Tips for a Better Night's Sleep
Some answers from baby sleeping pattern experts Donald Goldmacher, MD and Michael Fox, RN
The effects of baby sleeping problems are often devastating for young parents. The cycle is self perpetuating, and many parents find themselves frustrated, exhausted, and feeling as though they don't have any options. According to a survey taken by The National Sleep Foundation, baby sleeping pattern problems are prevalent in over 70 percent of infants and toddlers.
However, there is good news - You can have your baby sleeping throughout the night in just the first few months of life.
We have been providing parents just like you with step-by-step sleep hygiene advice for over 20 years. The goal of our process is to prevent and cure baby sleeping problems, so that you can get back on your own healthy sleep schedule.
The foundation of our sleep tips and procedures are based on groundbreaking research conducted with infants and babies at the Stanford University Infant Sleep Laboratory, in Palo Alto, California. This research has been repeatedly confirmed by numerous sleep experts. One of their most important findings is that young babies can use their own natural abilities to sleep through the night, and will fall asleep on their own if they are put to bed awake.
Handling Baby Sleeping Problems for Ages 3 to 12 Months
If your baby is more than three months old and currently experiencing difficulties in sleeping throughout the nighttime, there are steps you can start taking immediately to remedy the problem. You can get started by implementing the sleep training suggestions that are outlined below. The most important step you can take is to begin putting your baby to sleep at night while they are still awake.
This first aspect of aiding babies sleeping through the night may be difficult for you. This is because your baby will usually cry for the first few nights, and this can give you a feeling of guilt. Try to keep in mind that your baby's crying will diminish every day, and soon everyone in your home will start getting a good night's sleep. If the crying persists the first night then it's still okay to go into the baby's room and calm them by treating them as you normally do. Then, try again.
The First Few Weeks of Life - Infant Sleep Patterns
Typically, infant sleeping patterns during the first eight weeks of life call for 16 to 20 hours of sleep during every 24 hour cycle. Surprisingly, newborn babies cannot tell the difference between day and night. But newborn babies are still infant human beings, and they share our natural biological drive to sleep during the nighttime hours. Putting your baby to sleep at the same time each and every night will cause its sleep patterns to start changing. By being diligent with this simple process, your baby will soon be sleeping for longer periods by the time they are 8-12 weeks of age!
Babies Need to Learn to Self-Soothe
To aid babies' sleep through the night, you must remember that you are not teaching them to sleep but rather, they are learning how to sleep. All relevant research into baby sleeping problems indicates that letting your baby fall asleep on their own is the most important step toward their learning to sleep through the night. This fact is confirmed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the specialty group whose job it is to help babies thrive. Numerous studies prove that to prevent baby sleeping pattern problems down the road, they must be given the opportunity to fall asleep on their own as an infant.
To Help Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night Give Them a Substantial Feeding
Week by week, your baby is maturing. By the time they are 10 to 16 weeks old they are less likely to wake up during the night expecting to be fed if they have eaten enough food before they go to bed. Helping your baby learn to sleep through the night requires that you give them a substantial feeding at the same time each evening, sometime between 10:00 and midnight. After their feeding, we recommend that you put them in their crib while they are still awake. Studies by leading researchers indicate that feeding babies after midnight can hinder their ability to sleep though the night.
Baby Sleep Patterns: Learning the Difference Between Day and Night
You can teach your baby the difference between day and night. This simply means that your home should be a stimulating place during the day, and a quiet one at night. At night, reduce the amount of noise and stimulation.
If your Infant is consistently allowed to soothe themselves back to sleep, to learn the difference between day and night, and given a late night feeding, 96% of you will have your Baby Sleeping through the night by 10-16 weeks of age.
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Get More Sleep Within Just 4 Nights!
We have helped thousands of parents in your exact same situation with our baby sleep DVD, which focuses on how to get your baby sleeping through the night. Our video is the recipient of a prestigious Parents' Choice award and a media award from the National Council on Family Relations. Click here to watch a preview!