Sunday, September 12, 2010

How to Make Baby Sleep Easy

How to make baby sleep easy isn’t an exact science as newborns need to sleep 16 or more hours a day with stretches of just one to two hours at a time. This type of sleep known as a polyphasic sleep pattern may seem erratic at first as the parents will need to adjust their monophasic sleeping habits. One the child can distinguish the difference between night and day and their nervous system matures they will sleep longer between feedings. By age 3 months they will sleep five hours at a time and by 6 months of age hopefully they will sleep nine to twelve hours during the night.

There is no easy sleeping methods for baby as each baby is different, but there are a lot of guides for parents to consider on what to do and what not to do. New parents can make very common mistakes that may create bad sleeping habits for a child as he ages.

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Trying to convert your child to sleep as you do and not the other way around, you may overlook some basic safety rules. As you know Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is connected with side and stomach sleeping positions. If your baby has trouble sleeping on its back you may want to try a sleep positioner. If your babies are premature and have any breathing issues, or sleep apnea you may want to consider a positioner that is angled. Many doctors also recommend the use of angled sleep positioners for babies who have issues with colic symptoms such as gas and reflux. It is recommended that by having your baby sleep with his head on somewhat of an angle can prevent the backing up of painful reflux. A sleep positioner is also great for traveling as some places (hotel, bed and breakfast or a guest in someone’s house) may not have an ideal place for your baby to sleep and you can feel rest assured that they will be sleeping safe and secure.

It is also never a very good idea to leave a sleeping child where they fall asleep. It may be tempting to leave them on the couch, but it is possible they may roll off. They will also be unprotected from other children or household pets. It is also very appealing to sleep with a newborn but think very carefully about the risks as they may get tangled in the bedding, trapped between you and the bed or fall off the bed head first.

When a baby is sleeping with the parents they may also become overheated due to heavy blankets or too cold (adults sleep best at 65 degrees) which can be dangerous. Their bedroom should be kept at a temperature between 74 and 78 degrees and all they need is a light, non-restrictive sleeper and a blanket or sleeping sack. Make sure their clothes and bedding are soft, preferably 100 percent cotton and flame retardant. For newborns, resist putting toys in their crib which may cause problems with comfort and safety. (they can’t really play with them anyway) Their mattress should be firm, but not too hard. Avoid a memory foam mattress until they can lift their heads above their shoulders as memory foam conforms to their body and may cause them to suffocate or SIDS.

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Creating a sleep routine for your child is the best thing you can do for them and yourself when it comes to your child’s sleeping habits. When the child knows what to expect in their life they won’t become anxious about going to bed. A simple routine could consist of feeding, bath, dressing and reading before you put them to bed every night. When your baby gets older you may have to adjust the routine as older children don’t require a lot of liquids or food before they retire. If your child used to fall asleep easy and stay asleep during the night but now doesn’t check to see if something is causing their discomfort such as teething or acid reflux. If it continues you may consider talking to your pediatrician to find if there are any other health issues. Sometimes the child has a problem distinguishing between night and day. If they are older, try to keep them up longer during the day so they will sleep more at night. Older children will also find a way to crawl out of their crib as my granddaughter did and I always worried she’d harm herself. Now might be a good time to switch them into a toddler bed. Make sure you baby proof the room and put gates up to block them from unsafe areas.

When it comes to safety and comfort ensure that everything is in order to avoid making a mistake and remember that you know your baby best and can create a schedule that works for them and you. If you're concerned about your baby's sleeping habits, consult your baby's doctor for suggestions. Remember, how to make baby sleep easy through the night isn't a measure of your parental skills. It's simply a goal you're working toward. The result will be a good night's sleep for everyone.
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1 comment:

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