I think all of you agree that the healthy sleep habits are very important for all of us; nothing better than a good night sleep. The same way, the good sleeping is very important for your child; the studies show that having good sleep habits are more important for the babies than adults. Well rested babies make happy parents and happy parents make better parents 🙂 Here are couple of points shows the importance of good sleeping and resting :
- Learning : Good rested babies learn easier – faster – better.
- Better mood : If your baby sleeps well, s/he plays better and communicates easier with the others.
- Healthy : A good sleep helps baby’s body to better fight off illnesses.
As I have mentioned in other pages, we are parents of 2 boys – they are 5 and 2,5 years old now. Thank god, both are sleeping through the night but they were not like this at the beginning. Our first son started sleeping well when he was only couple of months old. However, our second son didn’t sleep through the night until he was 2 YEARS old… As parents, we were against ‘cry it out’ method. So, we haven’t used it at all. Rather we have tried other methods, to make them better sleepers and to make us less tired during the day.
Before going to the methods; I have to say that, all babies are different. Some learn sleeping pretty quick, some not. The ways that I will list below may work with your baby, or may not. I hope it will help all of you.
1 – Routines : The world is new / chaotic for the little babies. They need some sort of security. If they have a routine before going to sleep, they will know what is coming next and they will feel more secure. This is the routine that we are following at home every night (as much as possible) :
Take a bath
Read a book (or 2)
Go to bed
This is our routine. You can create yours. The important point is, to repeat the same order as much as possible every day. When the little one gets bigger, the routine may change slightly. For example;
- at the beginning we used to hold him until he goes to sleep and then put him to his crib / bed
- later on we started putting him to his crib/bed as soon as he finishes his milk and stay in the room until he sleeps.
- at the final stage, after we put him to his bed, without waiting for him to go into sleep, we say good-night and leave the room.
Of course all of these took time. The important point is to be consistent.Early bedtime
2 – Go to bed before your baby gets too tired : If the baby is over tired, it will be really hard for him / her to go into sleep (isn’t it true with us adults, too? When we are really exhausted, it is really hard to fall asleep). Some people think opposite, “keep your baby up late, so s/he will sleep better”. I don’t know all other parents, but this definitely didn’t work for us.
The babies usually need 11-12 hours of sleep at nighttime. If you put him/her to sleep at 9:00pm, s/he needs to sleep until 9:00am the next day to get enough sleep for his/her body. We all know that babies (usually) wake up really early. In our case, both our sons wake up around 6:30 – 7:00am. Meaning, they get enough sleep only if they go to sleep around 8:00pm.
3 – Naps are important : Related with the previous item. When the baby has a good nap, s/he will be less tired in the afternoon. And when the time comes for the night sleep, the little one will go to sleep easier. Sounds opposite, however this is our conclusion. And we know from many of our friends that this is the real case.
The number of naps and their length differs with the age. At the beginning, the babies have 3-4 naps each 30 – 45 mins. After couple months, the number of naps go to 1 eventually. The point is, the little one has to sleep enough so s/he won’t be exhausted during the day or just before night sleep.
If you think that your little one’s nap times are too short, try to decrease the wake-time between naps. This should increase the nap time… This sounds confusing, but most of the cases this work. If you want to make a chance in the routine, try the new pattern at least a week. This time is needed for the baby until s/he gets used to the new routine.
Please let me remind you again – every baby is different. You need to understand your baby’s needs and habits, and create a proper environment for him/her.
4 – Night time feedings : We (myself and my wife) read many books about sleeping and we discussed this with our pediatrician; the answer of this question is : There is no answer which is true for all the babies ! Some start not having any midnight milk very early stages, some need it even after 2 years. You will need to try and understand your baby’s need. However, there is some common agreements :
- After 3 months, if the baby is still waking up every hour or every 2 hours, it seems s/he has some issues with going back to sleep by herself / himself.
- At or around 1 year, it should be down to 1 or at max 2 times.
I hope these 4 items will help you with your baby’s sleep habits. I have just tried to list and share our experience with you. These may work with your baby, or not (hope it will). Please let me know how it goes 🙂 I really would love to hear some good feedback…
You can find more resources about baby sleeping on this website : howtoputababytosleep.com
I want to suggest some books as well. Please take a look, I’m sure you will find some good points in them (some books suggests ‘cry it out’ method. Even though we are totally against it, I decided to list them here. As a parent, it is totally your decision how to deal with sleep issues) :
Book Name,Picture,Price (paperback),Price (Kindle),Rating
The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night: Foreword by William Sears M.D. (Pantley), , $10.96, $9.32, 4.3 / 5
Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, , $10.39, $9.87, 4.2 / 5
The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5, , $10.96, $9.99, 4.6 / 5
Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems: New Revised and Expanded Edition, , $13.37, $9.99, 4.5 / 5
The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep: Simple Solutions for Kids from Birth to 5 Years, , $17.58, $9.78, 4.4 / 5