One of the things babies are most known for is keeping their doting parents up into the wee hours of the morning. While sleeplessness is characteristic of these tiny tykes, some infants experience even more sleeping difficulties than others. If your baby seems not to be able to settle into a sleeping routine, consider some potential sleeping difficulties that your infant may be experiencing as well as ways in which you can remedy these difficulties.
Lack of Bedtime Routine
Just like you take a shower and get into your cozy PJs before turning in, infants need some get-ready-for-bed time. If you don’t allocate enough time to pre-bed activities before putting your infant to sleep, you could make lulling off into dreamland more difficult for him, reports AskDrSears.com. To ensure that your actions aren’t making sleeping harder for your infant, create a standard bedtime pattern, including a right-before-bed bottle, a diaper and clothing change, some rocking and perhaps even a lullaby or two.
Struggles with Shorts Sleep Cycles
As babies and adults alike sleep, they move through sleep cycles. During some of these cycles, the sleeper is sleeping deeply, while in others the sleeper is on the edge of consciousness. Babies’ sleep cycles are naturally shorter than adults, meaning it is easier for them to wake up more often during the night. If your child wakes every two to three hours throughout the night, he is likely not able to move through his light sleep cycle without rousing, reports AskDrSears.com. While nothing can completely prevent this repeated night waking, you can reduce the number of times that your tot wakes by ensuring that his belly is full and that he is as comfortable as possible, as it is these minor discomforts which lead a baby to wake during periods of light sleep.
Day and Night Mix Ups
Some parents struggle with infants who have difficulty distinguishing between night and day. While some babies sleep at night as expected, others spend much of their day snoozing and, as a result, do not sleep well in the time that is actually intended for sleep. If you have a child who struggles with this sleep issue, dedicate yourself to correcting the problem by working to keep him awake more during the day so when night arrives he can lull off to sleep. Do not attempt to keep your baby up all day and expect that this means he will sleep all night, as doing this will likely only produce a cranky baby who is so sleepy he struggles to get to sleep.
One way to combat continual and unscheduled middle of the night waking is to create a schedule for waking up your sleeping baby, reports WebMD. While it may seem counter-intuitive to wake a child that is sleeping, doing so can help the child develop a more regular sleep pattern. To prepare your child’s waking schedule, watch his natural sleeping patterns. If he naturally wants food in four-hour intervals, wake him in these same intervals throughout the night. Gradually increase the length of these intervals to produce longer through-the-night sleeping stretches.
One of the most widely known methods for dealing with baby sleep issues is the Ferber method. This method was developed by Richard Ferber of Children’s Hospital Boston. Parents who follow this method do not immediately respond to their child’s cry, but instead allow the child an interval of time to self soothe before tending to him. If your child’s sleep struggle appears outside the norm, consider adopting this method as a training approach.