NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (Mass Appeal) - Every new parent expects it, a life with very little sleep. But if you are tired of being awake at all hours with your baby, we've got simple tips to help your baby sleep through the night.
Beth Grams Haxby is the owner of Sleep and Parenting Consulting shared some tips on your helping baby sleep through the night.
How much does sleep or lack thereof concern parents?
Sleep for their babies and for themselves is ordinarily the number one concern of new parents, yet parents generally feel without support or resources to manage this all-consuming issue. It is generally unknown that sleep, both falling asleep and staying asleep, is a learned behavior for babies and young children.
Is there hope for new parents?
There is hope for new parents! Even briefly being introduced to the science of sleep and to the significant research, can help families address sleep concerns and work toward healthy sleep for their children and themselves.
Sleep begets sleep: The more a child (or an adult) sleeps, the easier it is for that child to fall asleep and stay asleep. The converse is true also: the more sleep deprived a child (or an adult) is, in other words the less sleep one gets, the harder it is for one to fall asleep and stay asleep.
When are babies capable of sleeping through the night?
Babies are born without mature sleep patterns, but by 4 to 6 months of age, they are capable of sustaining sleep for a large chunk of the night. Some babies (with very lucky parents!) start to sleep for long periods at night by 8 to 10 weeks of age.
Babies are not quiet sleepers; your baby will make noises during sleep; there even will be times when your baby may fuss or briefly cry out during sleep. When that happens and a parent doesn't rush in, the baby begins to have experience "self-soothing" and putting herself back to sleep. So, allow your baby to fuss a bit on her own. No "swooping" is necessary!
- Do not allow your baby to become overtired, as overtired babies are much harder to soothe.
- Watch carefully for signs of drowsiness: put your baby to sleep after just 1 ½ to 2 hours of wakefulness.
- Develop a bedtime routine (can be done as early as 8 weeks)
- Practice putting your baby down awake.
- Practice helping your baby to go to sleep without being nursed or fed.
- When your baby is 6 months old (and possibly younger for many babies), you can begin to settle into a more regular schedule.
- Set a bedtime; be consistent!
- Begin to help her develop self-soothing skills by consistently putting her down awake. This is often thought of as "letting a baby cry," and can feel wrong to parents. This crying, however, is protest crying and only happens because you as a parent have become so expert at soothing your baby and the baby has only fledgling skills.