Sleep is not always the easiest thing for babies. Some babies have a very difficult time falling asleep while others are happy falling asleep in their crib from day one. We know that our little ones require a lot of sleep, but what do you do if your child is constantly fighting her naps and bedtime?
Baby deedee founder and mother of three offers a personal approach to what worked for her.
The Early Weeks
All babies are different. Some will sleep most of the time during the fist few weeks while other newborns will have more awake time (not necessarily during the day). It seems that there is a large range of what is normal as far as number of hours. In my case, my first two babies were awake quite a lot; between midnight and 6AM, and my third child slept so much I was starting to worry (instead of just realizing it was a blessing). Motherhood…even when things are easy we make them complicated!
Day and Night Reversal: Roll Those Shades Down
Many babies will confuse day and night in the early weeks of life. Research shows that by about 6 weeks of age, they will start to produce melatonin, helping them distinguish between the two. Well, at least that’s what my pediatrician said. It took longer than that in my experience.
If you are lucky, if your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, they will just require a feeding and go right back to sleep. If you are a little less lucky, your baby will be fully awake.
A great way to help your baby distinguish night and day is to keep baby with you during the day in a well-lit environment and to continue to go about your household routines and noise. At night, create a darker, quieter environment to soothe your baby.
White Noise Machines?
I tried using a noise machine with my first child and since we were sharing a room, I got to test it alongside my son. My conclusion? A giant headache the next day. I guess when you think about it, it’s like when there is a dull noise in the background – you don’t realize it is bothering you until it stops and what a relief!
Baby Nap Schedule: Good Naps Help with Night-Time Sleep
By about 3-4 months of age, most babies will start to develop a much more predictable nap pattern. Once this starts, parents may have the ability to plan their day around these naps.
A tip I found helpful is the two-hour rule. Once baby starts to develop some kind of a schedule, trying to put her down after about two hours worked well for me.
However, you have to accept that all babies are different. With my daughter, I came to realize that all she needed was a short nap in the stroller for the first six months and then she was in a good mood all day.
Developing a Bedtime Routine is Key
You see this one in every sleep book, and it takes some effort. After all, when your baby is tiny they will just fall asleep in your arms and you can watch TV peacefully, so you likely think, “why bother”?
However, even though it can be quite a production to bathe your infant daily, and a little stressful, most babies really enjoy it. Our successful routine included the following: bath, pajamas, sleep sack (visual cue that it’s time to wind down), song, kiss. I found that it was also a way for me to take a break after a hectic day.