedtime without them dozing off. You can change this by shortening their daytime naps. You don’t have to do that; you do it gradually by reducing the time little by little until you create the schedule you want.

When you manage to increase the waking time between napping and bedtime, you can overcome the bedtime challenges of settling your baby to sleep. Only then, can you correct your baby’s sleeping problem.

Encourage Baby To Self-soothe

It is usual for anyone to wake up in the night, including your baby. It happens more times than we can tell or remember the following day.

Now that you know it is not unusual to wake up during the night even for your baby, avoid anything that can rouse your baby completely. Remember, it is very likely your baby will settle back to sleep if it was that moment of ‘sleep baby talking.’

As mentioned, avoid bright light even when peeking at your baby to see what is happening. Do it with as little noise as possible.

Allow Your Baby To Self-Soothe Back To Sleep

It is the most challenging part for most parents. Babies do cry at night either because they are wet, hungry, or seeking attention.

The attention-seeker baby is the baby who has the habit of sleeping in their mother’s hands. For such babies, they can be restless when sleeping on their own.

Therefore, they will cry to be picked back to the arms and to fall back to sleep. For such babies, they never learn to self-soothe. You would want your baby to learn this new habit for both your comfort.

Learn to do the ‘Western’ way where parents have learned to break the habit of soothing babies to get sleep.

How do they do it?

There are specific rules you must strictly follow.

Never allow your baby to form the habit of sleeping in your arms. Place your baby in the bed immediately after feeding or changing and when feeling sleepy.

That way, you will be assisting your baby to form the habit of self-soothing. It might be hard for both of you to break the habit of your baby sleeping while breastfeeding. Love your baby more by teaching them to be self-soothing.

Babies who are used to sleep while being held will be dependent on cuddling both at daytime and at night.  Hold your baby to sleep at your peril. You will continue doing that even when your baby turns to middle calls. Such babies have a tendency of having frequent night waking and therefore having sleep problems.

Form a Strict Sleeping Time

Help your baby to sleep longer and better at night by setting regular sleeping times. When you form a consistent sleeping time, your baby will always sleep fast without any problem.

Encourage your baby to keep to a sleeping routine. That way, the mind will connect to the set routine and always have the urge to sleep as per the set bedtime routine.

Regular sleeping time is vital for your baby to avoid sleeping problems. Your baby’s sleeping problem if any can also disrupt your sleep. If you are a working mother, you will need your sweet sleep to face the nest day.

Your irregular sleeping pattern can disrupt your circadian rhythms. Waking time for both you and your baby each morning will depend on how well you slept at night. Your baby’s irregular sleeping time can lead to wakefulness in the night.

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Lack of enough sleep at night can cause a lifelong sleeping problem for your baby that may be hard to correct. It can also affect your baby’s well being and growth. For you, such irregular sleeping patterns can take a toll on you so that you are always feeling tired, dozing at the wrong times and wrong places.

Allie Leon, Chief Fun Officer

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