January 15th, 2021
Tips to avoid day/night confusion
The early days and months post delivering your little one to this world are often one of the most challenging for most new parents. From the pressure (especially with your first little one) to listen to the opinions of many others on how to raise your baby to try to make these beginnings one to cherish when you are already drowning in baby books and desperately googling “how to put my baby to sleep?” at 2 in the morning. The morning alarms turn into night ones as well, as you scamper about to schedule feeding times and balance a crying baby who simply refuses to take a nap. This is where the science of sleep consultants comes into the picture.
From the period of 0-3 months, the circadian rhythm or the sleep-wake cycle of the baby develops hence it is crucial that the baby sleeps from 14-17 hours a day. Sleep schedules are vital for the baby’s development and sleep training the baby is very important. The concept of day/night confusion is quite simple, let’s use an example to understand it better:
Imagine you are in a completely different environment one day, maybe this place has strange noises and different lights. How would you feel? Before your frustration runs high on your baby, try taking a look at how confusing it would be for your little one when it is absolutely new to the world and the concept of day and night. Being in a dark womb for the earlier nine months of their development, it is all too confusing for the little one. But do not fret, with the right pointers one can ace the art of sleep training their baby while getting some well-rested sleep for themselves as well.
Light can be used as a simple yet effective way to teach your baby the difference between playtimes and sleep time. You must note that babies aren’t born to be professional sleepers or understand the concept of time. Make it a point to ensure that your baby sleeps in a room that is completely dark. Darkness can help the baby understand that it is time to sleep and make sure that your baby is exposed to light in the daytime. Cut down long naps (longer than 2 hours), squeeze in feedings in between the waking hours of the baby.
Always remember to make daytime active and the nighttime as relaxing and quiet as it can get.
The use of white noises in the form of sounds like heartbeats can significantly calm the baby down to induce sleep as it mimics being close to the mother.
However, do ensure that the machine is set no louder than 50 decibels, which is no louder than a dishwasher, and that it is used only during naps and sleep time. Also, note to keep all chords away from your baby!
It is also proved in a research paper “White Noise and Sleep Induction” how white noises are indeed very beneficial to babies in general and how 80% of the participants in the study dozed off in about 5 minutes when exposed to white noises.
One cannot emphasize enough when it comes to routines and how it helps add a dash of discipline in the lives of your little ones as well as yours. One trick you can use to feed your baby at night is to change their diaper. Not only does it help wake your baby up completely but it also helps them stay awake for a full feed. This helps in omitting unnecessary waking up in the middle of the night to feed again.
A relaxing winding down routine that includes massaging your baby with oils/ lotions which are baby safe is something you can add to your bedtime routine. Make sure you keep nighttime boring and stop all forms of artificial light for your baby hours prior to bedtime.
A common mistake that is often done by parents is thinking that a tired baby that is constantly stimulated the entire day will result in nighttime sleepiness, which is not true at all. An overtired baby is under-rested and they will fight sleep as they are uncomfortable with the feeling of being drained out. They also tend to wake up more frequently in the middle of the night.
A fussy baby is a clear sign that it is about time your baby has a proper sleep schedule which can be fixed by either putting the baby to sleep earlier or by doing activities to wear the baby out like reading to the baby or cuddling them in a dark room.
A tip would be to take the baby outdoors for a walk or a stroll so that they can feel the night’s cold weather and fall asleep.
Ideally, the room in which your baby sleeps, no matter what the season, must be between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Allowing your baby to rest in a well-temperature-controlled room leads to restful sleep which again lets your baby better regulate their body response to the new changes in their environment leading to an easier transition from the womb to the world.
Other techniques include swaddling your baby which in turn stimulates the effect of being in the womb for the baby and that in turn will make them want to sleep while also helping in stopping them from waking up from the Moro reflex. But as with every other technique, this is unique to the baby as well and should be done carefully while complying with the guidelines that are set on how to swaddle your baby.
The art of putting your baby to sleep is, in a summarized form, just gentle coaxing, patience, lots of love and is equipped with the right knowledge to omit the more commonly made mistakes. Taking on the help of a professional to sleep train your baby not only helps you understand the process faster but also helps in achieving the end goal of putting the baby to a proper bedtime routine in the most comfortable and fastest way. There are a lot more processes that come in to assist every baby’s individual need as not every baby responds to the same technique the same way and when done without a watchful eye it may lead to further sessions of trial and error before finally finalizing on the one that works best for your baby.
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