Babies and Sleeping Problems
Why my baby is not sleeping through the night? A question asked by many moms who are facing sleeping disorders with their kids.
Usually a newborn baby wakes up every 3 to 4 hours to eat. He sleeps an average of 18 hours per day. When your child reaches 6 months he will start to have longer night sleeps. At the age of 1 year your child should be able to have 11 to 12 hours of sleep during the night.
However you should know that night waking is a normal part of our sleep cycle. The difficult part is how your child gets back to sleep without help when he wakes up at night. Also at the age of 3, kids start to have dreams and nightmares about monsters or ghosts seen on TV which would affect their sleeping cycle.
Sleep is essential for every child’s development. To teach your child how to sleep by himself in his bed you should follow the below tactics:
- Start early at the age of 8 weeks. Change your child’s diaper and feed him at the latest around 11pm. Put him in bed directly. Do not let your child sleep while breastfeeding. It will be a difficult habit to eradicate.
- If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, do not put on the lights in the room. Do not rock him or remove him from bed. Just talk to him calmly until he goes back to sleep.
- If your child starts crying after you put him in bed, calm him and leave the room. Go back at several intervals to check on him. Do not remove him from bed.
- Be consistent. Even if your child comes at 2 a.m. to your room, escort him back to his bed, give him a quick kiss and leave the room. You will have to repeat this step many times until your child learns that he has to sleep in his bed.
- If your child had a bad dream, nightmare or sick, you can bend the rule and stay in his room for a while until he gets asleep.
- Make a routine. Put your child every night at the same time in bed. Give him a warm bath and read him a story. If you want to put the lights off, put them when you leave the room directly. Do not sleep next to your child. He might wake up wondering where you are.
- If your child refuses to sleep and gets up from bed every time you put him, just accompany him back to bed. This step would take some time but your child will learn at the end to follow your rules.
- If your baby has a favorite soft toy or a blanket, let him have it. It is ok to have them next to him. If he wakes up in the middle of the night he will feel secure if it is there.
- Make your baby’s day social and active. Shorten his naps when he reaches 1 year old and move it to an earlier afternoon nap.
Babies wake up at night for any reason. It is very important to set up your rules and follow them. Do not bend your rules unless sickness. Have your spouse help you in setting these rules. Let him take a turn in putting your child to sleep. That would help a lot if you are invited to a friend’s house. Don’t worry; kids will learn easily how to sleep alone, relax and enjoy your time with your baby.