Top tips to establish good sleep habits in infants
How to make baby sleep on time
Baby sleep schedule
Top tips to establish good sleep habits in infants – It is important to establish good sleep habits early on, as it will be easier for both you and the baby later. Good sleep habits simply mean, baby should realize when she is feeling sleepy and when is the time of going to bed.
How to know that Baby is Sleepy ?
When you are having fun, it is very easy to keep baby awake for just a little more time, so that you or others could enjoy with her, but this may not be a very good idea. It is important to know when is feeling sleepy and to put her to sleep, so that she gets enough rest. You baby cannot tell you that she wants to sleep but there are many signs through which you can come to know of the same :
- Rubs eyes
- Stretches her limbs
- Starts fussing or crying suddenly
- Wants to cuddle
- May sometimes pull her hair or ears
If you see one or more of these signals and you baby has been awake for a while, it may be time for a nap or sleep. It will not take long before you will know instinctively that your baby is sleepy.
What if signs of tiredness are ignored ?
If you happen to ignore signs of tiredness of baby due to any reasons, there can be many repercussions :
- She will become over-tired and will be more difficult to settle when you want to put her to sleep.
- Baby will become too clingy and fussy.
- She will become irritable and may scream or be too fussy.
- She will not sleep easily and you will have to work twice as hard to settle her.
How to help baby differentiate between day and night ?
Babies have have no distinction of day and night. There was no light inside the womb and they continue their routine as they are fed day and night. This is necessary during the first couple of weeks. Read more on newborn sleep patterns. But as baby grows and becomes few weeks old and becomes a more active participant in daily routine, you can gradually help her become aware of the difference between day and night.
Teach baby that daytime is for fun and play and night is for rest.
During daytime :
- Feed baby once she gets up and play with her.
- Interact with baby, sing to her so that she enjoys that time.
- Take baby out in the light, keep house well-lit and airy.
- Take baby out to the park, show plants, sky, trees and other kids.
- Let baby nap when she wants to. Gradually naptimes and naps will reduce on their own.
During night time :
- Keep stimulation to minimum.
- Swaddling a very young baby helps.
- Do not play with baby at night.
- If you bathe baby at night, do it at the same time everyday before bedtime.
- Feed in a dark room and make her comfortable.
- Sing a lullaby or read a book to baby to relax her.
Helping baby fall asleep on her own?
Once your baby is 2-3 months old, you should gradually let baby sleep on her own. Once the baby is sleepy, put the baby down on the crib and let her drift to sleep. You may remain with her but let her lie on her bed.
There are many opinions about sleep training a baby, but you should do what you feel right. If you do not mind rocking your baby to sleep every night, go ahead and do it. However, let the baby sleep in her own bed and gradually reduce the time of support tactics like feeding, rocking, singing etc.
There are also opinions about co-sleeping. This again is a personal choice. Check out pros and cons of co-sleeping and letting baby sleep alone.