Everyone needs a good night’s sleep. This includes all members of your household. Sleep deprivation is unhealthy for babies as well as adults. When your baby has a good night’s sleep everyone else does. New parents are often heard exchanging information regarding the exact time when their newborn baby slept through the night or what is the best baby mattress or does sleep position matters. It is an important milestone in the life of the child and its family.
Are you a parent who is still waiting for that magic moment? These simple tips will provide you with actions you can take to encourage your baby to sleep through the night. These tips will not necessarily work for everyone and they may not work right away, however, these basic steps will point you in the right direction and you and your whole family can begin enjoying full nights of sleep.
To begin with, many new parents are unaware of how much sleep your baby really needs. Newborns and infants younger than 6 months old need about 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. For babies in the 6 to 12 month age range, the amount is 13 to 14 hours, and, babies over 1-year-old need 12 to 13 hours of sleep. These amounts are probably more than you expected.
Reasons your baby needs the recommended amount of sleep:
Learning and Memory
Well-rested children seem to learn more rapidly than those who are tired. Have you ever tried to learn something new after a bad night’s sleep? Good sleep is essential to a new baby’s cognitive development. Their brains are constantly absorbing new information.
In the same way that is it dangerous for you to drive a car in a sleep-deprived state, it is also dangerous for babies to carry out their daily activities when they are sleepy. During their day, babies and toddlers play with their activity centers and toys. These activities require a certain amount of concentration. Lack of sleep reduces their ability to concentrate.
Child psychologists have found a direct link between sleep deprivation and behavior problems. When a child is tired they are more likely to become at least a little cranky. Sometimes this fatigue translates into an overactive type of behavior that makes the child seem hyperactive when in fact they are actually tired. Try changing their bedding; it may be that their clothing is too rough or hot for them.
Lack of rest has a negative impact on your body’s immune system. Tired children are more susceptible to contracting viruses.
A study conducted at Harvard concluded that sleep problems in babies and toddlers may be linked to obesity. The human body releases a hormone called leptin and one called ghrelin. Leptin signals the body that it is full and ghrelin signals that the body is hungry. In sleep-deprived individuals, leptin levels drop followed by a spike in ghrelin. Therefore, if you are sleepy, you may become hungry and eat when you should be sleeping.
Researchers believe that sleep problems may cause depression. If you begin to experience sleep problems, The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AAS) strongly recommends that you see a sleep specialist. Depression is the most common form of mental health problem and in recent years, depression appears to be just as common in children as it is in adults. Research has found that as many as 1 in33 children suffer from depression. It is therefore important to monitor sleep problems in your child from as early an age as possible.
With these facts being shown, it is concluded that children need more sleep than we thought, and thus the reason why it is important. Let’s get started on helping your baby sleep through the night!
Soothing Methods for Your Baby
A parent hearing their baby scream for the first time is a magical moment in their lives. But let’s be real about the whole picture, after a few weeks of sleepless nights and headaches, the screaming doesn’t feel so magical.
Babies cry whenever they are hungry, hurt, or just want attention. It’s common for new parents to need some help understanding how to help calm their child, and keep the screaming to a minimum. There are some soothing methods called ‘The Five S’, made famous by Harvey Karp, MD. These are explained as follows:
Swaddle – This involves wrapping your baby up to imitate the feeling of being in the womb. Babies are in tune with being swapped up in warm, cozy positions.
SHH – Making ‘’Shh’’ sounds help to calm babies. This is believed it’s because it sounds like the noises babies would hear in the womb.
Side/Stomach – Again this is designed to mimic how the baby felt in the womb. Laying them on their sides or stomach will be similar to a position they are used to.
Swing – A gentle swing motion is similar to the motion the baby felt as the mother was moving around while pregnant. This is very effective at having a calming effect on the baby.
Sucking – Giving a baby something to suck on, like a pacifier or their thumb will calm them. It’s also thought to reduce the risk of SIDS.
These methods work well, sometimes used in combination with each other, or each individually. There are some other methods too, however, so if you’re still struggling to calm your baby try some of these methods:
Bouncing – Babies love being bounced up and down gently. You can also do this with a classic rocking chair. It can become a bit tiring if you’re doing it yourself, so it’s worth trying to find a swing to help.
Use a Dark Room – Bright lights make babies more alert. Make the room darker to help calm them down, this is also believed to be effective because it reminds the baby of being in a dark womb.
Check for Problems – You should always check that your baby is comfortable and healthy. Is there an issue with trapped gas making them uncomfortable? Are the clothes a little too tight? These things can make a baby restless and cry.
Whenever your baby is crying it’s after one of a few things; food, attention, or comforting. So as time goes on you will become a lot more familiar with your babies needs and wants, making your job of calming them down a lot easier.