Sleep 101: Infant sleeping hacks you need to try

Caring for a baby with sleep issues can be exhausting. Read on to learn four ways you can help your baby get back on the sleep train.

Are you struggling with infant sleep problems? Take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone! Babies sleep differently from adults and may wake several times at night or struggle to fall asleep on an adult’s schedule.

According to Megan Faure and Ann Richardson in their book Sleep Sense, around your baby’s first birthday or she should be having roughly two decent sleeps during the day, about three-and-a-half hours apart. If, however, your baby isn’t sleeping for the recommended amount of time, or is sleeping during the day and keeping you up all night, your baby’s environment and the events of his day could be to blame.

Keep the following suggestions in mind to help your baby get the most out of his naps:

Maintain a strict routine

While babies have a body clock that alerts them when they are tired or hungry, they are unable to verbalise or satisfy these needs on their own. Your little one needs you to tell him that it’s snack time or nap time, and to keep these routines consistent so he knows what to expect.

Pay attention to your baby’s signals

Your baby’s age determines how long he can be awake and content. According to Faure and Richardson, a baby cannot cope with stimulus and engagement for the same amount of time as a toddler before getting overstimulated. If your baby refuses to take a day nap and sobs as soon as you place him down, he’s likely been awake for too long and is overstimulated.

Keep an eye out for your child’s distinct signs that he’s ready for a nap (eye-rubbing, yawning, finger-sucking, and general fussing). Also, keep your baby awake at feeding time, but try to stay within a half-hour of his or her typical nap time.

Establish a sleeping area

Your baby’s sleeping quarters don’t necessarily have to be in his own room in his cot. As long as nap time isn’t in the car or in a bouncy seat while you’re doing the dishes, it can be a camp cot in another room or even in another house in a nice, quiet, dark room.

According to Faure and Richardson, if a sleep zone is used consistently, it prepares your little one for sleep as soon as he sees his cot and the darkened room. White noise, such as from a fan or a white noise CD, might help your child relax by filtering out background sounds.

When your baby is awake, stimulate him

Maintaining your child’s attention when he is awake will aid in his naptime slumber. While it’s vital to limit overstimulation throughout the day, movement stimulation is one sort of stimulation that some babies don’t get enough of in order to sleep effectively.

“It’s critical to include enough movement in your baby’s everyday activities to ensure he sleeps well,” Faure and Richardson advise.

A trip to the store or a stroll around the block in a pram or sling can go a long way toward preparing your baby for a nap. Before nap time, keep your child occupied with exciting activities like dancing to music or swinging on a swing. Keep an eye out for signs that he’s sleepy and ready for a nap.  

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