Mommies, how often are you quizzed about your baby’s sleeping habits? For many new moms, as soon as you get the bundle of joy home, or some times in the hospital itself the question about your bubba’s sleep can well give you sleepless nights. Not to forget the umpteen wails and cries – for feeds, comfort feeds, diaper changes or JLT.
But, did you know that the road to a good night sleep for both your baby and you is quite possible? So, avoid these common mistakes to make sure you are on the right track.
No Preparation: Having a baby is a big change. As parents we prepare for the baby well in advance, we set aside new clothes, toys but we don’t prepare ourselves enough about his sleep need. Getting information about newborn sleep pattern can put you in control when you have to face sleepless nights.
Take the surprise element out of the situation. Be prepared by reading, attending prenatal classes or just by talking to other moms. Decide on a sleep plan and how you want your baby to sleep.
Support System: There is a saying that goes “it takes a village to raise a baby.” This is absolutely true, especially in the early newborn stage. Earlier the baby was taken care of by several family members—aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters and grandparents. Since we live in nuclear families this is not the case anymore. To help you in your hour of need make sure you have friends and family to rely on. If not, get hired help it can be a nanny, cook, baby sleep consultant. Being exhausted day and night alone can cause depression.
Sleeping Arrangement: Do you want your baby to sleep in his own crib or are you thinking or co-sleeping (share bed with your baby). You are either sleeping in the same bed or in same room. It has its benefits.
The problem arises when the child grows up and cannot fall asleep by himself. It has gotten used to the parents sleeping near him. Asking a toddler to change his sleep habits can be very hard.
Rocking to Sleep: Have you heard parents say that their baby won’t go to sleep without rocking? Rocking to sleep might look harmless. You might even like doing it in the start. But soon this can become your baby’s sleep prop. Try other ways to soothe your baby like gently laying your hand on his chest, singing soft lullabies and so on.
Walking or using motion: Helping your baby fall asleep by walking or with the motion of a car. Such movements make them fall asleep as it mimics the way they slept in the womb. Many babies later on rely on motion for sleep. Imagine driving every night just to get your baby to sleep or walking an hour till the baby sleeps.
Bottle or Breast: Some babies might only get to sleep if you feed them. They have associated feeding with sleeping. Formula fed baby might demand a bottle, a breastfed baby might want to nurse. Remember to keep baby awake after every feed so they don’t associate feeding with sleeping.
Night feedings: In the early months night feeding is normal and is essential for growth of the baby. For a normal healthy weight baby by 6 months of age night feeding is not required. Check with your doctor regarding the babies growth and age to determine if you should continue night feeds. Many parents fear when the baby sleep long hours at night. It can make up for the feeding in the day time. At this point it is you who are waking the baby to feed as the baby does not require.
Lack of Routine: Routine is your best friend as a parent. It helps you to predict your baby’s mood and his sleep cues. No matter how simple or detailed you must have a daily routine. Handling things as they come can end up making you confused, frazzled and overwhelmed.
Consistency: Being consistent means a lot to babies. The whole world is new to your young one by providing the same environment and behaviour you make them feel safe and comfortable. Getting them to sleep at the same time every night after a good bedtime ritual gives them assurance. Similarly changing from one sleep technique to another can cause confusion and chaos. So whatever you do keep doing t regularly so your baby can follow your lead.
Realistic Approach: No two babies are alike they all come in this world with their own sleeping pattern. Some babies are born good sleepers while others need help. Some newborns may sleep longer and some might sleep during the day and be wide awake at night. Being realistic in your approach will help you be more patient in the hard times. Remember with your help you can teach your baby to sleep. It might take more effort and time but will happen.