Tag Archives: newborn sleep

Health During Pregnancy - SmartMom

Sleep Routines for Babies: Difficult, but not Impossible

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Photo by Dulcet Photography The roughest part of having a new baby is, debatably, the sleepless nights.  “How to get your baby to sleep” is, I’m sure, one of the top Google searches at 3 in the morning. Hoping and wishing and praying that your sweet new bundle of joy will just sleep for more than three hours in a row is a nightly ritual for many new parents. So how do you get your kids to sleep? Here are three tips that apply to all families setting sleep routines for babies for the first time.

Set the Routine

As a mother of three young kids, getting my children to sleep was at the top of my priority list and all three of them were different. My oldest started sleeping through the night at about 5 ½ weeks and soon she was sleeping from 10 pm to 10 am every day. My youngest also started early, around 7 weeks and she typically sleeps from 8 pm until 7 am everyday. My middle child? He didn’t start sleeping through the night. But I know exactly what happened: I set a bad routine. Since he and my oldest were sharing a room, as soon as he fussed, I got him up. That became our routine.  Once you determine what works best for your family, stick with it. That routine might include a bath, bedtime and a set feeding schedule, but no matter what you do, try not to veer from that routine.

Don’t Quiet Down

When my oldest was an infant, it was really tempting to turn the phone off, put a sign up on the front door and tiptoe from room to room. I’m glad I didn’t. I carried on as normal throughout the house, cleaning, organizing, having friends call or stop by whether she was asleep or not. It taught her to sleep through the noise.  This was a total blessing because it meant that she could sleep anywhere when she was tired — including one afternoon when she slept through a dirt track race and a local speedway!

Teach Them to Put Themselves to Sleep

Without a doubt, the best advice I heard was to let my kids put themselves to sleep. When they wake up and fuss, let them cry it out for a while instead of rushing to get them up. It teaches them that I don’t have to be there for them to go to sleep. At first, I felt horribly guilty. My baby was crying and I wasn’t comforting her! But when I saw that she had to learn to put herself to sleep and that by doing so she was actually becoming more rested, I felt a lot better. I gave myself time limits: let her cry for 10 minutes (assuming she was not in actual distress) and then go get her if she was still pretty upset. This absolutely works. My sanity swears by it. When trying to find the best routine for your baby, the key here is just that: find a routine. With a routine, your baby will know what to expect and how bedtime works. If a routine doesn’t work, change it, but you have to give routines time to be able to tell if it will or won’t.

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The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West

Guest Post by Brandi Conroy 

When I was pregnant with my daughter (my first child) I planned to have her sleep in a bassinet by my bed initially and transition her to her crib (in her own room) after a few months.

When she was three months old we moved into a new house – our bedroom was on the main level and hers was on the second level. A few times I tried putting her in her bed, but I would ultimately go get her at the first sound (not even a cry).

My husband also resisted my attempts to move her to her own room. Instead of transitioning from her bassinet to her crib, she transitioned into her Pack ‘N Play and ultimately to my bed. She was on my sleep schedule, going to bed at 10:00 PM or 11:00 PM and waking at 7:00 AM with a few sporadic naps in her Pack ‘N Play during the day.

Just before my daughter turned one I decided I had to get her sleep trained and into her own bed. My cousin gave me a book called The Sleep Lady®’s Good NightSleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy by Kim West and it was a life saver.

Part One  provides an introduction to sleep basics, the Sleep Lady method and helpful tips. Part Two breaks down the chapters into age ranges. This book addresses sleep issues children ranging in age from newborn to age five. Part Three focuses on more specific sleep issues, the co-sleeping tips, twins, siblings, nightmares and more.

When I started reading the book I read Part One and then skipped directly to the Nine to 12 Month chapter. Right away I realized that, regardless of where she was sleeping, my baby was not getting enough sleep. As soon as I began the process with my daughter, I saw instant results. Not only was she was willing to fall asleep on her own, but really seemed to prefer it.

The book explains how the sleep patterns we develop as babies follow us into adulthood, the amount of sleep a child should get per day given their age and the importance of getting the right amount of sleep. It emphasizes the need to put babies to bed tired, but awake. This book will be especially useful for parents who do not want to let their children cry it out, the author opts for a more gentle approach.

The bottom line? I swear by this book and I recommend it to all my parent friends.

 

Need some help creating a sleep routine? We got your back, Moms.Code to paste
 

RELATED QUESTIONS

My almost 2 year old still is up 2-4 times during the night. I need help!

How long after having a baby until you get a good nights sleep?

Does anyone have a noise machine they recommend that stays on all night and not just 45 minutes?

Does anyone feel jealous of your husband because he gets a good nights sleep?

My son is almost 6 months and he still wakes up 2-3 times a night. I’m going to start a sleep routine, but any tips or advice?

