Parenting is not easy, ever. Even before birth, mothers have to endure a lot pain and inconveniences. Labor is a trial unto itself. And yet, that is just the start of it. Once the babies are born, things get even more tough. Especially when it comes to getting the baby to sleep.
First time parents naturally have a hard time adjusting to the new baby. They are dainty and fussy, and thus can be daunting to take care of.The trepidation of dealing with the baby is nothing when it comes to the sheer exhaustion that comes with taking care of the baby.
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Newborns have different needs
The first couple of months with the baby are, well, different. While the newborn is less of a safety hazard, does little more than cry, sleep and feed, they are challenging in a different way.
The sleeping and eating routine of the newborn babies varies. They ideally need 14-17 hours of sleeping daily. But this sleep is not one long stretch. Newborns do not sleep continuously through the night; they have more of an intermittent sleep schedule as they need to be fed continuously. This makes it so hard on the parents, especially those mothers who are breast feeding.
The bottle-fed babies need lesser feeding cycles, as breast milk is digested quicker than the formula, hence babies have greater period of satiety. However, they too need to be either woken up consciously or they end up waking up themselves due to the hunger pangs. Hence, making peace with sparse shut eye is the best approach when it comes to newborn baby sleep issues.
There are things that parents can do to make this as comfortable as possible for them. Mothers should sleep when their infant does and wake up accordingly. Patchy it might be, but it is sleep, nonetheless. Moreover, it is highly recommended to let the baby share the room with the parents rather than sleeping alone in the nursery.
Room-share makes it easier for the parents to reach to the baby. However, do not share bed with the baby as it can be dangerous and the chances of SIDS –sudden infant death syndrome –run higher as well.
Some helpful things for newborns’ sleeping
Feeding the baby is important
For the first few weeks, feeding the baby is more important than sleep. Once they start gaining weight, you can let the baby sleep for longer. Moreover, initially, babies are not acclimatized to the circadian rhythm, so they do not know what day and night is to begin with.
Make adjustments to help the baby sleep
Parents can thus make few adjustments through the night to signal the baby to sleep. This includes dimming the lights, turning down the noise, not talking to them etc.
Not letting the babies sleep in the day in the hopes that they would be too tired and willingly sleep in the night is wrong approach for infants. On the contrary, sleep deprived babies are fussier and have harder time sleeping.
Tips that are useful for helping the baby sleep
Pacifiers can also be helpful in some babies, but do not impose it on them if they reject it. Some baby sleep better when wrapped in swaddle, others like to be rocked or cuddled to sleep. People often say to not do these things, in case the baby gets used to it, but parents of the newborns needn’t worry about it. Your newborn is too young to be spoilt!
Moreover, for middle of the night feeding, try waking up the baby when it suits the parents, especially breast-feeding mothers, as well. If the mother does not get sufficient rest, her health can be jeopardized. Therefore, the sleep and rest of the mothers is just as important as the baby’s sleep.
What to do for older babies
As the babies grow older, ages 3 months and above, they start sleeping a little more. The sporadic sleep gains some semblance of pattern. Here, disciplining the baby becomes more important as their cognitive skills are developing as well.
Shut down the distractions
It is important to make adjustments in the environment of the baby to lull them to sleep. Dimming the lights, silence, no bedtime playing etc. are somethings that are very useful. Moreover, some parents swear by white noise as well. Experiment and see what your child responds better too.
Do not rile the baby
If you energize and rile the baby before bed, they will not be sleeping anytime soon. Hence, it is best to not play with the baby and do not give them any stimulus before bedtime. Instead, around an hour before bedtime, start turning things down a notch.
Make a routine
Humans are creatures of habit, and there is no reason why this habit of having a bedtime routine can’t be applied to the children. Ideally, get them in bed by 7 or 8 at night, so they are able to sleep through the night.
Make the baby comfortable
To help your baby sleep, it is very important to ensure their comfort. Change them into a clean diaper before bed. Also, ensure that their bed-time clothes are comfortable too. There should not be any objects in their bed that they can hurt themselves with or cause them unease of any sort.
Moreover, the baby will fuss if the room is too hot or cold, so make sure it has a comfortable temperature.
Fussy baby should be wound down
It is not necessary that tired babies doze off easily. Sometimes, that level of tiredness also prevents them from sleeping. In such cases, it is best to make the child comfortable. Giving warm baths, singing a soothing lullaby etc. can be helpful in this endeavor.
Discuss your child’s health with the right professional and book an appointment with a top pediatrician in Lahore, Karachi, and Multan through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.