When you’re looking for ways to get your new baby to sleep through the night, there are a few things to consider. For instance, babies can take from six weeks to six months to sleep all night, so give your baby some time to adjust to sleeping patterns outside of the womb. And, keep in mind that babies, especially newborns, need about 16 to 18 hours of sleep a day, with breaks in between, so adjusting your own sleeping habits could help you to tend to your baby and get the rest you need at the same time.
Also, it’s a good idea to get your baby used to the difference between night and day. In the daytime, make your baby’s room as bright as possible; open curtains or blinds to let the sunlight in , and keep the light on as often as you can. Also, don’t try to quiet normal daytime noises in the house, like the phone ringing, the television or radio, or washing machine. In the evening, make sure that the house is quieter, and keep the lights dim. And, if your baby tends to fall asleep during feeding or changing times, keep him/her awake in order to further regulate their sleeping patterns. Establishing a pattern with your baby will make both you and the baby feel more relaxed, and your infant will be calmer when he/she knows what to expect next. It’s important to set up a sleeping schedule for your child as early as possible; when your baby is fairly young, feeding and changing times during the night will occur more often. So, once you feed your baby, hold him/her for a few extra minutes, then place the baby back in the crib (or next to you) and give them a chance to fall asleep on their own.
Many parents also consider having their babies sleep with them for the first few months. This could prove to be beneficial, since it allows the parents to spend more time with the child if both parents work during the day, and babies who sleep with their parents are more likely to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. Babies who sleep in the same bed with their parents the first few months are also more likely to be breast-fed, and the additional nurturing could give the baby an overall stronger immune system. This can help a child be become rather well-adjusted, and could prevent adult sleeping disorders; according to national research, infant sleep patterns help to shape the central nervous system in the body, setting the stage for how long, how often, and how soundly your child will sleep in the future.
Other methods, such as lullabies, music, and blankets will help you to get your baby to sleep as well. Swaddling your newborn with a blanket helps to make the baby feel secure and warm, and thumb-sucking may work for older babies as well. Buying a pacifier for your baby and rocking the baby in a bassinet or motorized crib will also help your baby to relax.
After you’ve selected a safe crib for your baby, provided a quiet, dimly lit space for your baby to sleep, and found out how much your baby need to sleep depending on his/her age, be sure to monitor your baby to make sure that they are sleeping sufficiently and comfortably. If your baby is irritable or fussy during the day, this may be a sign that he/she isn’t getting enough sleep, or may not be comfortable during the night. Also, make sure that your baby is eating enough, and isn’t experiencing hunger or indigestion during sleeping times. Remember to give your baby some time to get used to sleeping on a schedule–this could take a few months. If you feel you’ve tried everything and your baby still isn’t sleeping regularly, it may be time to contact a sleep specialist. However, before you consider this, talk to your child’s pediatrician for possible sleep solutions. For more information on infant health and how to make sure your baby sleeps soundly every night, visit www.verybestbaby.com or you can receive information from trusted medical institutions, like Baptist Memorial Health Care (www.bmhcc.org) or www.neonatology.org.