When there is a newborn in the house, the one thing that you will be asked above all else, is “how is your baby sleeping?” Sleep is one of the most critical parts of bringing up a small child. Ensuring that your baby gets enough good quality sleep is one of the most important roles for a parent, especially in the infant’s first few years.
Having said that, although understanding the importance of sleeping, getting your baby’s sleeping right can be the cause of a great amount of stress. Every baby is different, and every baby sleeps differently. What’s important is that parents and babies discover baby sleep routines that provide the necessary baby rest. Baby sleep is not an exact science, it is about figuring out what works.
In this blog, we are going to talk about baby sleep, why they might be struggling with sleep and give you some baby sleep tips to help your child get better baby rest.
Why is Baby Sleeping Important?
When babies are born, they grow at a very fast rate. It is at the time when a baby sleeps that they grow the fastest. The pituitary gland secretes the growth hormone, which works better when the baby sleeps.
Baby sleep is also important for the development of their brains. It is believed that this is when our brains process our learning, and as babies are continually learning, baby sleep is vital. When babies are born, they spend little time awake, mainly sleeping and feeding as there is so much growth to be done.
As babies grow up, baby sleep is also important to ensure that they have the energy to not only grow and develop, but also enjoy playing and interacting with people. The baby’s sleep requirements will change as they grow, and parents need to adjust to their new baby sleeping routines.
As parents, it is also important that your baby sleeps enough, to give you the time to rest. But you will certainly have some baby sleep bumps along the way – don’t worry, you’ll get there!
Why Isn’t My Baby Sleeping?
It can be stressful for parents if you have baby sleep problems. While you should remember the importance of sleeping, you should also remember that not all babies sleep as expected all the time. It can be the case, however, that there is a deeper reason for problems with your baby’s sleep. Some of these issues that affect baby sleep include:
1. Back-Sleeping Resistance
Experts recommend that your baby sleeps on its back as it is safer than on its front. Resistance to back-sleeping can be a sign of other issues – although it might often be that baby sleeping on its front is more natural.
2. Sleep Regression
It might be true that your baby had got into good baby sleep habits but has suddenly started struggling with their baby sleep. This is a common issue, called sleep regression. It can occur at any time, but is very common at 4 months, 6 months, 8-10 months, and 12 months. Common symptoms include fighting baby sleep or the baby waking up often.
3. Napping Changes
Sometimes when there are changes in napping routines, it can affect the baby sleeping. It might be that your baby needs less baby sleep, but it also might be that they don’t. They can get overtired which can create problems with baby sleeping.
4. Frequent Night-time Feeding
Night-time feeding can affect your baby’s sleep as it can be disruptive, meaning that they struggle to go back to sleep. It can also affect your baby sleeping as they can learn that crying gets them picked up.
Teething can be painful and can have a massive impact on your baby sleeping. It is not only the pain that can affect your baby sleeping, but also the damp from drooling or fever that can also affect them.
Illness is another issue that can affect your baby sleeping. Whether it is discomfort, fever, or coughs and colds, it can impact on baby sleep – much like with adults!
Baby Sleep Tips – How Can I Help My Baby Sleep?
If you are having baby sleeping problems, the likelihood is that it is due to one of the reasons above. If you know the reason for your baby sleep problems, it is simpler to find solutions. Here are some of our baby sleep tips that can help your baby to get better baby rest.
If your baby is struggling to sleep on its back, it might be that it is feeling insecure, which can then affect your baby sleeping. You can try to help your baby by swaddling them and perhaps giving them a pacifier to see if this helps your baby sleep better. If this doesn’t work, try speaking to your pediatrician.
2. Differentiate between day and night-time
To teach your baby the difference between day and night-time when they are feeding, try feeding them in dimmed places, don’t turn the television on, and make night-time feeding as calming as possible. You can also try making the daytime louder and more active.
3. Treat the cause of teething or illness
Any baby that is struggling with illness or teething will probably have their baby sleep affected – and want more cuddles. While it is important to give them sympathy, the best way to help your baby is to try to treat the causes of their problems – help them with teething remedies or treat their illness for better baby sleeping.
4. Try not to let them get overtired
Being overtired can be disastrous for baby sleeping. To help your baby with this, try putting them to bed before they get overtired – you should have much more success getting your baby to sleep!
5. Establish a bedtime baby sleeping routine
One of the key ways to help your baby to sleep is to establish a good and reliable baby sleeping routine. This helps your baby to get into the sleep headspace, calm down, and prepare them for baby sleep.
How Can I Create a Baby Bedtime Routine?
When it comes to baby sleeping help, one of the most important things you can do is establish a baby sleep bedtime routine. This is one of the most important baby sleep tips and means that you can signal to your baby that it is time to sleep as well as calm them down. It also means that parents can get some quiet, bonding time with baby.
It is important to keep your baby sleep routine consistent, and this should normally start at around 3 months old.
You can start your baby sleep routine about 30 – 60 minutes before bed. You can include activities like:
- Getting changed into pajamas
- Reading a story
- Singing a lullaby
- Brushing teeth (if they have some)
- Cuddle or baby massage
- Saying goodnight to people
How Much Sleep Does My Baby Need?
Although we have given you these baby sleep tips, it is useful to know how much baby sleep your child will need. While all babies are different, trying to get somewhere close to these recommended amounts is beneficial.
- 0 – 3 months – 16 – 18 hours of baby sleep per day
- 3 – 6 months – more baby sleeping during the night
- 6 – 12 months – night feeds might become unnecessary but there is the risk of teething pain affecting baby sleep
- 1 – 2 years – 12 – 15 hours of baby sleep per day
- 2 – 3 years – 1 – 12 hours at night and 2 – 3 naps during the day
Remember that these are only guidelines and there are likely to be changes in your baby’s sleep patterns. If you feel that you need extra baby sleep help, contact your pediatrician.
What About Baby Naps?
Another factor that is important for baby sleeping is baby naps. Babies need to take restful naps throughout the day as well as sleeping at night. Of course, babies develop at their own pace, but naps are essential for good baby rest. As a general rule, for good baby rest, your baby will need:
- 0 – 11 weeks – 6 – 8 naps for 10 mins to 4 hours
- 3 – 4 months – 4 – 5 naps for 30 mins to 2 hours
- 5 – 6 months – 3 – 4 naps for 30 mins to 2 hours
- 7 – 8 months – 2 – 3 naps for 1 to 2 hours
- 9 – 12 months – 1 – 2 naps for 1 to 2 hours
- 13 – 17 months – 1 – 2 naps for 1 to 3 hours
- 18 months – 3 years – 1 nap for 1.5 to 2.5 hours
Baby sleep is essential for the good development of your baby, both physically and mentally. If you are struggling and need some baby sleeping help, you should speak to your pediatrician, who can give you more specific sleeping help. It is important to remember that baby sleep is not an exact science, and it will not always be ‘perfect’. If it’s not, tomorrow’s another day, and you can try again!Just as you care about your baby sleeping well, we care about protecting them around the house. Here at babyproofme.com, we have a range of babyproofing products to help to look after your little one.