We all know that babies need to get a high-quality sleep for them to remain calm and happy throughout the days. If you are a parent and would like to learn how to train your small infant to get a good night sleep, you are at a right place. In this ultimate guide for better baby sleeping, I will lay down all the relevant facts and tips for you! Keep on reading to learn more.
Chapter 1: Baby Sleeping Habits
Before I go ahead and provide you some of the best tips for better baby sleeping, let us learn a thing or two about their sleeping habits.
By having a thorough understanding of their napping nature, you will find it easier to adjust your schedule and predict the reasons behind their fussiness or non-stop cries.
Newborn to Three Months Old
I think you know by now that sleeping is the primary activity for the newborns and very young infants. Between birth and about three months old, you will find them sleeping for up to 17 hours per day!
Despite the long sleeping time, babies also do not tend to stay asleep for more than four hours per sleep!
From this information, we can see that parents might find it difficult to handle the short sleep. You might have to stop whatever you are doing to attend to them only after a few short hours successfully putting them to sleep.
Why do babies have a short sleeping period? Well, studies have shown that in this stage of development, they are facing a rapid brain development. It puts them in the REM mode sleep, which is Rapid Eye Movement (Babycenter.com).
That is why the cycle of their sleeping is rapid, short and sometimes, quite unpredictable. But, this unique pattern will change when your baby reaches the age of about four to six months.
Three to Six Months
In this stage, you can start to breathe a sigh of relief! The challenging and tiring stage as parents is over! Now, enters the second phase.
For babies between the age of three and six months old, their sleeping cycle is longer and somewhat scheduled.
They are now capable of taking a short nap session during the day and stay asleep for as long as 8 to 12 hours at night (Parent.com)!
During the day, babies will sleep about three times for three to five hours. So, make sure your child get the estimated nap sessions to ensure that he/she gets enough sleep.
Trust me; your baby will remain happy and healthy with sufficient naps during the day. As your kid gets older at six months, you will find the nap time gets shorter and less frequent.
However, whether they wake up at night to feed, it depends on your kids. Normally, at four months, they will sometimes get up at night for breastfeeding. At five-month-old onwards, you will find your baby to remain asleep throughout the evening.
At this age, they are also able to differentiate between night and day. During this time, you can easily sleep or rest during their sleeping schedule.
Six to Nine Months
So, your baby is now six to nine months old, what’s next? Well, in this phase, your precious one should already able to sleep for a long stretch of time.
He or she might no longer need to sleep for 17 hours. 15 to 14 should be enough for both day naps and night sleep.
From six months old and onwards, he will start to take a nap for about twice a day – one in the morning and another one in the afternoon (Babycenter.com).
When it comes to the night sleeping pattern, it varies between babies. If your kid can sleep soundly for eight hours and more throughout the night without waking up, he has now developed a good sleeping habit!
However, do not worry if they do wake up at night. Some six-month-old babies and older still do this for various reasons.
They might wake up because they are hungry, or they are having a teething pain, or simply having a separation anxiety. You need to learn how to handle your baby if they do.
Nine to Twelve Months
By now, you should notice a stable sleeping pattern in your child. Babies at this age will normally have two naps during the day with two to three hours per napping session.
At night, your child should sleep for a solid 11 or 12 hours without waking up. Even if they do, they should be able to fall asleep again shortly.
Sometimes, you might need to feed them, but it should not be more than one feeding session. Some experts recommend that you feed them once at about 4 am so that the mood of your baby remain at the highest level when they wake up (Babysleepsite.com).
A baby crying it out.
If it happens, it might indicate that your child is still having a trouble to sleep at night. A sleep training is necessary if it does happen.
However, it is also important to know that the situation of your child might be different from others. So, the pattern does not have to be exactly similar with other kids.
Why? It is because your baby’s milestone achievements and eating habits can have an impact on the sleep schedules. Since every child achieves different milestones at different periods of age, so does their sleep schedules (Babycenter.com)!
Chapter 2: 6 Tips to Develop Good Sleep Habits
For you to continue enjoying parenthood and watching your babies grow up each day, it is important for you to get a good sleep. It will keep you energized during the day to take care of your small child.
However, if the precious child does not sleep at night or refuse to take naps during the day, it will have an impact on his or her development as well as your well-being.
So, make sure you start developing a consistent sleeping pattern in your child. In this ultimate guide for better baby sleeping, I have prepared for you six tips to develop good sleep habits.
