Babies sleep problems are very common. When the night wakings and difficulties falling asleep happens on a daily basis, the parents’ will be at their wits end.
Here we gathered some common reasons why your baby keeps waking up at night and 6 tips for better baby sleep!
Why doesn’t my baby sleep at night?
Babies’ sleep patterns
The troubles falling asleep or night wakings can be due to many reasons. Before you start to diagnose your baby further, it’s good to understand the baby’s sleep patterns.
A newborn baby usually sleeps 18-20 hours a day. During the first weeks and months your baby doesn’t do much more than eat and sleep – continuous sleep lasts approximately 2-4 at a time. Individual differences may be significant though!
Baby’s sleep cycle lasts about an hour, so babies pass from deep sleep to light sleep every hour. During this your baby may fidget or mutter. Some of the babies go back to sleep after the new sleep cycle starts, but some will wake up. Then the parents’ presence and help are needed, so the baby will fall back to sleep.
The adults’ sleep cycle is half an hour longer than the babies sleep cycle; ergo 1.5 hours. There will be problems if the baby wakes up every hour, because then the wakings happen in the middle of the parents’ deep sleep. This will make the parents feel even more tired.
The reasons for night wakings
As said, the night wakings and troubles falling asleep can be due to several reasons. Sometimes so called physical reasons may be the cause such as teething, wet diaper or extra sounds or brightness.
Baby sleep problems and night wakings can be a sign for some illness for example otitis, allergy or even reflux. Most baby sleep problems aren't caused by medical conditions, but if you’re worried go to see a doctor.
Babies are constantly developing as they grow. The reasons related to baby’s development are usually causing the baby sleep problems. Especially a baby, who is learning new skills during the day such as crawling and sitting, is processing the new skills also at night. This can cause for example the night wakings.
6 tips to try if your baby doesn’t sleep
Baby, who doesn’t sleep well is not all fun and games. The parents are worried does the baby get enough sleep and the same time the parents’ wellbeing is on the line. Here are some tips to try at home!
1. Your baby loves routines
You should start creating a clear day routine for your baby as early as possible. Even though, life with a small baby can feel like living in the moment, however, you should try to maintain the bedtime routines and go-to-bed times.
The time in the evening before going to sleep is the time for calming down. Close the tv, dim the lights and avoid loud noises such as playing music at high volumes. Try to create a specific bedtime routine in which are things familiar to the baby e.g. lullaby or bedtime story.
2. Take care of your baby’s sleep hygiene
A small baby is very sensitive to light and noises, even smells. Make sure that the bedroom or the room where the baby is sleeping, has dim lighting and the right temperature. The right room temperature should be approximately 18 °C (a little bit lower than the average room temperature 21-22 °C).
The blankie or a familiar photo or painting on wall or even a rotating mobile over the baby’s crib can help the baby to fall asleep easier.
3. Get enough fresh air
If you’re worried that your baby doesn’t get enough sleep or falling asleep is a struggle, you should go out and get some fresh air during the day. For most of the babies the combination of fresh air and the strollers’ steady rocking helps them to fall asleep.
You can also try to lull your baby in the stroller in your balcony. Thus, your baby can sleep undisturbed in fresh air.
4. Take better care of your own sleep
This can be considered as self-evident but sometimes even impossible; the parents’ must take care of their own sleep as well the baby’s sleep. Especially when struggling with baby sleep problems, it’s important for the parents to work together for a common goal and plan their own sleeping times. When the other parent goes for a walk with the baby, the other can have a nap at home.
5. Soothe your crying baby but don’t pick the baby up immediately
Many parents automatically pick the baby up, when the baby starts crying. However, contain yourself and try to soothe the baby by caressing the baby’s head or back and talk to the baby with a calm tone. Pick the baby up only if the soothing doesn’t work.
6. Remember the evening snack
The baby falls asleep better, when he/she is satisfied. However, don’t put the baby to bed straight after the baby has eaten. It’s good to digest the food first before going to sleep.
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