How To Get Your Baby (And Yourself) A Good Night’s Sleep
Babies and sleep don’t always go hand-in-hand, especially if you’re dealing with a newborn. Many new parents find themselves at wit’s end when struggling to get a decent night’s sleep. Unfortunately, babies dictate what time they’ll go to bed and it may not always work in your favor. However, there are ways you can help your baby sleep and stay asleep, while being able to catch a few Zs yourself.
The first thing to know is that a baby’s sleep pattern doesn’t revolve around the clock like an adult’s does. Babies go to sleep when they feel tired and that means day or night. Most newborns only sleep a few hours at a time, frequently waking up because they are either hungry, need their diaper changed or have an upset stomach. Knowing these signs and understanding the reason your baby can’t sleep is important to knowing how to tackle the problem.
If your baby has the tendency to get an upset stomach often, it may be because you’re serving up foods that make it irritable. Babies’ stomachs are sensitive so be sure to avoid anything that will give your baby an upset stomach before bedtime. This includes cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage.
Hungry newborns can mean waking up mom for a feeding as frequently as every 2-4 hours a night. One way to lessen the stress and aggravation this situation causes is to move your newborn into your bedroom. Having your baby in the crib nearby means only taking a few steps, feeding and then going back to bed easily, as opposed to walking to another part of the house to take care of your baby’s needs.
It is important to know that you cannot force a baby to go to sleep when you want him/her to. One way you can tackle the sleep issue is to create a soothing environment for your baby to fall asleep in. Make sure where your baby sleeps is peaceful and quiet.
Avoid keeping the door wide open, which can allow loud sounds to travel into the room or bright lights to flood the area and wake your baby up. Some babies sleep better in certain parts of the house. When you notice that your baby is fast asleep, take note of the surroundings and try to recreate that same atmosphere next time.
As your baby gets older you can train him/her to associate daytime with playing, learning and doing activities, while showing them that nighttime is for sleeping. You can do this by being consistent with what time your baby goes to bed. Make sure to layout a familiar bedtime routine that your baby will remember. By doing so, your baby will learn to associate certain events with going to sleep.
You can also change up eating patterns to reflect the time of day or night. Try to feed your baby in full when he/she wakes up and be consistent with feedings every three hours during the day so that by bedtime, your baby will be fully satiated and less likely to be hungry during the night.