Baby's sleep is one of the most worrying issues for young parents. Night wakings, inconsolable crying, baby not wanting to sleep. One of the first things to tell you: you're a good mom/dad, you're doing the right thing, and if the sleep lottery seems to have failed you this time, don't worry, it's only a temporary fix. Shall we talk about it?
INFANT SLEEP: EVERY BABY IS DIFFERENT.
You know that friend whose son or daughter has been sleeping 12 hours a night since he or she was two months old and finds time long when "baby sleeps three hours straight" in the afternoon? We do too.
She got lucky in the sleep lottery, that's all.
There are big sleepers and small sleepers, that's a fact. But to understand why baby doesn't sleep, we need to understand the underlying causes that disturb his nights. Explanations.
BABY'S SLEEP: TIPS FOR QUALITY SLEEP
- Choose a bed that is appropriate for the size of the baby and a firm mattress.
- Do not heat the room too much, between 18 and 20 degrees maximum, and do not smoke in the vicinity.
- Lay your baby on his or her back, with no other items in the crib that could impede breathing.
- Light a small night light if you feel the need!
- During the day, let him take his naps with the shutters ajar so that baby can adjust his day-night circadian rhythm.
- At night, use a soft, reassuring voice at bedtime to let baby know that we are in a quiet time.
- From 2 to 3 months, you can start to install a bedtime ritual with for example: the bath, the massage, the rhymes, the turbulette, the bottle or the feeding, the cuddle and the dodo. Repeat these same gestures in order, every day, to make your baby feel secure, to make it easier for him to fall asleep and to make your routine evolve according to his desires and his age! It should not exceed 15 minutes.
- Keep the nightly bottle or feedings for as long as baby needs them.
- Remember to burp your baby before bedtime - some babies may wake up 45 minutes to an hour after going to bed because they feel discomfort after their last meal.
- After the first three months, and if you feel you are ready, you can start to accompany your baby towards a more autonomous sleep with a falling asleep alone. As soon as you see the first signs of sleep, put your baby in his bassinet to fall asleep on his own by placing your hand on him to rock him but in his crib. Most babies learn to sleep, it is not a given.
NIGHT WAKINGS: THE REASONS WHY BABY WAKES UP AT NIGHT!
● Discomfort: pajamas that are too small or too big, a spinning romper, a stuck foot or too high a body temperature, a full diaper, your baby can get uncomfortable quickly.
● Colic: your baby has abdominal pain, signs of a still immature digestive system, cries a lot, squirms constantly, has a hard stomach and gas...it is surely colic (it fades from 4 to 5 months). Massage, cuddling, carrying, dry hot water bottle, patience, will help him to calm down.
● Reflux: the famous GERD(gastroesophageal reflux disease) that makes babies suffer and prevents them from sleeping. Choose an inclined surface to slide under the mattress, a bottle with an anti-colic valve, position your baby in a semi-sitting position to drink, have him burp and keep him upright for 30 minutes before sleeping, have him drink the bottle/feed in several times, avoid pajamas that are too tight...and consult if it makes him suffer! Reflux can be associated with cow's milk intolerance which will also prevent baby from sleeping and make him very grumpy.
● Teething: this is one of the first pains experienced by the child, so it is normal that it disrupts his nights. Gum massage, homeopathy, refrigerated teething ringparacetamol in the event of crises will help baby to pass these stages gently.
● Sleep regressions: these are usually a sign of psychomotor or cognitive development. This is a good thing even though it can be destabilizing! 4 months, 7/9 months, 12 months, 18 months, 2/3 years are all deadlines to keep in a corner of your head. They last 15 days maximum.
● Separation anxiety: it is part of the sleep regressions and usually invites itself around 7/9 months. Baby does not leave you anymore and cries as soon as you leave a room. Love and patience will overcome this separation anxiety.
● Habit and the need for comfort: baby sometimes wakes up out of habit to get back to his sleep pattern. Gradually reduce the amount of milk and see if baby goes back to sleep easily without grumbling. If he cries, it means he seems to be hungry!
● Light under the door can disturb baby's sleep.
● Naps that are too long or not spread out evenly throughout the day. If baby is sleeping too late, move the last nap back an hour or cut it out and put baby to bed earlier!
It is also important to remember that baby does not have a temperament, he is physiologically incapable of it, it is his baby state to want to be with his parents. The more he will gain confidence in himself, the more he will be able to have a peaceful and restful sleep.
Patience, love, courage.
You're doing the right thing.