Is Your Baby Having Trouble Sleeping?
Everybody wants their baby sleeping through the night. Babies and their parents need restful sleep - it's important so that the baby is not grumpy and cranky all day and so that the parents can function somewhat normally. Of course, a baby sleeping through the night is not exactly typical, it's to be expected that the little one will wake up a handful of times in need of feeding or diaper changing. Although we all hear of the lucky new parents with an angel who sleeps quietly for hours on end, we cannot all be so fortunate as most babies wake every few hours. However, some babies just do not sleep as much as they need to and it can torment everyone involved. This article will explain the common causes of a baby's sleeping problems and what the parents can do to fix them, so that everyone can finally get a good night's sleep!
Why Getting Baby to Sleep is so Difficult
There are two main baby sleep problems. The first is that your baby just will not go to sleep to begin with. The second is that your baby will wake continuously and constantly throughout the night. Unfortunately, the two issues often intersect. By the age of three months, a baby sleep schedule should have developed on its own. Newborns up to that age will wake up much more than older babies, so it may not yet be a permanent problem if your baby is still only a few weeks old. Disrupted sleep can be due to any number of things - a wet nappy, a cold room, bright light or loud noise, an environment that is too warm, or even teething pain.
There is always the chance that a baby is waking up due to one of these genuine needs but any parent will soon be able to tell what is a real desire to be fed and what is simply fussiness. One cause of sleep problems may be too much activity around bedtime. Whether you put your baby down at 6.30 in the evening or 9 at night, bedtime needs to be quiet and calm in order to relax the baby. If the final feed is too lively, this can leave your little one restless. Babies need a soothing environment in which to fall asleep.
Another cause of the issue may lie in a lack of routine. You may be thinking: "My baby won't sleep no matter what I do" but that might just be the problem. If you are trying a different thing every night, the baby will become confused. Falling asleep is easier if your baby knows what to expect. A bath, a change of diaper and a lullaby in the same order every night can send your baby the message that it is time to sleep now. If you do these things at a different time or in a different order each evening, your baby may have difficulty falling asleep.
If you find that your baby wakes constantly throughout the night and will not go to sleep unless he has been fed, or unless you remain in the room, this issue is most likely due to accidental habits you have given your baby. If, in the first few weeks of life, you fed your newborn every time they woke in order to get them back to sleep, your baby will come to expect this and will be unable to sleep without it. Likewise, if you held your baby until he or she fell asleep every time you wanted them to doze off, the baby will be unable to fall asleep unless they are in your arms. Thankfully, there are ways to fix these tiresome habits.
How to Get Baby to Sleep - The Baby Sleep Solution
You may be saying to yourself: "My baby won't sleep, and I've tried everything! So what's left?" - the answer is baby sleep coaching. Baby sleeping habits can be hard to break once they set in, but sleep coaching can fix this. It is a way to understand your baby's sleeping patterns and to set a new one if necessary. That means you can learn how to help your baby sleep through night as well as how to fall asleep easily by themselves.
How Baby Sleep Coaching Works
Baby sleep training, or coaching, works by teaching sleeping habits to your baby. You can start sleep training at any age, from about 6 weeks up to when your child reaches the toddler stage, though it is best to start before 5 or 6 months. If you choose to sleep coach before 12 weeks all you should be doing is backing up you baby's natural sleep schedule. Newborns sleep differently to older babies and you should just let nature take its course for the first few weeks of life. There are a few sleep coaching options to choose from:
The Early Stages: From 6 to 12 weeks simply set a routine. Wake your baby and put him to bed at the same time each day, as well as starting a bedtime routine. Reinforce positive habits as your baby's biological clock adjusts and finds its rhythm.
"Cry it Out": This coaching method depends on parents letting the baby cry alone. You should allow crying for a short period of time and if it is not stopping, comfort the child without picking them up. Advocates of this method believe letting a baby "cry it out" teaches them to self-soothe.
The Comfort Approach: This is the other end of the "cry it out" spectrum. Parents following this coaching method believe in comforting their baby right away when they cry in order to soothe them back to sleep.
Consistency is very important when sleep coaching. Whatever approach you choose to take you need to stick to it, all night and every night. If you are teaching your baby to self-soothe, for instance, don't give in at 4 a.m. on the fifth night of training - you will undo all your hard work! The most important part of sleep training is setting a routine. If you fall somewhere between believing you should let a baby cry alone and comforting them every time, the key is to create a night-time schedule that teaches your baby what bedtime means. For more information, look up a baby sleep site or parenting blog, to see helpful experiences from other parents and more advice from experts.