Don’t Put Your Baby Down with A Bottle
Firstly, try to avoid dependency. Do not put your baby to sleep by feeding her with milk or juice in a bottle.
If your child is accustomed to the habit of having something in her mouth – sucking and drinking – before falling asleep, it will be tough for him to fall asleep on his own.
The habit of drinking from a bottle right before sleep can also cause improper digestion, ear infections, and teeth problem (Parents.com).
Find What is Soothing for Your Baby
Another way to develop healthy sleep habits is by figuring out what is soothing for your baby. Preparing a proper nursery with an excellent bed and well-aired room will help your child to fall asleep comfortably.
If you are trying to separate, try to ease the separation process. Your child might face anxiety for being away from you.
Always spend some time to hold him before bedtime; just so that he knows you are nearby to comfort him.
Even after putting him into the baby cot, do not leave immediately. Spend some time to lullaby him to sleep.
Develop A Sleep Routine
Having a proper sleep routine also helps to encourage healthy habits in your baby. Make sure that your child has two naps during the day at about the same time.
It does not have to be exactly at 12.30 pm or 1 pm, but it should be around the similar time.
At night, establish a specific bed time and train him to sleep on it. What you can do is dim the light a few minutes before it.
Plus, get your baby ready by holding him, lullabying and rocking him. Check out this YouTube video of lullaby songs that you can play in the room.
Implement Safe Sleep Hygiene
Next, encourage a safe sleep by focusing on the hygiene part.
Firstly, there will be a need to change your child’s diapers at night. When you do this, try to do it in a dim-lit room. Do it slowly and quietly to avoid disturbing his sleep.
Also, do not allow them to drink or eat before bedtime (Webmd.com). The sweetness and sugary ingredients will cause cavities and ruin their baby teeth.
With the extra calories at night, it can also cause him to be hungry and fussy the next morning!
The next tip to good sleeping habit is quite logical. By having enough nap during the day, your child’s mood will get better until night.
The way to encourage napping is by keeping him active when awake. Try to have a chat with him or let him play around actively.
When they are tired, it will be much easier for them to fall asleep during the day.
Allow Your Child to Learn to Fall Asleep Independently
Lastly, you need to train your baby to fall asleep without any assistance from his parents. The easiest way to do this is to lay down your child into the crib when he is drowsy but fully awake (Healthychildren.org).
Experts claim that this will foster independence. Children will not need to be in the arms of their parents when trained with this habit.
Plus, if you always hold and rock them to sleep, your baby will demand the same thing when they wake up at night – this might interfere your sleep!
Chapter 3: Top 10 Reasons Why Babies Cannot Sleep
So, let say you have tried the recommended tips above and your child still does not have a good sleep at night. What can you do?
First, let us learn the top 10 reasons why babies cannot sleep well. It will give you some understanding and assist you in handling the situation confidently.
Hunger is the top reason why baby wakes up at night. In the infant stage, they are growing rapidly. So, they need lots of nourishment.
It explains why they are hungry every few hours, even at night! If you child is awake and crying, try to hold off for a few minutes.
He might doze off after a few seconds. But if the cry persists, he might be hungry.
Same goes with thirst. For a small baby, they get thirsty quite often. If he refuses to breastfeed, he might need water.
So, always keep a water bottle nearby and try to give it to him. It might put him at ease and back to sleep.
Remember to keep your child hydrated. As a precaution, consult your pediatricians to ensure that it is safe to give him water at such a young age (Mummyology.cok.uk).
Just like adults, babies can also get over tired. Some of the signs of tiredness are they are fussy, easily irritated, keep rubbing their eyes, and crying non-stop (Babysleepsite.com).
As parents, what you can do is to give him the comfort that he needs. Hold him close to your arms. A good skin-to-skin contact, especially with the mothers, can soothe down a baby.
Next, make sure the room has the right temperature and lighting. It is to promote a good sleeping environment to your little one.
Also, rocking and walking with your child in your arms might be able to get him to sleep.
The reason why he needs a movement is that he is already familiar with such mobility when he is the womb.
So, the continued movement does help to calm their anxiety or nerves. One way to provide it is by carrying him in your arms or hold him near in a baby wrap or sling.
There is also a possibility that your child needs to suck something for him to be able to slumber.
What you can do is to give him a bottle or a dummy for him to suck. Believe it or not, suckling can put babies into a state of calmness!
