No two babies are alike, but one thing they have in common is erratic sleep schedules. Babies can sleep between 14 and 18 hours a day, but sometimes, it may take months for them to settle into a pattern. They tend to figure things out by about 3 months, but there are some things you can do to help. These tips from the midwives at Desert Blossom Women’s Care make sure your whole family gets rest.
Make Them Comfy
The best temperature for sleeping is between 69 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit, so try to keep the nursery at that temp. Place the crib away from air conditioners, windows and vents to avoid sudden temperature changes. Make sure your baby is wearing the right amount of clothing; he or she should wear what you’re comfortable in plus one layer. If your baby is past the swaddling stage, a sleep suit can help keep your baby warm. Do not put blankets in the crib.
Use Light Wisely
Keep the days bright and nights dark to work on healthy sleeping habits. Let sunlight into your home during the day, or take your baby outside to play in the afternoon. Keep the room lit for an afternoon nap if your child doesn’t have a hard time sleeping. For nighttime sleepiness, install dimmers on nursery lights and other rooms, and lower the light to set the mood. Consider investing in room-darkening shades if your baby wakes up with the sun.
Minimize Distractions and Stimulation
As your baby grows and becomes more aware and curious, he or she may get overstimulated. Keep the nursery clear of toys and other distractions so the room is about sleep instead of play. Use a white-noise machine in the nursery to cancel out noises inside and outside your home, and to remind your baby of the womb. Try to put your child down before he or she goes to sleep, to avoid waking up your baby. If you must soothe, change or feed your baby at night, and avoid jostling and making eye contact.
Give Them a Chance to Soothe Themselves
For the first six months or so, babies can room-share, but not bed-share (keeping up a curtain or partition will help them drift off on their own). After four months, try training your baby to self-soothe when waking up. Wait a few minutes before getting up if your child stirs, to let him or her get back to sleep, but try to reach your baby if he or she is getting too worked up to sleep again. If you need to soothe your baby, do not pick him or her up.
Be Consistent but Flexible
Many sleep-training methods work, but only if everyone in the house sticks with the program. Agree with your partner about what you’ll do, who will do it, and when you start — and be consistent with your plan. At the same time, your baby might experience sleep regressions at developmental milestones or dramatic life changes, which you can get through by going back to the basics and trying new methods for at least a week.
Rest Easy With Desert Blossom Women’s Care
The care of a midwife can make pregnancy, delivery and the first few weeks of new motherhood easier for your growing family. We provide compassionate midwifery, and work with your healthcare team and maternal-fetal medicine specialists in Arizona to make sure you and your baby have the best starts possible. Don’t spend sleepless nights worrying about your pregnancy. Mothers in southern Arizona may get in touch to schedule an appointment.