One of the most challenging parts of becoming a new parent is sleep. Not only do parents have to worry about not getting enough sleep with a new baby, but they have to worry that their child is too. For many parents, getting an infant to get and stay asleep can be a challenge. Even people who aren’t parents know that babies don’t always want to go down for their nighttime sleep. However, there are some tips and tricks to help parents better learn how to put a baby to sleep. This way, parents can create sleep schedules for their young children that allows them to have a healthier sleep schedule. And, they can start to get better sleep themselves!
At first, getting your baby into a sleep routine is going to be impossible. Young babies need to be fed every few hours. So, babies this young are going to wake up every couple or few hours to eat. However, once they reach about three months of age, your child will start to sleep for longer periods. And, this is when you can begin to establish a sleep schedule that will work to give your baby better sleep and allow you as a parent to sleep for longer periods of time.
Babies need a lot of sleep in order to grow and develop successfully. Sleep is necessary for cognitive and muscle development. And, it’s even thought that the connection between the two (cognition and muscles) is mostly developed during sleep in the earliest days of our lives. Furthermore, not getting enough sleep is known to disrupt an important hormone known as leptin. When children don’t sleep enough, they don’t produce enough leptin. The result of a lack of this hormone is not experiencing fullness when eating. So, children who don’t get enough sleep can end up eating more than they need to. And, develop obesity, which can lead to a number of other, more damaging health issues.
There is no wrong way to develop a sleep schedule for your baby. Every child is different, so every child may want to sleep during different times of the day. For instance, some children may benefit most from taking a number of naps during the day. Then, only sleeping at night for 4 or 5 hours. On the other hand, other babies may sleep throughout the night for 8 or 9 hours and only require a couple small, 15-minute naps during the day. Regardless, it’s important to note that there are many ways to create a baby sleep schedule. It all depends on the needs of the baby and the parents’ scheduling. Overall, the one thing that you’ll have to stick to when developing a sleep schedule is how much your baby is sleeping per day. For development purposes, babies that are less than 3 months old should be sleeping 5-18 hours in a day. And, babies that are 3 months – 1 year old should be sleeping 9-14 hours in a day.
Now that you know how much your baby should be sleeping and the importance of a sleep schedule, you can learn helpful techniques for how to put a baby to sleep. Obviously, to get on a sleep schedule, you’ll need to put your baby down to sleep at specific times. And, sometimes, they don’t want to sleep. In these situations, try:
Establishing a Routine: When parents do the same thing at the same time every day, babies will start to understand it’s time for bed. And, that there’s nothing they can do to prevent it from happening. To que this, establish a routine for going to bed; whether it’s reading a book, singing a song, or having a pre-bedtime bottle. Furthermore, when conducting this routine, make sure the environment encourages sleep with minimal lighting and no sound distractions.
Differentiate Between Night and Day: Babies sleep easier knowing that it’s nighttime. To help get them into a sleep schedule, it’s best to let them know that it’s nighttime. This way, they know they are supposed to sleep through the night. To do this, make sure it’s dark in the room they sleep in. And, make sure to keep the house nice and bright as well as go outside with your baby during daylight hours.
Calm Your Baby: A part of your nightly routine should be preparing your baby for sleep by using calming techniques. These can include rocking, giving a bottle, taking a bath, and singing to them.
Putting the Baby Down: It’s important to put your baby down to sleep when they’re sleepy. But, not when they’re already asleep. This way, your baby learns how to fall asleep by themselves. And, they’ll be more willing to stay asleep if they wake up and realize you’re no longer there.
Here at Ivy Prep Early Learning, we understand the importance of sleep for growing babies. We know that it’s one of the most important things that babies need to grow and develop as they should. And, we work with parents to help determine the best sleep schedule for babies.