Just make sure you remove them after they are finally asleep.
Teething is a normal milestone in a child’s development. It is important for you to know that in this stage, your baby might experience some pain.
At this stage, he might have a slight fever, rash, stomach ache, restlessness and discomfort around the mouth and jaw areas.
So, it is understandable for your baby not to be able to sleep well. Even if they do, they might wake up a few times.
Let him suck on something to ease the pain. Also, give him cold milk or medicines – that will help!
Learning A New Skill
When your baby can’t sleep, there is a chance that he is too excited about something (Parents.com)! Maybe he has just learned how to crawl or knew how to walk.
If your child is awake at night without crying or being fussy, he might be awake because he needs to continue with the learning process.
All you need to do is show him some love, provide a calm environment, and rock him to sleep. He will eventually fall asleep with your help.
Can you imagine going to sleep while having pain on your body? No right? So does your baby!
He might not be able to sleep because of pain or medical discomfort (Amotherfarfromhome.com). Their body is tiny, thus sensitive to sensations.
Stomach ache, teething pain, and colds can affect their bedtime routine. How can you help? Give him prescribed medicines, apply baby oil, and hold them close to you will put them back to sleep.
Change of Routine
If there is a change in your baby’s daily routine, he might also have a trouble of sleeping.
It can happen when he is learning a lot of things during the day and his nap time has been pushed out of the ordinary.
Also, the routine changes can also occur when you are traveling with your small infant. What you can do is to reschedule or reinforce the regular schedule.
Follow your instinct, and your little one will get the hang of it soon!
Being Close to You
Another reason why babies cannot sleep is that your small child might just want to be close to you!
It is a natural thing. Children do feel calm and safe when they smell and detect the presence of their parents, especially the mothers.
If you find your little one still does not fall asleep, despite the breastfeeding and comfortable ambiance, maybe all he needs is a cuddling from you.
You are, after all, his sleeping aide (Webmd.com).
Chapter 4: 15 Ways on How to Put Baby to Sleep
1. Establish A Sleeping Routine
One of the most effective ways on how to put a baby to sleep is by creating a sleeping routine.
At night, a few minutes before your set bedtime, try to dim the light. Your child will take that as a cue to go to sleep.
Do this consistently for a few weeks, and your baby will get the pattern.
2. Put the Lights Out
This next step can also be a clue to the baby. In his bedroom, avoid turning on a bright light. That will shock him and make him active again.
Keep the room dark as that will foster sleepiness in your baby (Nhs.uk).
3. Change Diapers and Feed
To avoid intermittent sleep at night, prepare your child properly. Make sure he goes to bed with a fresh diaper and feed him with some milk.
At night, if he does wake up, do not rush to get him. Leave him for a while; he might go to sleep by himself right after that.
4. Keep the Room Cool
Another way to make your baby fall asleep quickly is by keeping his bedroom cool. Set the temperature by adjusting your air conditioner or heater. A well-conditioned room will make him sleep well at night.
5. Keep White Noise On
Some parents think that the room needs to be 100% quiet. However, some experts have suggested keeping the white noise inside the room on (Parents.com).
Babies are accustomed to soft noises inside the mother’s womb – the sound of the heartbeat and stomach.
So, provides a similar environment. You may keep the sound of the fan or air conditioner as it might soothe him to sleep.
6. Cuddle and Put Down
You can also spend a minute or two to cuddle your baby before his bedtime. It will put your child at ease and in a state of calmness.
However, always remember to put him down into his cot before he falls asleep. Lay him on the bed when you notice that he gets drowsy.
7. Let Him Settles In
After putting him in his crib and he cries, wait! Do not pick him up immediately. Take it as a part of training.
Let him cry for a while and allows him to settle in. If you put him down when he is still drowsy, there is a chance for him to fall asleep right after that.
8.Avoid Eye Contact
While at that, avoid eye contact! When your child cries, he is calling for your attention. If you look him into his eyes, he will take it as a triumph.
There is no need to leave the room yet. Be around but just avoid looking at your baby.
You may pat him softly on his arms and stomach. You can also put your hand on your baby’ head.
It will calm him down and let him know that you are near. He will find it easier to sleep now because he feels safe with your touch.
10. Pacifiers Might Help
If it still does not work on him, maybe a pacifier will help. He might have some discomfort, and by letting him suck on something, that will soothe him.
