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There’s nothing more beautiful and peaceful than watching your baby sleep. She has a smile on her face, and what looks like signs of a dream already. But is your precious darling really sleeping well? Is it possible that she is learning bad sleeping habits that can affect her health as she grows up?
Bringing up a child is a full-time, strenuous affair, and sleep-time is one of the major factors that make it thus! Newborn not sleeping at night, baby waking up constantly, or baby refusing to fall asleep are just some of the common problems we face as parents.
12 Bad Sleeping Habits That Are Not Good for Your Babies
In an effort to end these baby sleep problems, we often resort to practices that are actually unhealthy. Have you been making any of these sleeping mistakes with your child?
1. Every Room Is Your Baby’s Bedroom
Put together a restless baby with an exhausted mother and what do you get? Bedrooms all over the place! Your baby may fall asleep in his stroller, the car, your sofa, or even his high chair. Sleeping in unfamiliar environments does little to soothe his nerves, and also dilutes his mental association of a bedroom with relaxation. This makes it one of the baby bad sleeping habits you should avoid.
Solution: Difficult as it will be at first, strive to stick to a familiar bedroom for your baby. This is the space he takes his day naps in, and this is where you hope he will sleep through the night.
2. Sleep Schedules Change Every Day
Baby sleep schedule? Babies don’t need to have sleep schedules – or do they? Just as with adults, kids also need to have a more or less consistent sleep schedule. This lets them feel drowsy at around the same time day after day. At the heart of most nap-time struggle is inconsistency – putting your baby to bed too early when she’s in the mood to play, or too late when she’s already more tired than she should be.
Solution: While some flexibility in baby sleep cycles is definitely okay, try and keep the variation as low as possible.
Watch: Daddy shares an AMAZINGLY SIMPLE trick that puts his 3-month-old baby boy to sleep!
3. You Don’t Follow a Bedtime Routine
Babies are such tiny people; why do they need a bedtime routine to settle down? Well, turns out good sleeping habits for babies are very important for overall health and development! Following a routine before going to bed every day helps babies calm down and relax, thus making things easier for themselves as well as Mamma in the long run.
Solution: This can be as simple as giving him a warm bath, playing a lullaby in the background and dimming the lights. Skipping this can make your baby restless and affect the quality of his sleep through the night.
4. You Miss Out on Her Body’s Sleep Cues
Babies are different from adults in many ways – their sleep timings and habits included. When babies feel drowsy and tired, they display a number of cues which you need to track.
Solution: Is your baby rubbing his eyes, whining or being restless for no apparent reason? Chances are he wants to nap. Missing these cues means your baby’s natural sleep window has passed, and his body will now send out cortisol – a stress-related hormone that can overstimulate him!
5. Her Bed Is Too Big for Her
Your baby is definitely growing up fast but is she big enough to sleep in that large bed yet? Making the transition too early affects their sleep and may even be dangerous, especially if they topple over trying to be little explorers!
Solution: Well, until she can climb out of her crib by herself, probably not. Many kids are not ready for a big bed until around two years of age.
6. She’s Staying up Late but Waking up Early
How does that work? Babies don’t operate like us where staying up late is concerned; their internal clock wakes them up in the morning all the same. This means that if you let your baby go to sleep late, she is simply going to be too tired the next day.
Solution: If she has been waking the whole household in the wee hours of the morning, try making bed-time an hour or so earlier. If you’re wondering just how much sleep she needs, this bedtime chart for children will be able to help you. Use it to help form health baby sleeping habits.
7. You Are Co-Sleeping Because There’s No Other Choice
What can you do when your baby simply refuses to fall asleep on her own, even after you’ve tried every conceivable way to help her? If you have been practising reactive co-sleeping or sleeping together out of compulsion, you are giving in to a sleep crutch.
Solution: Hang in there, soothe your baby, and make sure he is drowsy when he goes to bed. She will eventually be just fine.
8. Your Baby Is Dependent on Sleep Crutches
How do you put your baby to sleep? Most moms engage in rocking, swinging, singing a lullaby, or giving a gentle back massage. While these are understandably your go-to solutions in the middle of the night, what if they are becoming sleep crutches for your baby? Very soon, your baby may be unable to go to sleep without them, and never learn to self soothe when they wake up.
Solution: Baby sleep patterns by age will change, and what you need to do is ensure your little one doesn’t fall asleep to these behaviours.
9. You Eventually Give in to Her Crying
Your baby has woken up and she is crying her heart out! How can you not get up to comfort her and put her to sleep again? Of course, you must. But alongside, you need to ensure that this doesn’t become a sleep crutch.
Solution: If you decide to give her some time and then get up to comfort her, she understands that Mamma will finally arrive!
10. Mom and Dad Don’t Share Sleep Time Roles
Regulating your child’s sleep patterns is no child’s play! The ultimate goal is to make sure your baby’s sleeping habits are in order, and that she’s slowly learning to soothe herself to sleep on her own.
Solution: It is absolutely essential for you and your husband to share roles here– say, deciding who will rock the baby to sleep and who will get up at midnight every day of the week!
11. You’re Relying Too Much on Night-time Feedings
Many moms believe– and observe – that nursing seems to be the only way to get their baby to sleep. This need not be the case. Babies often look to feed because they know you’re available and whoever said no to milk?
Solution: Check with your paediatrician on when you can discontinue feeding at night, and start working on this right away.
12. You Take Her Erratic Sleep for Granted
This is probably the most widely held sleeping mistake that nobody ever fails to perpetuate! While a new baby is going to take time to settle into a sleeping pattern, this doesn’t mean you will have to go without sleep until she’s a toddler!
Solution: The key is to be patient and keep working on embedding the right habits in your child. It will happen just when you are thinking of giving up.
Remember – healthy sleep habits = happy baby!
How has your baby’s sleep-time experience been? Do share your stories with us in the comments.