Welcome to Tigrai Online,      Daily News that matters

Good night sleep for babies

By Melissa Lahti, April 07 2008

As parents we often find ourselves asking what happened to the days when we could go to bed at eleven and wake up at seven feeling totally refreshed. Lack of sleep is one of the most frustrating things all parents have in common. Fortunately, as our bodies adjust to sleeping less our babyís bodies are also adjusting to sleeping more. One way to help with the issue of sleeping is to understand why your baby is waking up, how long till they should sleep through the night and what are the best ways to help them get to sleep and stay asleep.

One important thing to know is that a babyís sleep cycle is very different then that of on adult. It takes a baby about twenty minutes to fall into a deep sleep. Once they enter that they only stay there for about one hour. They then reenter light sleep for about ten minutes. During this time of light sleep if there is any stimulus, such as noise, hunger or pain the baby will awaken. If everything is okay then they will drift back into a deep sleep for another hour and the pattern is repeated like this all through the night. The reason your baby sleeps in this way is a natural defense mechanism. This is so the baby can easily awaken if something is wrong. That is one reason it is very important not to ignore your baby when they cry. They might be trying to tell you something is wrong and how can they learn to trust you if you are not there to help them.

For the first three months babies seldom sleep more then four hour stretches at a time and they sleep about a total of fourteen to eighteen hours a day. At about three to six months they begin to settle a little and begin to be awake more during the day. They may start sleeping about five hour stretches through the night, with only one or two night wakings. Breastfed babies are going to wake up more often since the breast milk is digested faster and they get hungry more often. Until the age of two babies also go through periods where they are going to wake more often. They may be teething, have a cold, or are going through a growth spurt.

The first challenge is getting the baby to go to sleep. Every baby is different, it is very important that while trying new things you find the right thing that works for your baby. Also, since your baby is changing constantly, if something doesnít work one week it may work the next. Now, find out where your baby sleeps best. Is it in her own room in a bed by herself, in her own bed in the room with you, or is it better if she sleeps in bed with you. Any one of these options will work depending on what is best for you and your baby.

You can not force a baby to sleep so you must create a peaceful, relaxing environment that will invite your baby to sleep. You donít want it to be a frightening experience for them. Itís a good idea to establish a bedtime routine for the baby. Once you have this established you should vary the routine a little from time to time. That way your baby wonít become dependent on one thing to make them fall asleep. For example, if mom always nurses the baby to sleep then let dad put him to sleep sometimes or let mom rock him without feeding him. This will help your baby get used to different methods and you will have an easier time getting them back to sleep when they wake in the middle of the night.

There are a few important points you should remember:

  • It takes a baby about twenty minutes to fall into a deep sleep. Make sure they are fully asleep before you try to lay them down. You can do this by checking to see if their limbs are limp and relaxed and they also usually make a big sighing noise once they fall into the deep sleep.
  • If you hold them too long after you notice they are in the deep sleep they will wake up when you try to lay them down.
  • A peaceful day equals a restful night. If your baby is over stimulated during the day she is probably going to have a hard time getting to sleep that night.
  • Try to keep their naps consistent. This goes along with being over stimulated. Babies like routine and if it is broken they will have a hard time dealing with it.
  • A bedtime ritual should help your baby know its bedtime and then they will be more likely to stay asleep.
  • A warm bath followed by a soothing massage may calm your baby, but be aware that a massage may stimulate some babies. You need to find what is right for your baby.

Some suggestions that might help get your baby to sleep:

  • Babies love to breast feed. The warmth of your body, the soothing feel of your arms and the familiar smell of you will help your baby fall asleep.
  • Daddy can nestle their babyís head into his neck and sing or make noise. The vibrations of his deep voice will calm the baby.
  • Walking, rocking, singing, patting and praying. These are all soothing techniques that will calm the baby.
  • You can lay the baby in your bed and lay next to them. Again the warmth and smell of your body will help them relax.
  • Some babies like to fall asleep in a swing.
  • If all else fails you can put your baby in the car and drive around till they fall asleep. Once the baby is asleep carry the car seat into the house and leave them in it till they wake up for their first night feeding.

