By BIANCA CARTER
It can be very tiring taking care of an infant; many sleepless nights and fatigue can catch up with you. It’s important for babies to sleep. Not only do they need to sleep, but it allows the parent to get some needed rest as well.
Unfortunately, some babies are good sleepers and some babies aren’t. Many mothers complain that their baby has been sleeping through the night in a normal routine and then all of a sudden they change their sleeping behaviour and are up during the course of the night. When this happens, lots of mothers don’t know what to do.
Here are a few helpful tips that may make bedtime a much better experience:
- Babies like routine
Having a consistent pattern that revolves around bedtime can be very effective. If you haven’t mapped out a routine in preparation for bedtime, you should. The first thing to consider is the time. When should the bedtime ritual begin? Once you have decided on a time, try bath time, then reading a book, playing soothing music. If you have an infant it is best to soothe and comfort the baby before putting them to sleep. I don’t recommend letting your infant cry it out. Bedtime should not be a scary thing and letting your baby cry for more than two minutes is not beneficial to the baby. Some people believe in sleep training, but please ask your doctor and do your research, as there may be better options available.
- Try making sure they have a good belly full before going to sleep
This may help them sleep better during the night. If you are breastfeeding, you may want to consider giving your infant some baby cereal or another easily digestible food before bedtime. Of course feeding your baby would only be appropriate if your child is of the age to be eating solid foods, around six months or older. If your child is over the age of one, giving them a bottle of milk is suitable, just as is breastfeeding before bed would be.
- Having an environment that is conducive to sleep
You want to make sure that their sleeping environment is comfortable. Consider having a night light or making sure the room is not too cold or too hot for the baby. Also, make sure that there isn’t a lot of noise that can distract the baby when it’s bedtime. When they get older, they want to explore the world around them, so any noise may quickly distract them.
- Try to avoid falling asleep in bed with them.
If it is your wish to have your children sleep independently, you don’t want to give the impression that bedtime involves you lying down with them until they fall asleep. This can develop a bad sleeping habit. Trust me, I’ve been there!
It’s important for your child to feel comforted, so my suggestion would be to soothe your child for a few minutes, assuring them that they are OK, and that you are there for them. Keep checking on them periodically until they fall asleep.
If you are having a hard time with bedtime, try these tips and ask your child care professional for any further advice. There may be some other factors like teething that may be disrupting your baby’s sleeping habits. These bedtime woes are temporary, so just keep being consistent and find out what works for your family.
Love and hugs!
• Bianca Carter is a certified lactation counsellor, founder of Bun in the Oven, and weekend radio personality on Y98 radio. For more information, e-mail her at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow BITO on Facebook at babybunintheoven, and check out the BITO Blog every Monday and Thursday at http://babybunintheoven.com.