Are you a parent of a newborn trying to figure out a way to get your little one to sleep through the night or without your help? You are not alone! Many parents go through sleepless nights trying to get their baby to adopt a regular sleep pattern.
This guide provides you with the tools to understand and establish a healthy, sleep training routine for your baby. With this guide, you will learn the basics of baby sleep patterns and how to set up a successful sleep training routine, so you and your family can enjoy a much-needed good night's sleep.
Benefits of establishing a sleep routine
There are many benefits to sleep training your child, such as helping them develop healthy sleeping habits and sleep patterns, ensuring they receive the proper amount of rest and nutrition, and reducing the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Sleep training your child will also help you as a parent, as you will be able to get a good night's rest and be more productive during the day. If you have multiple children, sleep training will also help your other children get the proper amount of sleep. This will reduce the amount of noise and commotion going on in your home, helping you maintain a sense of normalcy in your life.
If you have a baby who is waking frequently at night to feed, consistent sleep training will help avoid overfeeding, which can lead to abnormal weight gain and health issues.
Understanding your baby’s natural sleep patterns
Newborns are notorious for being difficult sleepers. On average, newborns spend 15 hours sleeping and will wake up every two hours or so to eat. Every newborn and every baby is different, so don’t be worried if your baby is sleeping differently than other babies. Every baby has their own unique sleep patterns and your baby’s sleep patterns will change as they grow. You’ll find that they will begin sleeping more regularly and for longer periods of time.
Newborns will sleep anywhere from 2-3 hour cycles. After the first few weeks, they’ll begin sleeping in longer cycles of 3-4 hours, and eventually they’ll be sleeping in cycles of 4-5 hours. They are highly dependent on feedings to sleep, so you might find that your baby only sleeps when they are being fed.
But after a few weeks, you’ll also notice that your newborn can sleep without feeding, eventually changing their sleep patterns as well. Eventually, your tiny one will also sleep less during the day, sleep longer at night, and when your baby is one year old, they will likely sleep about 11-14 hours every day.
Creating the right environment for sleep
To successfully implement sleep training, you must first provide a safe and comfortable space for your baby to sleep in. Like adults, babies require a place that’s conducive for sleeping. This goes beyond merely making sure your little one is sleeping in a proper crib.
Your baby's sleeping environment should be consistent every night. It should be free of any distractions or lights that may wake your baby up. This way, your baby can rest peacefully through the night.
The ideal temperature for slumber also takes temperature levels into account. Babies prefer a colder room temperature for slumber. You can use blankets or warm sleepers to keep your baby warm while they sleep, but make sure that they’re also appropriate for infants.
Developing a sleep training routine
Getting your baby to sleep on their own is a major milestone in the early parenting journey. Meaning that they are not rocked, swayed, hugged, fed, or shushed to sleep, but instead put down for the night when they are awake but sleepy. Sleep training also teaches the baby how to fall back to sleep when they eventually do wake up overnight.
Sleep training works to help your baby learn how to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own. The best sleep training routine is one that works for your baby and, so you have to be patient while trying to develop the routine. Simply put, don’t expect your baby to be sleeping through the night after just one night of sleep training. It can take a few weeks, so you have to be patient and consistent.
Night weaning is not always done in conjunction with sleep training. Depending on your baby's age and development, you can still feed him or her once or twice in the middle of the night. In order to determine when it is safe to completely stop giving your infant a bottle at night, you should consult a pediatrician.
That's just one instance of how sleep training is gentler than it sounds. It doesn't always entail leaving a crying baby in the nursery alone all night. In fact, you can control the length of crying you allow your baby before you go in and sing a soothing song or offer a reassuring rub on the back.
Tips for successful sleep training
- The key to successful sleep training is consistency. Make sure to always follow your sleep training routine. If your baby begins to cry, it’s okay to go to them and comfort them if they haven’t settled down for some time. Your baby will cry, but it will get better as you establish a consistent routine. Sleep training is a process, and it takes time.
- Avoid overstimulating your baby before they go to sleep. This includes playing music or watching TV. These things can be excellent during the day, but avoid them before bedtime.
- Make sure your baby has a proper sleeping environment. This means keeping their room dark and cool, and their bed clean and free of any loose blankets that are not baby-appropriate or other items that could be a possible suffocation hazard.
- If you have other children in the house, make sure they are also following a sleeping routine. This will go a long way in helping your baby rest better.
This guide provides you with all the information you need to understand your baby’s natural sleep patterns and create the right environment for sleep, as well as develop a sleep training routine and learn tips for successful sleep training. With this information, you will be able to help your baby sleep comfortably without any help from you.