Sleep may be a sensitive subject, especially for parents who have just had a baby. Some newborns Common Sleep Problems through the night immediately, while others have trouble falling asleep for more than a few hours. Many individuals question if they are to blame for their children’s frequent waking or restless sleep, yet every parent has to deal with challenging circumstances like this. There is more than one “correct” method to approach this issue, as with any other parenting-related topic. Five of the most frequent newborn sleep issues have been compiled, and we’ve asked our experts and other parents for their best recommendations.
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I have a 5-month-old child. Although I’ve always rocked them to sleep, I’d like to be able to put them to sleep on their own when I lay them down. How do I make this happen without causing us much pain and crying?
According to Ann Douglas, author of Sleep Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler, for a baby to learn how to fall asleep on their own, they must master two fundamental skills: the capacity to fall asleep somewhere other than your arms and the capacity to fall asleep without being rocked. Some parents assume that their children will learn how to do this on their own and will go “cold turkey,” letting them cry it out in the crib. There is another approach that might be effective if this isn’t you.
According to Harvey Karp, M.D., author of the parenting classic The Happiest Baby on the Block, you need to give your baby a new sleep association. A newborn is used to falling asleep to noise, touch, and rocking because they have spent so much time within their parent’s bodies.
Instead of rocking them to sleep, play a sound machine four or five nights in a row to create white noise. It will be much simpler for them to move from nodding off in your arms to sleeping in the crib once the noise starts to signify the start of the sleep process. According to Dr. Karp, the purpose is to “establish other sleep associations that do not require your presence in order to assist the baby go asleep.”
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The first few times you lay your baby awake, be ready for a major fuss. Some sleep-training specialists advise parents to enter the room at certain intervals (every five minutes, for example) and speak to their wailing child in a soothing voice rather than picking them up. Your baby might or might not respond well to that strategy. With her 6-month-old Kayleigh, Christine George of Lansing, Michigan, attempted to do it, but Kayleigh quickly grew so upset that she was soon crying, red-faced, and gagging.
George remembers, “After two nights of almost being as angry as my baby was, I determined that it just wasn’t going to work for me.” Rather, she claims, “For a few minutes, we would wander about the room with her until she fell asleep. When we placed her in the crib, we would whisper “Shhhh” for a few minutes while gently bouncing the mattress with one hand, pressing her belly with the other, and rocking the baby back and forth. After some practice, we were able to perform it first without placing the palm on the belly and afterward without bouncing. Finally, we were able to put her to sleep while still awake.” It took two weeks to complete this.
According to child development specialist and Why Is My Child in Charge? Author Claire Lerner, LCSW, there truly isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to sleep problems. For some infants, you can touch them or simply sit there so they can see you, but she claims this is confusing for many others. Find what works best for you and your kid, and remember that the more consistently you teach them, the faster they’ll learn.
The Sleeper Who Can’t Sleep at Home
When we go on errands, my 10-month-old falls asleep in their car seat, but they won’t stay asleep when I try to bring them inside. They won’t sleep during naps or bedtime as a result.
Babies are incredibly curious about their surroundings at this age. According to doctor Marc Weissbluth, M.D., author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, if a child falls asleep during brief car journeys, it’s likely that they don’t receive enough sleep overall.
Throughout 24 hours, pay attention to your child to see if you can spot any telltale indications of sleepiness: do they rub their eyes, act clingy or worried, or whine? If the answers to these questions are negative, you may only need to alter your schedule since your outings are too close to nap time. After all, the two hours of sleep you had anticipated all morning can be ruined by a quick 20-minute nap in the car.
My infant naps easily but wakes up after 20 minutes. They wipe their eyes and appear exhausted an hour later. How can I encourage them to sleep longer?
Getting to the base of the problem is what you should try to do initially. Does your child object to anything when taking a nap? Perhaps it’s too hot or too cold? Too quiet or too loud, Or maybe they just haven’t figured out how to put themselves back to sleep after waking up.
If your child routinely wakes up too early from a nap, establish a regular nightly sleep schedule. The co-creator of the film Helping Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, Donald Goldmacher, M.D., asserts that being overtired inhibits babies from sleeping effectively.
Make sure your baby is napping in a setting that is familiar to them if they are already getting good sleep at night. A pre-nap wind-down comparable to their bedtime routine might be created by purchasing heavy curtains to drape across the windows. Also, try not to delay putting them to bed for too long. Most babies should take a nap two hours after waking up, especially newborns and small infants.
The Resistant Nap
Two naps every day—one in the morning and one in the afternoon—were customary for my 11-month-old. They are suddenly unwilling to take their morning nap. What shall I do?
Maybe it’s time to stop taking one nap a day! Although dropping sleep at eleven months old is young, it is not unheard of, according to Dr. Weissbluth. 90% of all 12-month-olds take two naps per day, but by 15 months, only approximately 20% of children are still taking their morning nap.
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How do you know whether your baby is prepared to give up their morning nap? Dr. Weissbluth advises taking note of their behavior between 4 to 5 p.m. “Your infant is likely well-rested if they are cheerful and good-natured. They may need that second snooze if they’re a little worn.”
Why observe their emotions in the late afternoon? According to Dr. Weissbluth, many kids lose their energy at the end of the day because they don’t get enough sleep. But there’s a catch: Some youngsters have a burst of energy in the evening that may make them appear to be awake even though they’re exhausted.
The Typical Sleeper
My 7-month-old has a regular nighttime routine and does well at home sleeping. However, they are so accustomed to the routine that any slight deviation confuses them. We’re going on vacation soon, and I’m worried they won’t stay at a hotel. What can we do to ensure that they decrease?
As far as you can, try to replicate your bedtime ritual from home. For instance, if taking a bath in the evening is often a part of the routine, attempt to accomplish that simultaneously. Give them plenty of time at night to wind down, especially if the trip involves a lot of socializing, a hectic schedule, or noisy or brightly lighted locations. Bring something they love with you, like a comfortable sleeper, portable crib, or music they are accustomed to.
Nat, Shannon Cate’s 10-month-old daughter, was an excellent sleeper at home but struggled to fall asleep if she saw her parents in the same room, according to Shannon Cate of Illinois. When we stayed in a hotel, we discovered that we required a suite, claims Cate. Then we could order room service for dinner and enjoy a movie after putting Nat to bed regularly.
The parents occasionally use an alternative strategy because doing something regularly can be costly. In a pinch, Cate says, “we’ve built walls out of furniture to keep our daughter from seeing us.” To drown out the noises of TV and conversation, we never leave the house without her white-noise machine.