Training Your Baby to Sleep
Setting your baby’s sleeping pattern is more than getting him to fall asleep and staying asleep until the morning. It’s about helping him to develop a healthy sleeping habit that will carry on until his adult life.
Sleep or the lack of it, affects the way you and your baby function. Both you and your baby need enough sleep to function properly. If your baby is tired, he is likely to be cranky the whole day and if you are tired you are grumpy, less patient and easily annoyed. Your decision making process is impaired and you’ll likely to do something you may regret.
“Is your baby sleeping through the night?” Or something along that line; is a question that you hear often if you are a new parent. It seems that a baby sleeping through the night is a sign of good parenting. And if your answer is anything other than “yes”, you’ll receive a barrage of suggestions on how to get your baby to sleep from well-meaning friends and family. Even strangers have their own tips to provide.
However, you need to understand your baby’s unique need before following the suggestions of others. It is vital in helping your baby develop a healthy sleeping habit.
Babies sleeping pattern is different from adults.
Don’t expect babies to fall asleep as you do. You may think that babies sleep quicker than adults, but in fact they don’t. Adults, move from being awake to a deep sleep fairly quickly. Babies and toddlers, on the other hand, go through a lengthy period of lighter sleep before they go into deep sleep.
To expect your baby to sleep when you want him to without you helping him is unrealistic. Night time will be easier for you and your baby if you understand his sleeping pattern and work with it, rather than imposing your own pattern and expect him to follow it.
Babies sleeping habit is more to do with their distinct nature than your parenting style.
“Good sleepers” are partly born and partly made.
Some babies are born to love sleep; some are born as night time owls. So, if your “friend” from your pre-natal class crows about her baby sleeping through the night, and yours is still keeping you awake, don’t feel you’re not doing something right. It’s possible that her baby was born to sleep for England and yours happens not to need much sleep. It’s also possible that she ignored her baby through the night and the baby simply shut down; that is “if he is really is sleeping through the night.”
The truth about babies’ sleep pattern
Babies and toddler, under 3 years old have shorter cycle of light and deep sleep. They’re programmed physiologically to wake-up more often than adults.
Each time you move from light to deep sleep, you’re susceptible to waking up. The same thing goes with your baby. Since your baby has shorter cycle, he has more vulnerable period. Therefore they’re likely to wake up more often.
Helping your baby develop a healthy sleeping pattern
Rule: There is NO “one right way” to get all children to sleep. There is NO “one perfect place” to sleep for all children. There is only the right one for your child.
Remember: Use the night time parenting style that is right for your baby and you, not what everyone else think is best.
Your goal: To help your child feel that sleep is a good thing and not something to avoid.
How to build a healthy attitude to sleep
1. Don’t expect your baby to sleep through the night. It’s unrealistic.
2. Don’t go for a “quick fix” method of getting your baby to sleep. “Crying it out” might sound like a perfect solution to getting your baby to sleep through the night, but if you use this, you risk the danger of not finding out what is making your baby restless.
3. Understand that every situation is unique and there is no “one way” of fixing a complicated sleep problem.
4. Although “crying it out” isn’t an option, so is rushing to your baby when you hear his first whimper. Wait and listen to your baby’s cry before responding. If you are attuned to your baby, his cry will tell you what he needs.
Choosing the right bedroom
Where could that be? The answer is: wherever all of you sleep best. Your baby will have his preference and you will have yours. Some babies sleep peacefully in their parents’ room, some prefers their own room. I have two children and my first born was not fussed about sleeping in her room at 3 weeks old. As she grew older, I find that she prefers to sleep alone. Her younger brother on the other hand prefers to sleep in a bedroom with someone else.
So, find the right balance that works for you and your baby.
Bio: Hope is a qualified Pediatric and Maternity nurse. Prior to starting in the corporate world, she'd delivered over 20 babies, worked with less advantagd children and children caught in conflct. She's now employed as a mother looking after her two children and is a freelance writer
Sunday, 29 January 2012