Create a sleep time-table
Your baby’s sleep time changes as he grows older. As he is still very much dependent on you in the first two years, especially, how he sleeps and when he goes to bed will affect your own sleep pattern. You may have no other choice than take things into your hands and plan his sleep schedule to suit both of you.
The earlier baby adjusts to the time he should be sleeping, the more you feel rested and contented as a mother. Start the training when he is about three months. At this age, he has no idea that there is a difference between night and day. Baby sleeps, wakes up anytime, he feels like it; and he demands to be fed at any time. His feeding habit, another pattern at this time, may annoy and make you tired but he needs to eat often because his stomach is not yet big enough to hold much food.
Since he does not know day or night, you would have to teach him the difference.
When it is 6’ o’clock in the evening, dim the light in his bedroom. Reduce the amount of talk and physical contact with baby at the time you think that he should be sleeping. He will show some signs of tiredness like yawning and or rubbing his eyes, put him down on his bed; he may protest at first by crying because he felt comfortable in your arms.
Don’t sing and carry on any of those habits you have designed to lull baby to sleep; like rocking him to sleep, for example. Rocking him to sleep, singing and entertaining him until he falls asleep; this may work in the beginning, but stop the singing or rocking when he is about two months old. Beyond that age, you may be setting up a bad sleeping habit.
Babies may sleep often but research says that they do not remain in deep sleep all the time. As you mummy may even have noticed, they wake up from deep sleep, every 45 minutes and sleep light before they are over- taken by sleep again. When he wakes up, he should be able to sleep on his own again. However, the one who has been made to believe that mummy is always waiting to soothe him will keep waking and crying for attention.
Ages Three to Six Months
Many babies in this age bracket should be expected to wake two times in the night and thinking that it was all- normal that they are given food. But at this stage, their stomachs are bigger and their digestive system developed enough to enable them eat more food at a time, so they are able to go longer time before the next feeding time. At this stage, the brain has started to produce the hormone, melatonin. The production begins when baby is 12 weeks old. Melatonin helps to regulate sleep. Take advantage of his ability to sleep for longer period and the stomach which is bigger now and increase the time in between feeding to up to four hours, so he can stay for longer hours between feeds at night. With time, he will be able to sleep for up to six hours before he wants food.
Go for strolls with baby to help relax him; it has also been said that exposing baby to daylight help to set their body clocks and regulate melatonin levels.
Six to Twelve Months
Baby is grown and almost weaned completely and could therefore eat three solid meals a day. Baby can sleep for longer periods. At eight months, when they eat solid meals and milk, they can sleep through the night without needing to be fed. It is normal for babies who sleep through the night to wake early and disturb your sleep. To have your own sound sleep, give more food at day- time; baby should eat foods that contain protein and carbohydrate to help him sleep, milk also aids sleep. But don’t allow him to fall asleep while he is feeding and don’t make him sleep with a bottle or dummy so he can learn to sleep without having to be tricked to sleep.
Twelve to Eighteen Months
Now baby should be able to sleep through the night, but it would not be uncommon if your child’s sleep needs differ from that of another child that you know. Some children may feel well-rested with 12 hours sleep while some may want to sleep for up to 16 hours; these include their day time sleep. But if you are not a first-time mum, you are experienced enough to know that childhood milestones like teething may disturb you. Colds or some other childhood issues may keep the baby awake at night. Make a child sleep; an active child will sleep well, sleep in the daytime is important because a child who is too tired is difficult to settle at night. Even when they wake up at night, those who sleep well go back to sleep if they do not need your attention.
Eighteen to Twenty-four Months
At this stage, your baby should have a good sleep pattern of which a long nap after lunch must be a part. But it is normal that this habit will change when he is about two or four years old. They ought to sleep for 7:00pm to 7:00am all things being equal; if there are no colds, fever or teething problem to disturb sleep.
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