You might have heard about babies who are either morning or night babies – they either sleep mostly through the day or the night. Interestingly it is believed that they inherit the sleeping pattern from their mothers while still in the womb. Your baby keeps you awake most of the times while you try catching up with your sleep bit by bit. The trend continues until your baby for initial few months until you put him on bottlefeed that can be arranged by your husband too while you are reluctant to get up and fetch the bottle – fair enough, for all the two hourly feed you had been doing, you deserve to sleep in even if that meant pretending.
However it turns out that most babies can sleep well in the nights between the age of third and fourth months if you help them or allow them to sleep, as suggested by Dr. Charles Schaefer who authored Winning Bedtime Battles: Getting Your Child to Sleep (Barnes & Noble Books, 1998).
Your baby is indeed capable of being trained on following a certain biological clock. If you aren’t training them, it would mean you would allow them to carry forward a bad sleeping pattern for years to come. If your baby is still a nocturnal one at six months, you should work towards programming him. Here are few ways you can achieve the feat with minimal baby resistance:
1. Training To Identify The Times In A Day:
Your baby may sleep through the day and stay up while it’s time for you to sleep. Primarily, your baby doesn’t identify the phenomenon of day and night and as such its circadian rhythms haven’t formed on these lines. You can help him in identifying these differences by exposing him to sunlight at dawn and lowering the lights when its night. You should ideally place your baby’s crib by the window and open the curtains or the blinds to allow the daylight in. Wake him up at a particular time through one week. And he is likely to wake on his own at the same time every day. In the evenings, make sure you put him to sleep with dim lights, the curtains down and pin-drop silence.
2. Give Your Baby Cues:
Give your baby a warm bath before sleep. Change the pyjamas, make him all warm and snuggly, feed him well before putting him to sleep. Lullabies and soft pats, or reading out stories in lowered but rhythmic manner might also let him fall asleep. Just ensure that he is at his comfortable most. Don’t do anything that mentally stimulates the baby because this way he will only end staying up longer than you, though.
3. A Well-Fed Baby Sleeps Well:
The contrast is that the well-fed baby will also wake up for a diaper change. But it might be a better idea than having a half-fed or empty stomach baby who would wake up every half an hour or once every twenty minutes demanding for the next feed. Usually growing babies will feel hungry often and they might be going through a growth spurt, therefore, the demand. So having them well-fed – especially the babies who are already on solid foods – will keep them in their beds for long. Nursing babies might be frequent wakers because mother’s milk is more quickly digested and metabolised than solid food or formula milk.
4. Ignore Those Wails:
If your baby has fallen asleep in your arms, wake him up, so he knows he is being put in the crib. Your intention is to make him understand that he must get used to sleeping in the crib rather than spending most of his time in the sling. He will raise cries of protest. And the cries will be harsh on your ears. But take it with a pinch of salt and allow him to stick in there. If you are bothered that not addressing his cries can have a negative impact on him regarding insecurity, you don’t have to worry about it so long as other needs of his are being met. The younger the baby, the easier it is to train. If your baby is five months or older, he is more likely to protest the change of rules that has set in for him.
5. Appropriate Clothing For The Season:
Well-aerated clothes for summers and warm clothes and snuggly blankets for winters are the key. Your baby must feel cozy most of the times. So have baby cushions in the crib around him.
Follow these and see for yourself that your baby can fall asleep at appropriate times. You will be surprised that the change could set in within a week!