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Persistent sleep problems can take a toll on the baby’s health. It is therefore important for parents to spot the symptoms of any sleep related issue at the earliest and take necessary actions accordingly.
The most challenging aspect that new parents face is to make their baby sleep through the night. Newborn babies have a tendency of waking up at night on a regular basis. This is very common and healthy too as most babies will need their parents at night to feed them and assist them in settling down, for the first six months. However, it is vital for the parents to develop a sleep pattern for the baby as he grows older. For babies who are not able to sleep properly at night, there can be some severe effects on their health.
Methods to Reduce Baby’s Sleep Problems
1. Controlled Comforting
Controlled comforting means putting your baby to bed when he is sleepy, but waking him up on time and also leaving him alone for short spans of time, even if he cries. This technique includes spending short spans of time to settle your baby. Put him in his cot and then let him self-settle. To start with, you can leave your baby for two minutes and wait for him to settle down. Even if he hasn’t scettled, go back again and comfort him, but do not take him out of the cot. Once he settles, leave the room for 5 more minutes. Repeat the pattern and increase the time when you both get used to it. It could take about a fortnight for this technique to work. If you have tried it for over two week, and there are no significant results, it is unlikely to work and you should look for other alternatives.
2. Camping Out
Camping out has been proved to be effective with infants. It involves sitting next to your baby as you see him settle-up. But do not remove your baby from the cot. You can start with stroking or patting your child till he falls asleep. After several nights, you can simply sit beside without physical touch. Once your child is used to this, you can move your seat a foot away and gradually move to the doorway and out of the room.
3. Systematic Ignoring
This is similar to controlled comforting but needs a tougher approach. This involves putting your child to bed so that he settles down on his own. If your child cries, you can go inside to change his nappy or to check if he is sick, but you mustn’t soothe or interact with him. Once done, leave the room but do not return till your baby stops crying. This method may sound harsh, but this is for the babies who cry because they want the parent’s attention all the time, which can be tiresome and inconvenient for the parents.
4. Waking up on Time
This is important for children, who have persistent night terrors and also those who wake up in the middle of the night. Wake your child up an hour before he is likely to wake up, re-settle and put him to bed again.
Some Common Ways to Deal with Baby’s Sleep Problems
Although babies face a lot of issues in dealing with sleep problems, parents can try the following techniques to tackle with them:
- The baby should be exposed to day time activities and the day light. He should be a part in the day’s hustle-bustle
- As the bed time of the baby approaches, switch from energizing activities to little sleepy and passive activities. Start reading bed time stories and lullabies to the baby and keep the lights dim.
- Give the baby a bath before it is time for him to sleep. This will help calm him down to some extent.
- The baby should be fed well before sleep. This way, they sleep for long stretches with their tummies full.
We can’t approach baby problems, in the same way, as we tackle sleep issues with older children and adults. The above said methods are safe and will give good results. So try them out and let your little enjoy a sound sleep and good health.