Monday, November 23, 2009

Sleeping Tips For Baby

Feeling exhausted and having trouble putting your little one to sleep? Try these tips we collected from other mommies.

Remember, there are many ways to accomplish the same desired result. Apply the tips provided here and mold them to the result that best suits you, your baby and your family’s needs.

For You:

* For the few weeks after birth, try to sleep when baby sleeps. Household chores can be done later....or better yet, by someone else.
* Allow for a night feeding to be done by dad or another supporting caregiver.

For Your Baby

* Newborns cannot be “spoiled” in the first 2 months of life, therefore, assist your baby to fall asleep by any means necessary during this time (examples include holding, rocking, sing, giving pacifier).
* Avoiding "training" your baby to sleep only when it is dark and quiet. This can be accomplished by allowing for some noise with daytime activities.
* Apply slow and gentle pressure to your baby's skin just before nap time or bedtime to help your baby settle down.
* Try to put your baby to sleep before he/she becomes overtired. Babies can become extremely cranky when they are overtired.
* Sleep patterns in babies usually do not appear until approximately 3-4 months of age. You might find it helpful to keep a schedule of your baby’s sleep pattern for approximately 1 week to help you determine your baby’s sleep routine. Determining your baby’s sleep routine will help you know when to put your baby to sleep before he/she becomes overtired.
* Around 3-4 months of age, babies can begin to soothe themselves to go to sleep. Allow your baby approximately 10 minutes to put himself/herself back to sleep. If your baby remains unsettled, offer your assistance only for a couple of minutes at a time and try to do as little as possible to help your baby fall asleep.

Maximizing Your Sleep at Night with a Newborn:

* Do not let your baby sleep for more than 3 consecutive hours throughout the day.
* Feed your baby more frequently throughout day. This will help you to stretch the nighttime feedings a bit longer. Even an extra 30 minutes to an hour of sleep is helpful.
* Give your baby a pacifier when putting your baby to sleep. Babies are soothed by sucking and pacifiers have been associated with decreasing the risk of SIDS.
* Skip a diaper change (unless child has diaper rash) in the middle of the night to keep the level of stimulation low.
* Make the night-time feedings boring. Try not to talk to much too your baby, keep the light low...just change your baby's diaper (only if needed), feed your baby, and then put your baby back to bed.
* Dress your baby in a gown to make diaper changes easier at nighttime.
* Some infants, especially in the first month of life, feel secure when swaddled. It is best to swaddle your baby during the day when you are awake and checking on him/her. If you do swaddle your baby a night, do it safely either by swaddling your baby with his/her arms outside of the blanket to prevent blanket from covering mouth and noise during sleep or by using The Miracle Blanket.
* Provide the last feeding as late as possible.
* For formula fed babies:
o Pre-measure water in a baby bottle and pre-measure the desired amount of formula in a separate closed container. Prepare enough of these for the entire night. When it is feeding time, mix the water and powder for 1 feeding together. This eliminates the need to warm the milk.

Maximizing Your Sleep at Night When Your Baby is 2 months and Older:

* Place your baby in his/her crib awake.
* Establish a night time routine before bed-time. For example, your routine my include giving your baby a bath after the last feeding, followed by a brief massage, changing into his/her pajamas, reading a short story or singing a lullaby. Between 2-4 months, it may be helpful to do your bedtime routine first and then provide the last feeding.
* Be consistent with nap time and bedtime routines.
* Be sure your baby sleeps in the same place and around the same times.
* Begin your bedtime routine early so that your baby is sleeping before he/she becomes overtired.
* After 6 months of age, when the risk of SIDS has decreased somewhat, you can allow your child to sleep with a comfort item such as a blanket or a small stuffed animal.

For More Baby Related Information: Visit Us At: Diba Tillery RN, BSN Babies 411 is an on-line information and resource center for parents. It has been developed by Diba, a neonatal intensive care nurse, with the sole purpose of promoting the health, safety, and well-being of all babies.

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