Sleep is crucial for all ages. However, it is especially important for infants since it offers numerous benefits—sound sleep allows not only to have a rest and gain strength and energy but also to develop properly. So, how should parents organize a good sleep for their baby?
Why Is Sleep So Important for Infants?
While the baby is sleeping, their body performs a lot of functions such as:
- Production of growth hormones
- Analysis of the information received during the day
- Stimulation of brain regions responsible for memory, thinking, and studying
- Immune system reinforcement
Now you can see why a good sleep is important for infants. But how can one determine the correct duration of a sound sleep? The length of a baby’s sleep depends on both its age and body peculiarities. For example, one-month-old babies sleep almost all the time without distinguishing between day and night and wake up only to eat.
Later, a kid’s body starts feeling the difference between day and night and develops its own regime. One should keep in mind that a baby will wake up at night within the first several months of its life because it constantly feels hungry—having 3 meals a day like an adult is not enough of children of that age.
Nevertheless, parents should work out a proper wake-sleep schedule to make babies’ night awakenings shorter so that the kid may fall asleep right after eating. The parents’ biggest nightmare is when a baby confuses day and night and wants to play when it’s time to sleep and wants to sleep when parents need to be active even if tired after a sleepless night.
How Can Parents Help Their Baby To Fall Asleep?
It is important to teach a baby to sleep at night and to play in the daytime from the very beginning. It is also important to establish a ritual before going to bed. For example, you can bathe a baby in calming herbs, then feed it and after that put to sleep without haste, singing lullabies or playing calm pleasant music. You can also try to put a baby to sleep in your bed and then bring it to the crib.
There are other ways of helping your baby fall asleep, such as:
- Lulling. You can lull a baby to sleep in your arms, in a crib, a baby carriage, a sling, etc. This will remind a baby of the time when it was in the mum’s tummy. The disadvantage of the method is that sometimes it takes too long to make a toddler sleep deeply.
- Falling asleep while eating. Some babies prefer sleeping when they are being fed. The problem is a kid may wake up if the feeding is interrupted and then you’ll need to start all over again.
- Alarm clock. Parents can note the baby’s falling asleep and awakening time and reset it by awaking a kid earlier each time (e.g. half an hour earlier). The disadvantage is that a baby may start waking up and falling asleep unpredictably because its organism can easily become confused.
- Falling asleep “in splendid solitude”. This method can seem quite strict for it implies falling asleep without mother’s help. Once you see a baby is likely to fall asleep put it into its bed and move away as far as you can. You can either leave the room despite possible crying or rock a crib for some time singing lullabies and avoiding eye contact with a kid. It is also important not to take a baby in your arms. The disadvantage is that you will need much time, patience, and willpower.
- White noise. Some babies easily fall asleep to low monotonous sounds (e.g. a working fan or vacuum cleaner, a radio, running water, etc.). To help a kid fall asleep quickly you may buy a child’s or a bedside lamp making pleasant sounds. Though, this method can be useless for some kids because of their individual peculiarities.
- Comfort. The infants will fall asleep easily if the blanket is tucked around them like a cocoon. It is important to remember that a baby’s nose has to be left uncovered—otherwise, it may suffocate while sleeping.
To achieve harmony in the family and arrange a common schedule for all family members, stick to the following recommendations:
- Always devote time for your own rest—your baby needs parents that love each other and have a chance to relax
- Prepare for going to bed and do the same for your baby (it is advisable to go to bed at the same time each day)
- Don’t let you baby sleep in the daytime (otherwise, it will sleep badly at night)
- Go with your feeling and take cues from your baby, feeding it only if necessary (don’t overfeed and don’t let feeding become an endless play)
- Provide your baby with an adequate physical activity during the day and make sure there are no active games before bedtime
- Control the air in your baby’s bedroom (it has to be fresh, cool, humid, and clean; the air temperature should range from 18 to 20°C.)
- Remember that your baby’s bedding and diapers should be of top quality
- Watch the condition of a mattress, bed sheets, blanket, and pillows in your baby’s bed