One of the things you can help your baby learn is how to get into a regular sleep pattern.
Sleep learning takes time. During the first few weeks, most babies don’t sleep for more than two to four hours at a time. Some babies learn to sleep for long stretches as early as six weeks. This is not typical. Normally, it takes four to six months for a baby to learn to sleep for eight to 12 hours. It depends on the child.
All babies can also have disrupted sleep when they are on the verge of learning a new skill or expanding the way they see the world (known as a mental leap, according to “The Wonder Weeks”).
Need more sleep? Try these tips:
- Routines are key. Having a consistent bedtime routine helps your baby know what is expected next – sleep. Going through a sequence of calming activities such as dimming the lights, giving a warm bath, massage with lotion, reading a book or singing lullabies helps cue your baby (who can’t tell time) that sleep is coming.
- Catch the sleep window. Overtired babies have trouble falling asleep. Be attentive to baby’s sleep cues: yawning, looking away, and rubbing eyes are some signs your baby is getting tired. Remember to respect your baby’s need for sleep when planning family activities.
- Let baby practice self-soothing. Rocking baby to sleep is a wonderful way to bond and cue baby it is almost sleep time. Try laying your baby in a bassinet or crib before your baby falls into a deep sleep. This gives your baby a familiar setting to practice falling deeper into sleep, instead of wondering how she got there.
- Lower the lights and change your voice. If your baby is waking up during the night, limit talking to your baby or use a quiet voice when talking to your baby during night wake times. Talking loudly or playing with your baby can stimulate your baby and make it difficult for your baby to get back to sleep. Change or feed your baby in low amber lighting so your baby doesn’t get confused about what time of day it is.
Trying to get your baby to sleep can be very frustrating at times. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, put your baby in his or her crib and step away for a few minutes. Take some deep breaths to calm down. If possible, ask someone to help you so you can get your rest too.
Having trouble getting into a sleep routine or any other parenting questions? Call (605) 312-8390.
- Step-by-step: Laying your baby down to sleep (video)
- Protecting your baby against sudden infant death syndrome
- A healthy child gets ample sleep, nutrition and activity