To get your baby to stay asleep:

  • Make sure you are providing a calm, dark, quiet environment.
  • Most newborns like to be swaddled or wrapped tightly, while older babies like the covers to be loose.
  • You can play some soft music, a tape of mom or dad singing, a fan or some type of white noise that will sooth them and block out any startling noises that may come.
  • You can give a baby older then four months some baby cereal before bed to help fill up their little tummies and keep them full longer.
  • Change babyís diaper to make sure they feel dry all night.
  • Help them relieve any teething pain they might be having. Either with a numbing gel or some pain reliever.
  • You can place a towel in the dryer and lay it in their bed for a few minutes to warm the bed before you lay them down. A lot of times the shock of the cold sheets will wake them up when you lay them down.

More times then not the baby is just making noise and wiggling a little. It is a good idea not to jump and grab the baby out of bed the second they make a noise. You should wait for a minute and see what they are going to do. You can also try placing your hands on their back or belly or pat their back or bottom. Do not pick them up and they will probably drift right back into a deep sleep.

If none of this seems to be working and your baby is not only waking frequently but also seems to be in pain they may be experiencing a problem. One thing they may be experiencing is called gastroesophageal reflux or GER which is a weakness in the circular band of muscle where the esophagus joins the stomach. The acids in the stomach are then regurgitated into the throat causing a pain that is like what we know as heart burn. Some signs of GER include: painful bursts of night waking, fussiness after eating, frequent spitting up, colicky, abdominal pain, unexplained wheezing, and throaty sounds after feeding. Another reason for waking frequently might be due to an allergy to formula or dairy. This is called milk protein intolerance. Note that if your baby is breast feeding and has this condition they can still be having an allergic reaction based on the motherís diet. The only way to stop this is for the mother to stop eating dairy and continue to breast feed or to purchase a formula specially made for babies with a milk protein allergy.

Just remember babies arenít little for long and before you know it you will both be snoring like crazy laughing about the days when no one ever got any sleep. Just hang in there and be patient. One day you will wish you could have your little baby back if for just one second.

Sponsored Links

Melissa Lahti Tigrai Online contributer
Melissa Lahti is a blogger and an author of many articles. She is a regular contributor to Tigrai Online. Melissa writes about family, children’s health, relationships, and Movies and Entertainment. Many of her articles can be found right here on Tigrai Online.

Please e-mail me if you have any comments, questions or suggestions at the following e-mail address; admin@needgreatinfo.com

More Articles

What is Alzheimerís disease

Teething babies and infants and how to deal with them

Nosebleed, what cause it and how to stop nosebleeding

Ear Infection or Teething what is hurting my baby?

How to remove a broken spark plug embedded deep down in the engine block

Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin outgoing CEO of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) won the Yara Prize 2012.

Addis Ababa becoming the New York of Africa

Sheikh Mohammed Al-Amoudi and an Italian firm to build the largest steel factory in Ethiopia

Ethiopian Airlines Takes Delivery of 1st Customized Q-400

TDA-UK Members and Supporters Buy Bonds Worth £46,110

Tragic month transforms Ethiopian Facebook: Will it last?

80 Eritrea-Bound Trucks With Contraband Intercepted By Sudanese Security

International Crisis Group’s Erroneous Assertions on Late Premier

MoFA’s bearings on the Nile is without error

World Bank Approves US$600 million New Funding for Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn : Interview Part one and two

EPRDF back on track, pro toxic campaigners back in the dark

The two Abebes' Partners in crime

Africa’s First, Ethiopian 1st B787 Dreamliner Touches down in Cairo

Sony Professional Solutions has been chosen by Tigrai State Mass Media

Africa’s 1st B777 Freighter Arrives in Addis Ababa

Ethiopia and Kenya get $348 million from the African Development Fund

Allana Potash doubles its Ethiopia land holdings

Observations in post Meles Ethiopia

What is your free advice to Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn

Meles political torch Passes to a young vibrant generations

EPRDF Council elects Ato Hailemariam Desalegn as its Chairman

Egypt’s Shallow Military Threat

Anna Gomez - Stop Meddling in the Internal Political affairs of Ethiopia

Wikileaks reports say Egypt was planning to bomb the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam

Ethiopia says goodbye to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in a spectacular state funeral

Ethiopian Graduates 197 Professionals

The Ethiopian Patriarch His Holiness Abune Paulos passes away at 76

Ethiopians in the DC Celebrate Send Off of the First Boeing 787 Dream Liner to Ethiopia

17 August 2012: Ethiopian to Receive 3rd Boeing 787 Ever Manufactured

Ethiopian First Dreamliner Clad in Ethiopian Livery

Ethiopian Airlines Targets August for 787 Dreamliner Delivery