Parenthood brings about a lot of joy and happiness, especially for first-time parents. But, along with it, they also need to deal with various problems, one of them being the baby's sleep. Most parents find putting their baby to sleep peacefully through the night a difficult task, and it's one of the most common fields of parenthood where they seek help and advice. It is not only important for parents, but also for the baby, as it is the first step taken towards sleep training her. The development of a healthy sleep pattern is important for her overall healthy growth and development.
Baby Sleeping Patterns
Unlike adults, babies do not have a 7 hour or 12 hour sleeping pattern but it develops gradually as she grows. Hence, you should not expect that they sleep for long hours before they are at least six months old. After 6 months of age, they are usually able to sleep for 5 to 7 hours at a stretch. They might wake up due to hunger, blocked nose, etc. Often, they develop some peculiar habits during or before falling asleep, e.g., being carried, a lullaby, or a story, which helps them fall asleep.
For the baby to sleep through the night it is essential that she gets enough sleep and rest during the day. Encourage her to indulge in short naps, instead of sleeping at a stretch. Also ensure that she is active for at least some time during the day.
Make all the arrangements for the baby to sleep comfortably and safely in her crib. Place a soft comforter or a baby blanket, a soft toy, or any other object that she loves. This will help her feel secure even if she happens to wake up all of a sudden in the night.
Establishing a bedtime routine is essential as this is what signals the baby that it is time to sleep. Routines like reading or singing a lullaby or bathing will help her relax and prepare for the sleep.
Importance of the Crib
Once she is drowsy or half awake, place her on her back in the baby crib. This will establish the fact that this is where she is going to be sleeping. She may cry for a few minutes, but do not lift her off the crib, just soothe her gently and reassure her that you are around. Dim the lights and shut off all the sounds surrounding the room.
Awakening in the Night
If the baby happens to wake up after a few hours, do not talk or play with her. Nurse her, change her diaper, or do whatever required and soothe her back to sleep. This will enforce the fact that the sleeping time is still on and she needs to drift back to sleep.
It would do you good to check information on breathing problems in infants; in such a case, do not attempt to solve it on your own.
Initially, it would be a little difficult for both the baby and the parents to get used to the routine. But, once this is done, you will notice that the frequency of her waking up in the night reduces gradually and both of you would be able to sleep peacefully. If this does not happen even after a few weeks, then she might be waking up due to a medical problem. In such a case, consult a physician without further delay.