As a parent, making sure your baby gets enough sleep can be quite the challenge. During sleep is where the direst things happen — it’s when your baby develops its physical, mental and even emotional aspect. Lack of sleep in your baby (and yourself) can also affect the way you connect with each other.
Most parents, especially new ones, probably think that babies sleep through the night at eight weeks or take two hour naps, twice a day. That’s far from the truth, at least in most cases. What you need to understand is that all babies are different and that waking up at night is perfectly normal, and very common. In fact, most babies are not able to sleep through the night without a feed until at least three months or four months old.
It’s also important to keep in mind that your baby isn’t able to tell the difference between night and day until he’s around two months to three months old. This doesn’t mean you can’t start training him to tell the difference though.
Below are some common mistakes parents make and how you can avoid them:
Not following the bedtime rule
When you've been at work all day, sometimes you will be tempted to keep your baby up so you can spend more time with him when you get home. You might also hope he'll become so tired, he'll eventually flake out.
However, for whatever reason, it's always not a good idea to keep your baby up late. In fact, when babies get overtired, they actually find it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. It causes them to wake up earlier than if they went to bed at a more reasonable hour. Establish a fixed bedtime routine and stick to it. Don’t wait until your baby is yawning and rubbing his eyes to make the move.
Thinking that constant motion will send your baby off to sleep
Putting your baby to sleep in a car seat or baby swing can provide you with a well-deserved break, but don't fall into the trap of relying on constant motion too much. You should learn other ways to calm your baby and create a suitable environment for him to doze off. It's okay to use motion to soothe your baby if he's upset or fussy. Just don't make it part of his regular bedtime routine.
Too much stuff going on around
Most parents put a mobile above your baby's cot for comfort; however, the rotating toys, sounds and lights can cause distraction. Watching them may keep your baby awake rather than train him that it's time to sleep. Try putting your baby to sleep in a darkened room. Babies are too young to have developed night-time terrors, so don't worry about them being frightened. The goal is to try to wind your baby down with calming rather than lively activities. Sing lullabies and gentle nursery rhymes to calm him and help him to associate them with bedtime.
Not following through the bedtime routine
If you’ve already decided to commence with your baby’s sleep training, it’s imperative to be consistent in how you deal with his night-time wakings, as well as how you put him down to sleep each night. It’s appealing to revert to feeding to sleep, or rocking to sleep, especially during nights when it seems nothing else will work.
Just be assured that your baby will soon star to self-settle and calm himself down to sleep. Whenever he wakes up during the night, you can always tell him it’s time to sleep. Gently shush and pat him to comfort him. Leave the room but you might have to return in a few minutes if he’s still not settling and then you can repeat the process. You may have to do this loads of times, so be prepared.
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