It is important to instill healthy sleeping habits right from the beginning to ensure the proper growth and development of children, But fostering healthy sleeping habits in an infant is not child’s play. It requires a certain level of creativity and consistency. Apart from maintaining your newborn’s overall health, healthy sleep habits will also come as a great help to parents who are sleep deprived. Frequently waking up at night, daytime sleep challenges, and an overall lack of are some of the most common problems among the parents of newborns. Let’s take a look at some helpful tips that can help you establish healthy sleep habits with your baby.
How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?
Newborns sleep for at least 14 to 18 hours in a 24 hour period. That means they’re spending 75% of the day and night sleeping! However, although they’re sleeping a lot, they aren’t sleeping for more than a few hours at a time – frequently waking to be fed and soothed. By the time they reach 3-4 months of age, infants still need around 13 hours of sleep. Most babies will require one or more night feedings until 6 or 7 months old, but 80% of babies are sleeping through the night by the time they turn nine months old.
1. Keep the Temperature Comfy
One of the most underestimated tips when it comes to developing healthy sleep habits is the room temperature. Most parents worry about their babies being cold and bundle them in layers, which could lead to overheating (the #1 cause of SIDS). Most infants sleep better in a comfortably cool environment – somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit is a good rule of thumb Keeping the room at a comfortable temperature has shown to improve the quality of sleep and provide better rest for infants. At this temperature, your baby will be comfortable in their normal onesie or footie sleepwear and a swaddle or wearable sleeping bag. Nested Bean’s Premier Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack are made with a bamboo/cotton fabric blend, ideal for keeping babies comfortable.
2. Find Out What Soothes Your Baby
Every baby is different – what is soothing for one baby might be a distraction for another. Use trial and error to find out what calms your newborn. It might be white noise, soothing music, lullabies, swaddling or a combination of all these techniques. Nested Bean’s Zen Swaddle has shown to help soothe babies more than a traditional swaddle blanket because of its lightly weighted chest and sides that mimic your touch. The additional light pressure lets babies feel like your palm is resting on their chest, providing reassurance. Once you find the techniques that work, incorporate them into a relaxing bedtime routine that, when performed consistently, will become your baby’s cue that it’s time to sleep.
3. The Darker, The Better!
It is okay to install a few dim lighted night bulbs but as far as providing a proper sleep to the baby is concerned, the darker, the better! When our body is exposed to sunlight, it releases chemicals that cause us to come in an active state. Same goes for infants. Use blackout shades to keep any natural light out of their nursery and make sure your night bulbs aren’t too bright, as they can cause hurdles in your baby’s sleeping pattern.
4. Master Nap Time
Getting enough daytime sleep will set the foundation for good nighttime sleep. If your baby is well rested, a good night’s sleep will come more easily. InToet enough hours of sleep, babies require multiple naps throughout the day. The number of naps will depend on their age, but nearly all babies at least twice per day until they are 12 months old. If your baby becomes overtired and fatigues, a hormone known as cortisol is released, which can severely interfere with the sleep cycle of the baby, making it more irregular. On the flip side, if your baby sleeps for too long during the day, their good night’s sleep can also be compromised. Look out for your baby’s sleepiness cues to identify when they are tired and probably need a nap and try to maintain a consistent nap schedule to make sure they are getting just the right amount of sleep.
5. Add White Noise Or Soothing Music
It may sound strange but adding noise to your baby’s environment can help them sleep. Although you want to keep their sleeping environment quiet and calm, adding white noise can help soothe your baby to sleep as it mimics the noises they were familiar with in the womb. White noise is the sound that blocks any environmental noises that can prove to be detrimental to the baby’s sleep. For instance, the sound of a fan running or a white noise machine is helpful in canceling out other noises coming from in or around your home. Some babies also respond well to light and soothing music meant for instigating sleep and reducing the effect of unwanted sounds.
6. Put Baby to Bed Drowsy, But Awake
After you create a soothing environment for your baby (in a dark space, at a comfortable temperature) and run through your soothing bedtime routine, make sure you are putting your baby down to sleep when they are nice and sleepy, but still actually awake. Starting this habit early on can help avoid making negative sleep associations, such as being rocked or fed to sleep, and will help your baby learn to fall asleep independently more quickly!
During the first few months of your baby’s life, lost of biological changes occur. Their sleep cycles aren’t fully developed yet, and they are constantly shifting between light and deep sleep, making them vulnerable to frequent wake ups. But by instilling a few healthy sleep habits now, your baby (and the rest of your family!) whole family will be enjoying a good night’s sleep in no time!