As a parent, a better way to know your baby’s sleepy signals, is to encourage her to sleep as soon your baby looks tired. A baby cannot put herself to sleep, neither has she known about her sleepy signs, so she’s counting on you to make her sleep.
A baby is always keen to stay awake while her body craves for sleep especially when you find her unhappy or fussy.
If your baby doesn’t get to sleep in time, then you will notice over a period of time, the pattern develops into sleep deprivation, which in turn, complicates and interferes with your baby’s developing phase of sleep maturity.
Jenifer, mother of eight-month-old daughter Olivia discusses this problem, “I found that I had been putting Olivia to be solely by the clock, not all by her tiredness. Once I changed this method of following the clock and started recognizing her sleepy signals she fell asleep easier and slept longer.” This article talks about the identification of patterns of your baby to remain awake and falling asleep.
Watch the Clock too!
The timing of wakefulness of your baby means a lot. Watch out the number of hours your baby remains awake which can gradually become the cause of your baby’s worn out and ultimately to fall asleep. For instance, a three-month-old gets tired after staying two to three hours of awake. On the other hand, a one-year-old will remain cheerful for about three to four hours, and a two-year-old can stay awake for about five to six hours.
The exhaustion process starts as soon as your baby has passed her happy wakefulness stage. She’ll then be easily overstimulated and discovered it harder to fall asleep.
Typical Sleepy Signals
Every baby is unique and has her own sleepy signals and you can identify those and learn from them. Your child may indicate one or more of these signs that clearly tells you she is tired and ready to sleep right now:
• reducing the level of activity and movement
• losing interest in toys, playtime, and people
• turning more quieter
• rubbing her eyes
• looking unfocused or glazed
• having a more calm jaw, chin and mouth(such as droopy look)
• becoming cranky and whiny
• crying or fussing
• having tantrums or losing patience
• slumping in her seat or lying down
• watching television or a movie with a blank expression
• caressing a lovey or blanket
• asking for a bottle or to nurse or for a pacifier.
Practice Safe Sleeping
According to the recommendations of the Health Canada and the Canadian Pediatric Society, the safe-sleep guidelines would be as such:
• Always put your baby on her back to sleep until she turns 12 months. The “Back to Sleep” position is referred to a reduced risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
• Do not allow anyone to smoke near your baby or where your baby sleeps. Exposure to smoke is one of the acute risk factors for SIDS.
• Avoid all the ways to overheat your child. Maintain the room temperature on the cool side of comfortable.
• Babies should sleep on a firm, flat surface in a cradle or bassinet during all sleep periods (car seats and baby swings should not replace the cradle for sleep).
• Ensure the cradle meets healthcare regulations.
• Ensure to keep the cradle away from blind cords, curtains, lamps, electrical plugs and extension cords and out of reach of small objects.
• Newborn babies have many sleep periods across the day and night.
• Sleep/wake periods are associated with hunger and fullness feelings.
• Many newborn babies are ready to sleep after one to two hours of being awake.
• Breastfeed babies usually sleep for one to three hours at a time.
• Night time sleep starts to get elongated between 6 to 12 weeks.
The total hours your baby may sleep tends to vary. You may expect your baby to sleep for 10 to 19 hours in a 24-hour period (average is 13 to 15 hours). Keep in mind that premature babies may sleep more.
Developing Healthy Sleep Habits
Keep your Baby Well Rested
Place your newborn to sleep after one to two hours of being awake. It is significant to avoid the overtired state, as babies usually have a more strenuous time falling asleep when they are exhausted. Look closely for your baby’s signs that she is ready to sleep. These signs may consist of crying, rubbing her eyes, pulling on her ears, getting fussy or yawning.
Do not deprive your baby to sleep during daytime in the hope of making her sleep longer at night. This can absolutely cause more difficulties with falling asleep and waking more often. Naps are also advantageous to your developing baby’s health and in fact, sleep experts believe that in infants, sleep begets sleep. That means, the better rested they are, the more easily they sleep.
Develop a Consistent and Soothing Sleep Routine
Within the first few weeks, you can begin forming a bedtime routine and a short nap routine. Over time the routine will help to indicate your baby that her sleep time is coming nearer. A bedtime routine should be calming and predictable. A routine may consist of having a bath, putting on pajamas, a massage, feeding and singing a song. A nap routine may include feeding, changing the diaper and singing songs.
Put Your Baby Down to Sleep Drowsy, But Awake
When sleep time approaches, it is never too early to begin thinking about forming good sleep habits. When you observe that your baby is sleepy, put her in the cradle and observe if she can fall asleep on her own. At this young age, some babies appear to get the skill and start sleeping for longer periods of time, while other babies don’t. Don’t worry about if your baby finds it difficult to fall asleep on her own; just keep trying. This skill will develop on its own as she grows and as you provide her more opportunities to practice.
You Need Sleep, Too!
Be it your first baby or not, parents usually require a support system and rest during the first few months of bringing home a new baby.
• If you need a break, call your willing family and friends to support you.
• When you get extra time, you can catch up on your much-required sleep.
• Try to do something relaxing every day such as taking a walk, calling a friend or having a bath.
Baby’s upbringing time is the best time for every parent to cherish. As they become memories as the time passes by. Identifying your baby’s sleep every time and providing your nurture and support to her strengthens your relationship as a parent with your baby. Your baby will then rely on your support for her needs. So, it’s the right time for every mother to make the bond stronger with her baby with the right parenthood tactics such as developing sleep habits as discussed above.