Whether you are a newbie unaware of the realities as a parent, or you consider yourself an expert in the parenting field, one of the things that always surprises us is the sleeping habits of our kiddos. Children have different sleeping habits and patterns, depending on their age, their environment and routines we established with them. Regardless, we all experience the frustration when it comes to our babies' sleeping matters ...
Just as how us adults need proper rest and sleep, so our children too, since better sleep also mean a happier, less irritable little one. It's just that babies have their own ways of managing their sleeping time. So, how can we set proper and better sleeping habits to these little precious angels? You can try to check-out these tips from the experts.
Swaddling, or wrapping our babies with blankets or pieces of cloth, helps them to startle themselves awake caused by jerking movements which happens since babies from birth up to fourth month possess startling reflexes that makes them feel they are falling. So, less startle moments, more hours of sleep for you and the baby.
- Dream feed
Dream feed is the feeding we can give to our babies right before we sleep. This can help to prevent the baby from waking up in the middle of the night. This can be done by gently lifting them up from the crib, nursing or bottle feed him. He will may automatically wake up from feeding, but if he doesn't, you can push the nipple gently to his lips. After feeding him, you can put him gently back to the crib.
- Lay down the baby when he is just drowsy, not sleepy
Just as we think that it is safe to lay babies down only when they are fully asleep, well, this strategy is not advisable, as this will unfortunately wake him and distract him from already sleeping, since they still do not know how to put themselves back to sleep. Rather, according to sleep consultant Kim West, letting our babies drift to their own can soothe themselves to sleep better. This can also teach them to fall asleep independently.
- Avoid look your baby in the eye
Establishing eye contact with the baby can stimulate physical contact, which will surely prevent them to sleep. The more eye contact, the more interaction, the less tendency to sleep longer. To avoid this, keep your gaze on other parts of his body, like his belly. You can also encourage him to sleep by using gentler touch and soothing voice like singing lullabies.
- Change diaper in a strategic way
Avoid changing baby diapers every time that he is awake since he doesn't need it, plus this will keep him more awake. You can use night time diaper instead, or check and sniff it every time he is awake, change only if it is soiled or pooped, using baby wipes.
- Follow eat, wake, sleep patterns
As babies, all they know is to eat, sleep and wake, and their life cycle goes on and on with those three essentials. Being aware of this, feeding them after they sleep is better than before they sleep. First, babies have more energy the moment they wake up, which makes them go for fuller feedings yet longer interval hours of no feeding. Also, it also avoids confusion that their feedings are associated with sleep.
- Create bedtime and nap routines
Setting definite sleeping routines can help babies predict when is the time to have their sleep. Things like bringing them to their crib, closing the curtains, turning the lighs off, or singing lullabies can help them predict certain cues to sleep and in time the baby can learn to follow those routines, especially if done consistently.
- Putting off lights can be helpful in creating sleeping patterns
Just like adults, brightness signifies go buttons also for the babies, while darkness triggers the brain to produce the sleep hormone melatonin. So, maintaining his nights dark will help them figure out that it is time to sleep.
These tips are just some of the ways that can help those angels establish better sleeping patterns. You can still device your own means by being aware and understanding when and how your baby sleeps. We all go through rough stages in sleep for the babies, but with patience, lots of love and care, we will be able to surpass this phase in a better, more enjoyable way.