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Sleeping and Lullaby Secrets for Babies
When it comes to babies and sleep, everyone will have an opinion about you that is sure to be the answer to your sleepless nights. This is one of those times when you should be firm and make your own decisions about what kind of sleep routine and schedule you will have. There are baby experts out there who will tell you that you should never let your baby cry themselves to sleep. The next expert will tell you that you should never give in to your crying baby after you’ve put him to bed. Which method is right and which is wrong? It all depends on your needs and the needs of your baby. The sleep guidelines in this chapter are just that: a variety of tips and ideas that you may or may not attempt to incorporate into your bedtime routine.
Before you make the decision about what to do with that baby that won’t sleep, it’s where that baby sleeps. Some parents insist that your baby sleeps in his own crib in his own room. Still other parents want their baby in their bedroom. Neither is right or wrong and there are advantages to both. If your baby sleeps in his own room, you’ll probably get more rest for yourself since you won’t be disturbed by cooing and other sleep noises that newborn babies make. Your baby may wake up less often if he is in his own room, but this is not always the case. If your baby sleeps in the same room as you, you may find it less disruptive and easier to meet your baby’s needs there. If you not only have your baby in the same room with you, but also in the same bed, you should be aware of some of the dangers of co-sleeping. Baby experts are completely divided on the subject of sharing a bed with your baby. You should research safety versus emotional issues and decide for yourself whether to bring your baby to bed with you.
You will probably need more sleep than your new baby. New babies most often cannot sleep through the night until they have at least doubled their weight. This usually happens when your baby is between four and five months old. The chart below shows the amount of sleep babies should be getting. Keep in mind that this is just a guideline, and don’t be discouraged if your baby doesn’t fall into the norm.
Age……………Total hours of sleep needed per day (including naps)
Once you’ve decided how you’re going to handle where your baby sleeps and how much sleep the charts say he should get, you’ll want to think about getting into some sort of routine whether or not he’ll sleep better because of it or not. A bedtime routine can be a soothing and comforting part of your baby’s nighttime ritual. It’s a way for you and your family to fit sleep into your daily routine without it becoming a battle of the baby’s mind. As your baby gets older, he will understand that bedtime comes after bath time and may begin to calm down if he is comforted by the bedtime routine.
There are many ways you can establish your bedtime routine. Here are some tips and ideas for bedtime routines you may want to consider:
1. Start your bedtime routine with a bath, some cuddle time, a song or story, a feed, more cuddles, then bed.
2. Sing a soothing lullaby just before putting your baby to bed.
3. Try to do things in the same order, with the same people involved, at the same time every night to create a pattern that your baby will recognize as a bedtime routine.
4. Make sure the lights are low and dim. You want to make your baby recognize that when it gets dark, it’s time to sleep.
5. Make sure that whatever routine you’ve created for you and your baby has a definite effect in the end. Your baby should learn that when you put him to bed, no matter how pleasant the bedtime routine was, it’s time for bed. Give him some time to fuss.
Number five on the list above is a very important point to remember when it comes to determining your bedtime routine. If you cuddle your baby, lay with him, or sing to him one more time after putting him to bed, he’ll expect that whenever he’s not ready for sleep, all he’s doing is fussing and pleasuring. of rocking will be his again. You don’t try to play a control game with him or deny him your affection after he’s been put to bed. Besides, it’s normal for him to want to be with you. What you’re trying to do is let him know that after the bedtime routine is done, it’s time for bed.
A quick note on night feedings, which will be discussed further in the chapter titled From Milk to Solids. If you feed your baby through the night, you won’t be able to establish this bedtime routine. If your baby needs to feed at night, you may need to delay a good sleep pattern until he is ready to stop feeding during the night.
Most babies stop feeding through the night around five to six months.
Lullabies. Still on the topic of sleep, but on the more fun side: Lullabies. Using music to soothe and calm your baby to sleep can be a pleasant experience for both of you. More on music in the next chapter called Using Music to Calm Your Baby.
The Lullaby, or Cradle Song, has been around for centuries. Whether you’re singing Brahms’ Lullaby or stumbling along to a tune from Sesame Street, what matters is that you’re using the power of music and your voice to communicate with your baby. Singing a lullaby sometime during the baby’s nighttime routine will calm him and prepare him for the peace of sleep.
There is so much more that can be covered in the topic of ‘sleep’ when it comes to your baby. You’ll have to establish your own nighttime rules by trial and error. As your baby grows you will find that their sleep patterns are constantly changing. What you will have established with the use of baths and lullabies are certain characteristics that can be adapted to any nighttime routine and to suit your baby’s age and needs. With a lot of patience and love you will be able to cope in the ever-changing world of baby sleep.
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