Getting your baby to sleep can be a mixed bag. On some days, when your baby is tired from all of the playing and mischief, they will fall asleep right away, but on some days, when the pain of teething in kicks in, putting your little one to bed will be nothing short of a Herculean task.
But we bring you a bunch of tips, tricks and FAQs to make things a little easier for your little champion as well as yourself.
How much sleep do babies need?
A newborn spends most of his or her time sleeping, and so it is completely natural if your newborn spends 13 to 16 hours of a day sleeping. However, you must make sure that they get at least 11 hours of sleep in a day or it will hamper their physical growth and mental development. Infants, on the other hand, that is babies younger than the age of 11 months, should get at least 10 hours of sleep during the day.
However, if your baby is unable to sleep, or keeps waking up frequently during his or her bedtime, then you should consult a pediatrician immediately, because there may be something bugging your child.
How can you teach your little one to soothe themselves to sleep?
One of the principles of making your baby independent, is to teach them how to soothe themselves to sleep. Many parents find this period stressful because it involves the baby crying and throwing temper tantrums. Let’s look at the following tips and tricks which can make this part bearable for both yourself and your little one.
- Stop rockin you baby to sleep because this creates a sense of dependency. Instead of swaddling them, let their hands be free so that they can soothe themselves to sleep. Do not let your baby fall asleep all the way. Instead, put them to bed only when they are drowsy or sleepy, but fully awake.
- You also have to establish a particular bedtime so that the baby’s system becomes accustomed to it and that they have an easier time falling asleep. Try to put your baby to bed early because they tend to become fussy or cranky when allowed to sleep late in the night.
- Give your baby his or her food at least one hour before bedtime. If your baby is in the habit of falling asleep while eating dinner or drinking breast milk, then this needs to be stopped, because it establishes dependency. Make sure your baby is fed well before bedtime, or at least shorten the time you spend breastfeeding your baby before bedtime.
- The next time when your baby cries in his or her crib, do not run to them immediately. Instead, take a minute and go there slowly. Gradually try to increase this time period, and soon you will realize that your baby has fewer crying spells, and the ones that they have, last for a shorter period of time, until they actually fall asleep.
- Give it time. Developing self-soothing habits in your baby takes time, and it can be a little frustrating for the both of you, but having a little patience and self-control can make this entire process a lot easier.
How to Keep Your Baby Safe during Bedtime?
- If you are not sleeping with your baby in the same room, the major concern that is bound to plague you is how to keep your baby safe and sound. Let us tell you of a few simple tricks and ways so that you can keep your little one from harming themselves while sleeping.
- Keep the surface of the crib clean and flat. Make sure that there are no hard toys or anything sharp like plastic animals lying on the surface of the crib, because while sleeping, your baby can roll around and hurt themselves. If you must give the baby a toy to sleep with, be sure to give those soft toys, or even a stuffed animal.
- Use a good foam mattress and sheets that fit firmly. Under no circumstances should you place loose sheet or even pillows in the crib, because your little one may choke on it, or it may also result in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SID), which has claimed a lot of infant lives in the past few years. Also remember to put your baby on their back, while laying them down for their sleep.
- It is also important to keep check on your baby, especially if your own bedroom is far away from them and if your baby has the tendency to awaken in the middle of the night. This means that you could invest in either a baby monitor or even a baby cam.
- It is important to maintain the temperature of the room in which your baby is sleeping. Try not to open a lot of windows, especially if it is during a cold weather when you baby is sleeping. Also avoid placing your baby’s crib near or directly beside a window, because the glass may smash due to an accident, or the curtains may fall down.
- Make sure that the crib you are using, meets all of the safety standards. Avoid using cribs that have cutouts in their frames or if their posts have angles and sharp edges because the baby can injure themselves on it. If your baby has started crawling, then it is a good idea to pull up the sides of the crib so that the baby cannot crawl out of it.
What else should you keep in mind?
You have to be absolutely sure that neither you nor anyone else should ever smoke in the room where the baby sleeps. Not only will it pollute the air, harming your baby’s lungs, but it has also been said by doctors from all over the world that babies exposed to smoke have a higher chance of suffering from SID.
Should you use pillows?
Absolutely not. No matter how soft or how organic the pillows are, you should never put them in your baby’s cot because there is a high risk of your baby choking on the pillows. Always place the baby on his or her back. If you must, you can use a baby sleeping bag so that they do not get cold during the night. Also, it is a good idea to sleep in the same room as your baby at least until they are six months old, but try to not make them sleep in the same bed as you because it can get dangerous.
So there you have it, some safe tips and tricks to make bedtime a little happier and a little less stressful for the both of you.