When you bring your new baby home, it is not uncommon to hear new moms and dads telling everyone how much less sleep they are getting because their baby just does not sleep through the night. During the first few months, babies seem to go through somewhat erratic sleep patterns. During this time parents can put a considerable amount of effort into getting baby off to sleep. Usually, baby ends up sleeping in the parent’s arms as they rock or breastfeed baby to sleep. This, however, leads to more trouble as this activity becomes reinforced and baby begins to anticipate falling asleep in the parent’s arms.
Avoid allowing your baby to fall asleep in your arms every night. This is the first step if you want your baby to sleep independently. The baby’s cot or bed is the best place for your baby to fall asleep. This gives the baby an opportunity to fall asleep without unnecessary fuss. Also, remember to put your baby down awake, but sleepy.
The next step is to create a sleeping routine so that your baby goes to sleep at the same time every night. Be consistent and soon baby will establish a sleeping routine. Be persistent in this method and your baby will soon learn how to fall asleep independently. After 2 months of age, you may start to encourage baby to fall asleep without your help.
Tempting as it is, do not allow your baby to sleep in your bed. Babies who become accustomed to sleeping with their parents will quickly become used to it and not want to sleep in their own beds. If you do choose to sleep in the same bed with your baby, care should be taken to avoid using soft sleep surfaces. This is to avoid something accidently obstructing the babies breathing.
Something you should be aware of when training your baby to sleep on his or her own is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or cot death. It is the leading cause of death among babies under twelve months old. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is unforeseen and unexpected even in a seemingly healthy baby. It is also known as crib death. It is sometimes recommended that you put baby on it’s back when putting it down to sleep. Sleeping on it’s back instead of on it’s side when you put your baby to bed could help. It could provide one of the best safeguards against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. However if your baby has reflux or if for any other reason what so ever, you are concerned, have your physician recommend the best sleeping posture for your baby.
Use a firm sleeping surface such as a safety approved crib mattress covered with fitted bed sheet. Remove any unnecessary blankets, soft toys and other items. Keep your new baby’s bedroom close to yours but separate from where you and other family members sleep. It is a good idea to have a sleep monitor close by so that you can hear anything unusual and attend to your new baby if necessary.
Establish good and firm routines and pay attention to sensible safety protocols especially in the first few months, parents can slowly teach babies good sleep patterns and to sleep on their own. Babies will assume good sleeping habits and parents will eventually regain a good night’s sleep.