Right after birth, a mother’s responsibilities begin to line up. Enter the newborn, and you can already smell the baby blankets and the burp cloths. You are so inundated with feeding sessions, diaper changes, and catching-up-with-sleep sessions, you nearly overlook the mechanism of baby sleep. So, here are some baby sleep mistakes a new mom could make and how to correct them:
1. Your Newborn Needs To Stay Up For Just About 30 Minutes Between Each Session, So Don’t Let Him Be Awake For Long:
When someone talks about a newborn the most common comment you hear is, “All that they do is sleep, sleep, and sleep.” It’s true, and newborns need a lot of sleep for healthy growth. Thirty or forty minutes is just the timespan that they can stay up between each session. Some newborns can be up even for an hour. But even if your baby seems happy about waking up for prolonged periods than you thought, it is recommended that you let him sleep more frequently. Else the baby could be fatigued, and an exhausted baby could mar your sleep in the nights. You can have some happy sleep time for all in the first few months this way.
2. Don’t Allow Your Baby Stay Awake During The Day:
It’s a wrongly held notion that keeping your baby awake during the day will help him sleep well at night. But in reality, your tired baby will take a toll on you in the nights. Don’t even imagine or commit to a party thinking about the tired-baby-sleeps-well theory, you won’t get away. In fact, the time between 1 to 4 am or 2 to 5 am is when they will make that hullabaloo that could call for a dinner-cum-breakfast feeding time or a playtime that you will abhor. How are going to address this?
3. Set Up The Props:
You can condition your baby to sleep in time. Consider dimming the lights, pulling down the curtains, rolling down the blinds to obliterate any light, turning all the sounds (TV, radio, phones, gadgets, human voices) down. If you have older children who certainly don’t sleep at 7 pm and predictably pull out their toys or have their noisy game time after supper, ask them to go to the backyard or simply duck into their rooms while their baby sibling is going to have that preparatory sleep time. Most babies will figure out the day-night sleep reversal by six weeks of age.
4. Worrying Is Poor Strategy:
The more you discuss how your baby sleeps or start weaving thoughts about his sleeping patterns, the more of a worrier you will become. Worry doesn’t do any good for the put-your-baby-to-sleep strategy.
5. Think About A Baby Crib:
A baby crib could work better if your baby is over three-months-old, and by when he gets used to stretching his hands and feet and has gotten over the all curled up cozy posture he had assumed while in the womb. So a crib in the first three months is most likely to be protested because your baby will feel ‘alone’ in there. The idea of the openness around it can be frightening. It will need the snuggly, curled-up approach. So invest in a crib after the first three months or so. Don’t force a crib, rather use a baby car seat, a co-sleeper or even a swing.
6. Consider Bottle-feeding At Nights:
Let your baby get used to bottle feeding during the night while he continues with breastfeeding during the day. That way you won’t have to be up most parts of the night. It will allow daddy also to bottle-feed the baby if there’s a need. So either of you could swap your timings or alternate with night time bottle-feeds of your baby. And guess what, it’s good that your baby is preparing for bottle-feeding alongside so you don’t have problems when he begins weaning.
7. Not Catching Up With Naps When Your Baby Sleeps:
If you think you will read that book that was shelved up for some time or watch that much-awaited movie while your baby is sleeping, it could be the biggest mistake to make. Reading or watching the film will only tire you and do nothing regarding catching up with naps. Add this to the night-spoiler you already face. So, sleep as much as you can; it doesn’t matter even if it is daytime. Forget the undone chores (so long as the food is ready, everybody is fine). The laundry and cleaning can be put off for later. Never mind the mess. Keeping the house messy is a sign of a privileged new mother.
8. Don’t Use Sleep Aids:
Sleep aids, like pacifiers, swaddling, swings, etc. are quite addictive for babies. But, you can consider using one until your baby is six-months-old. Once your baby begins crawling, it would be time to call of these sleep aids, your baby will no longer need to be swaddled – he will undo the swaddle folds himself for that matter.
9. Comparing Your Baby With The Neighbor’s Child:
Ah, if spot your neighbor’s baby sleeping peacefully, don’t be alarmed. You know what they had to go through to put their baby on the train to dreamland.
What baby sleep mistakes did you make? How did you overcome them? Write us back.