Should you sleep train your baby?
Many parents will agree they are sleep deprived!! All they want is a good nights sleep and not forgetting a happy contented baby.
Let's start with why babies need to sleep?
- Sleeping is important for brain development
- Sleeping is important for growth
- Sleeping is important for energy and to increase memory
How much sleep do babies need?
- Babies in the womb sleep constantly.
- Newborn Babies will sleep for up to 18 hours, 2 to 3 hours spells in breastfed babies and 3 to 5 hours in bottle-fed. Sleep should be evenly spread through the day and night to up to 8 weeks old.
- Once babies reach 2 to 4 months old they will start to develop regular sleeping and waking rhythms and daytime naps start to become predictable.
- By six months old baby should be able to sleep through the night with some brief arousals. If your baby was born premature they will sleep more often.
- During babies first weeks they have no sense of day and night, but by six months they start to understand the differences.
Top Tip: A Well fed baby will sleep well at night.
Promoting good sleeping habits from the beginning will help develop good sleeping patterns. The whole family can be affected by a baby that doesn't sleep, many sleep deprived parents have told me they can feel out of control!
- Be consistent (that mean's everyone in the family)!
- Create a calm sleeping environment.
- Ensure baby is well fed; routines are harder to establish in breastfed babies as many are fed on demand, this will improve once baby is feeding well.
- Ensure baby is winded well after each feed.
- If your baby has reflux or intolerances they may be in discomfort and will find it harder to settle, (seek doctors help and advice).
- A baby's bedroom should only be used for sleeping.
- Create a soothing environment and limit the furniture you put in a baby's room. Blackout blinds help keep the room dark, cool and quiet.
- Learn your baby's sign of being sleepy.
- Develop a bedtime routine, bath and baby massage is a nice way to end the day.
- Put your baby to bed drowsy but not awake when you can start this and around three months old, this will encourage baby to soothe himself to sleep and fall asleep independently, without the need to be held, fed or rocked.
- Swaddling a newborn baby makes them feel safe and secure.
Always remember during early weeks and months when your baby sleeps, mum needs to sleep also!
There are many books of offering help and advice here are just a few.....
- The good sleep guide for you and your baby by Angela Henderson.
- Sleep - The easy way to peaceful nights by Beatrice Hollyer and Lucy Smith.
- Andrea Graces gentle sleep solutions by Andrea Grace.
Many parents feel they need individual support and guidance in establishing good sleep routines during this challenging time and seek further help from a sleep trainer, who will offer methods to resolve this issue giving parents confidence in implementing techniques successfully.