Very whiny 18 month old who also takes forever to get to bed and is up in the middle of the night. Help!

My LO is 7 months old and wakes up every morning at 4:30 because his diaper is so full. Any tips?

My son is 8 months old and still up multiple times at night. We just stopped breastfeeding but he is still up wanting a bottle. What should I do?

Any ideas for getting my 8 month old to sleep through the night?

My 2 year old is completely on her own schedule and goes to sleep when she wants. I need some help getting her on a schedule and not letting her run the show
 

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Help Your Baby Sleep Better - SmartMom

Four Steps to Help Your Sleepless Baby

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Wouldn’t it be nice if parenting came with a manual? I know that some days I wish I had detailed instructions to follow. One of the areas that seems to vex parents most is sleep: why doesn’t my baby sleep through the night? Why does my toddler fight bedtime so hard? How can I get my child to become a better napper? Why is my baby waking so early every morning? Is there a way to help your sleepless baby?

Although these appear to be very different problems, there are a few keys to good sleep that can solve all of these challenges and more. Follow these 4 steps and your child, too, can be a great sleeper.

1. Create a sleep-friendly environment

Kids need a space to sleep that’s conducive to good rest. That means dark, quiet, and cool (ideally about 68-72 degrees). Naps, especially, can be tough when there’s too much sunlight or commotion. I recommend blackout (not just room darkening) shades and white noise. Both of these will be even more important as summer approaches with its long days and open windows. Aim for all nighttime sleep and naps to be motionless once your baby is 6 months old (it’s fine to take the third catnap of the day on the go). Another sleep-stealer that’s becoming increasingly problematic is the blue light emitted from all kinds of screens – computers, TVs, phones. This light actually interferes with our body’s production of melatonin, the “sleepy hormone.” Be sure to shut off all electronics at least 1-2 hours before it’s time to sleep.

2. Get the timing right

If you’re waiting until your child is rubbing his eyes or fussing, you’ve missed the ideal window for getting him to sleep. Watch your baby closely for sleepy cues such as looking away or zoning out and then get him to bed right away. Young babies generally can’t stay awake more than 1-2 hours without becoming over-stimulated and over-tired. Older babies can stay awake a bit longer, but are still ready for their first nap within a couple of hours of waking in the morning. Make sure your child isn’t awake too long between his last nap and bedtime – a 9 month old may be able to go about 3 hours, a 12-month old about 4 (these numbers are general guidelines). More than that and he’ll be overtired, which leads to tough bedtimes, more waking during the night and early rising. Finally, bedtime should be early – sometime between 6:30 and 8:00 p.m. is ideal for most babies and young children. Remember, your child is going to need at least 10-12 hours of sleep each night until he’s about 10 years old! (Surprised? Your child may not be getting enough sleep.)

3. Create a soothing bedtime routine

Children thrive on routine – it gives them a sense of comfort and security. Routine is even more important at bedtime, as it helps their little bodies physically prepare for sleep. I recommend a 20-30 minute routine, with the majority taking place in the room where your child will be sleeping. Do the same steps in the same order each night, and stick with consistent limits – for example, 3 books. Don’t make this a time for negotiation and battles; it will go easier on everyone if you all know what to expect. Toddlers, especially, need 100% consistency along with lots of time for snuggles so they can prepare for bedtime separation. This can also be a good time to reinforce good hygiene skills – such as teeth brushing.

4. Instill independent sleep skills

Going to sleep is a learned skill. If you’re not convinced, consider this: a recent survey by The National Sleep Foundation’s found that 66% of adults and 47% of children rely on TV or videos to help them fall asleep. Not only is it alarming that so many people don’t have the ability to go to sleep on their own, but the blue light emitted by these screens is also interfering with their sleep quality. Don’t wait until your child is older, has engrained habits, and has already missed out on months or even years of needed sleep. Once your baby is 6 months old, she is probably ready to go to sleep on her own and sleep through the night. Sleep training does NOT have to mean leaving your child to cry it out. In my work as a sleep consultant, I recommend gentler approaches that involve staying with your child and being able to provide comfort and reassurance as she’s developing new skills. Establishing good sleep habits is absolutely compatible with attachment parenting. Good sleep is critical to good health, and it’s our job to instill in our kids the sleep habits they will need throughout their lives. Finally, as you’re working on each of these steps, be consistent!! If your child sees that you’re doing things in the same way every day and night, she’ll learn much more quickly and she’ll shed fewer tears. If she sometimes gets rocked to sleep, or gets an extra bedtime story, or gets to nurse, or gets to come into your bed, you can’t blame her for trying. If you stick with your plan in a firm but loving manner, she will learn to be a great sleeper – something that will benefit her for a lifetime.

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