Sleep is important to parents as it is important for babies. However, the different sleeping patterns of babies make it difficult for parents.
Most of them will have trouble getting enough sleep while raising the babies. This can be unhealthy for them, especially if they also have to work during the day.
Unhealthy parents may result to unhealthy babies, too. Here are reasons why a good sleep is important to parents.
Effect of Sleep-deprived Parents to Babies
It is also dangerous for the babies when the parents are tired. Many things may happen to the baby when the parent watching over them is too tired or sleepy.
Here are some of them.
Reasons Parents Can't Get Enough Sleep While Watching Over Their Babies
Babies sleep for almost two thirds of the day, but most parents still could not get enough sleep. Some blame it on the irrational sleeping patterns of their babies.
However, experts say that parents are not getting enough sleep because of their own doing and not because of their babies sleeping pattern.
Below are some of the real reasons parents cannot get enough sleep while watching over their babies.
How to Change Your Baby’s Sleep-Wake Pattern
The best way for you to get good sleep is to get it when your baby is having good sleep, too. However, there are times when your baby’s clock is different from your clock.
Your baby might sleep longer in the morning and wake longer at night. Meanwhile, you could not get your sleep because you have to watch him at night and have to do things in the morning.
One of the good solution for you to get a good night sleep is to change your babies pattern, so that you both sleep at night and wake in the morning.
Changing your baby’s pattern, however, may require a lot of trying and hard work. You may have to put up with your babies irritability for a while, too. Here are some tips on how to change your baby’s pattern:
1 – Teach him to sleep at night and be awake in the morning.
Babies tend to sleep more at night and should be awake more in the morning. There are things that the babies can only get in the morning, such as vitamin D from the sun. Thus, it would be good for him to sleep and wake in the normal hours of the day.
To teach your baby the difference between night and day, you could consider doing the following:
- Take a stroll in the early morning and late in the afternoon. Your baby would start to notice that people should be awake at these hours and would try to follow it.
- Dim the lights in the room at night. Babies are attracted to light. If you keep the room bright at night, he would think that it is still morning. He may extend his waking hours.
- Let your baby see the night through the window. Make sure that the evening scene is serene though. When your baby sees that things are quiet when it is dark, he would think that he should be calm at night, too.
- Massage the baby with dim lighting. Many parents bathe their baby and massage him when they want him to sleep. This makes the baby think that he needs to sleep after a bathe and a massage. He would not care whether it is night or day.
Soon, you will have to start bathing your baby during the day to keep him alert. His body might still look forward to the massage. He might become uncomfortable if he could not have it.
When massaging the baby after a bath, dim the lights. The dim lights will act as a cue that he should sleep after the massage.
2 – Let your baby do more activities in the morning and lesser activities near his sleeping time.
One reason babies and even bigger kids have a hard time sleeping because they get too excited about the activities near his sleeping time. Some parents would introduce lively social presentations or games before sleeping. These things would make the baby more alert and refuse to sleep.
Child psychologists suggest that you do lively social events in the morning and reduce the baby’s activity near his sleeping time. Here are some nighttime activities that you can use to calm your baby before sleeping time:
- Read him picture books in a subtler way. Do not use big voices. The stories should involve babies or kids sleeping, too.
- Try to caress his back and the back of his head as you read him the story. This would help him relax.
- Let him listen to lullabies or white sounds and sway him delicately.
3 – Extend his waking hours and sleeping time gradually until his body has adjusted.
Do not force your baby to sleep longer at night and wake longer in the morning immediately. You should do it gradually.
To keep him awake longer before his usual sleeping time, you can try these things:
- Continue to entertain him when he starts to become sleepy. If the baby show the early signs of being sleepy, such as keeping quiet or stretching, keep your baby alert by tickling or conversing with him.
This might help him forget about his sleepiness for a while. But, if you see him frown or he starts to avoid you, better put him to sleep.
- Change his diaper in the middle of the feeding. Your baby might ask for a feeding before his usual sleeping time. Distract him by changing his diaper in the middle of the feeding.
Your baby might fuss for a while, but would stop crying after you feed him the remaining milk. This could make your baby stay awake for 10 to 15 minutes longer.
- Play an active song or sound while when he is sleepy. Your baby’s curiosity would keep him awake for at least 10 minutes if the song or the sound keeps him interested.
- Pat or sway him before his waking hours. Younger babies are easy to fool. If you pat his back, butt, or back of his head or sway him before his waking hours, he would think that you are still putting him to sleep. He might keep sleeping for a few more minutes or sometimes longer.
- Play a lullaby or white sound before his usual waking time. These sounds might make the baby stay relaxed.
He would wake up for a couple of minutes, but would return to sleep after he recognized the lullaby or the sound.
4 – Impose a stricter waking and sleeping time.
When your baby is around 4 months old or older, you can start imposing a stricter waking and sleeping time.
When your baby’s usual waking time is 8 a.m., wake him up gently even if he slept late. You can let him take an extra nap during the day to keep up with his lack of sleep.
When your baby sleeps at 9 p.m. at night, make him sleepy before his sleeping time. You need to put him to sleep even if you feel that he is still enjoying the night or you still want to play with him.
Tips on Making your Baby Sleepy
The faster you put your baby to sleep, the faster you can get your sleep. Below are some steps to make your baby sleepy.
You have to remember that each baby have different preferences though. You may have to find one that your baby likes.
- Try not to interact with him directly. If your baby still wants to be entertained, do it without interacting with him.
Turn on the baby mobile or a lullaby. Talk to him by following the melody of the baby mobile or the lullaby.
- Talk to him with sleepy tone and heavy eyes. When your baby is around six months old to 2 years, you could still fool them with the sleepy method.
If you act sleepy, they would imitate your eyes and your breathing. They would fall asleep in no time.
- Turn on some gentle natural chamomile and lavender scent in the room.
These two herbs are good for relaxing the body. Invest in some natural essential oil diffuser that is good for your baby.
- Bath your baby with lavender scented products. Lavender scent helps make the baby sleepy.
Bathing him lavender products or massaging him with lavender oil can make him become sleepy faster.
- Start dimming the lights an hour before his sleeping time. Your baby would start to move slower and become more relaxed if you dim the lights.
His vision would become limited. He would become less interested with other toys.