Just remember to remove it once he is deep in slumber. If it falls from his mouth, he might get shocked and wake up.
11. Dream Feed
At night, try to set a time to breastfeed him (also called dream feed). Experts have said that by waking the baby up in the middle of his sleep, he will sleep for a long stretch of time (Babycenter.com).
Watch this YouTube video that teaches how to bottle feed properly.
12. Light Massage
According to studies done by University of Miami Touch Research Institute (Parenting.com), babies who receive a 15-minute massage before bedtime doze off faster than those who don’t.
Maybe you want to take a hint from this research. Buy a baby-friendly massage oil and give your child a rub every night during the training.
Check out this video on how to give a massage to your little one!
13. Consider Overnight Diapers
Besides feeding, diapers are another necessary at night. Overnight diapers have an ultra-absorbing ability that will keep your child dry and comfortable. Apply diaper cream to protect his skin from rashes.
Swaddling might look very uncomfortable on a baby. However, it is quite calming for children. Why? It simulates the tight condition inside a womb.
That is why swaddling allows baby to sleep better at night. You might want to give it a try!
15. Avoid Attending Crying Baby Right Away
After doing all the recommended steps above, it is time to tough it through. Make it a habit of giving your child a minute or two to relax if he wakes up and cries at night.
Mother breastfeeding with television
It might just be a temporary thing. However, if it persists, pick your baby up but do not leave the room or turn on the light.
Cuddle, pat, rock or lullaby him. It will encourage sleeping. Also remember to check out this awesome guide put together by Sleep Advisor on parent’s guide To a Child’s Sleep.
Chapter 5: 4 Baby Sleeping Challenges & Solutions
Of course, this ultimate guide for better baby sleeping will not be complete without talking about some of the real challenges faced by parents in baby sleeping. Let us look at each one and figure out what is the best solution for it.
Sleep Through the Night
Getting your baby to sleep is one thing and keeping him to stay deep in sleep throughout the evening is another!
So, what can you do to make sure that your child sleeps through the night? Practice – that is the key word.
You will need to restrain yourself from attending to every single cry when he wakes up. Allow at least two-minute intervals before picking him up (Babycentre.co.uk).
Another way is by making him active during the day. Let him play and stay awake if he wishes!
Also, keep in mind that whenever you enter the room to calm your child down, do not turn on the light, make loud noises or linger for too long (Zerotothree.org). It will make it harder for him to go back to sleep.
Another challenge in baby sleeping is breathing difficulty. It could be because of cold or flu. If this happens, your little one will find it difficult to breathe normally, thus affecting his ability to sleep.
For small children, there are several things that I would like to recommend. A few minutes before bedtime, try to remove the blocked nose.
Use a bulb syringe to suck up his snot. You can also use saline nasal spray. It can thin the mucus of your baby (Mypregnancybaby.com).
A humidifier can also help to release the symptom. If you have a bigger baby, wear him a hat and tie it at the neck (VKool.com). It will prevent your child from sleeping and breathe with an open mouth.
Encourage Sleeping inside A Crib
In the process of training a child to sleep alone in his or her nursery room, one of the main challenges is to make sure that he does want to sleep on his own.
The first tip: make the baby cot comfortable. As tempted as you are to decorate the bed with lots of toys and soft blankets, it is not safe for infants. So, keep the bed empty.
Next, he loves to be in your arms. To train him to sleep in his crib, make sure you cuddle and rock him before putting him in (Parents.com).
It will calm him down. Do this several times, he will get the rhythm of it and becomes his sleeping habit!
Finally, there is the alone sleep challenge. If you are converting from co-sleeping to alone-sleeping, your small one will show some tantrums.
Perhaps, your baby is not yet familiar with the nursery room, and he is missing having you nearby.
Your love and patience are necessary. Help to ease the conversion by staying with him for a while in the nursery room until he falls asleep.
Give him some loving pat or lullaby. It shows that you are still there. Your baby will feel safe and calm (Zerotothree.org).
It will give the “momma’s scent” to the child and provides comfort to him.
So, there you go – the ultimate guide for better baby sleeping. How do you find it? Is it informative and beneficial? I hope it is!
The guide that I have provided here offers top tips to parents in establishing a proper and ever-lasting sleeping habits in your children.
Experts have suggested the methods above, and I believe with a little bit of tender, care, and love from you, the parents, it will work for your precious baby.
If you have any opinions or additional tips that you would like to share with other parents, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you!