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Nurture Your Baby By Letting Them Sleep

It is a no-brainer that humans need a nutritious diet and be physically active to be healthy, fit and productive but surprisingly, another essential aspect of our overall well-being which most of us tend to overlooked  is sleep. This is especially true for children and babies. Sleep is very important that babies in their mother’s womb spend 80% of their time sleeping in REM or rapid eye movement sleep also called the active sleep.

During this stage incredible brain activity occurs. As a newborn, expect your baby to be sleeping most of the day. According to doctors sleeping time is when infant’s brain experience stimulation which is crucial to have a proper brain development.

More Reasons to Sleep

Aside from brain stimulation there are numerous reason why your baby should have a quality sleep. Below is a list of the most common health benefits of sleeping;

  • Sleep ensures that your baby acquires a solid foundation for proper brain and body development.
  • Having a good night sleep keeps the mind and body calm so you see, sleepless babies tend to be crotchety and irritable.
  • It helps in increasing your baby’s attention span so they can learn the most. It allows babies to stay attentive, pleasant and calm while absorbing new things.
  • Because babies grow at a very rapid rate, their pituitary gland works quickly when they are asleep. This gland is responsible for growth.
  • Scientists also believe that it is when babies are awake, they process new information and when they are asleep, their brain organizes and stores information and memories.

Aside from growth and development, sleep is a critical aspect for your baby’s emotional wellbeing. It encourages them to feel energized so they are more playful during the day and eager to explore the world around them. If your newborn sleeps less than 15-17 hours, that is an indication she is not getting enough sleep.

Poor sleep for them will result to these but not limited to;

  • Yawning
  • Becoming clingy and cry-baby
  • Loss of interest to play
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Tired

The common question for parents now is how they can their child to sleep longer and on-time?

Apparently babies will be difficult to managed and more fretful when they lack sleep. They can also be difficult to feed. In the long term it can have a significant impact on their memory, learning and development. Thus sleep is very crucial not only for baby but also for you and for the family.

Sleeping Hours According to Age

Health experts recommended the following hours of sleep according to age.

NEWBORNS: During their first week, babies almost sleep the whole day and night, at least 11-18 hours but there is feeding time in between. Once they turn a month old, there will be a change in their sleeping pattern as it tends to get longer but they will also stay awake a bit longer after feeding. Naps during the day will be usually around 3 hours so watch for signs that your baby is getting sleepy such as getting that glazed look or yawning.

INFANTS: You will soon start to see your baby’s sleeping pattern which will help you to gauge her sleep routine. From 3 to 6 months, they tend to sleep through the night and you don’t need to feed them that often. However they can still slip back to their old habit of waking on and off and you should decide on how to deal with it. Babies will develop a regular sleep pattern when they reach 6 months.

TODDLERS: Unlike infants, toddlers usually take one mid-day nap and sleeps for at least 12-14 hours throughout the day. They tend to follow an early to rise, early to bed pattern.

 

Sleep cues are helpful for parents in knowing when their babies are already tired and sleepy. The common early stage sleep cues are yawning, rubbing eyes, ears and head. Sometimes the area around their eyebrows turn red and baby is gazing off. There are also late stage sleep cues such as arching his body or baby is screaming and crying.

To avoid these late sleep cues, pay attention to the sleep cues upfront and help baby get to sleep early.

HEALTHY SLEEPING HABITS

Healthy sleeping practices are important to establish your baby’s sleeping pattern which will also help them to have lifelong sleeping pattern. If you are a parent to a newborn, practice the following;

  • Make sure that the baby’s sleeping area or room is comfortable and free from noise and disturbances. Avoid putting too much pillows and soft items in the crib to prevent suffocation. If possible, make the room dark with just the right temperature.
  • The Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a leading cause of death among newborns in the US and to prevent it, place your baby on her back to sleep. Tummy sleeping, side sleeping and co-sleeping is not considered completely safe.
  • Encourage more sleeping at night by giving her less activities and keeping the room quiet. She will soon associate quiet time as a cue to sleep.
  • When you see signs of drowsiness, immediately put her to sleep. Set the stage for her to sleep on her own so they can establish a regular sleeping time.
  • A regular bedtime schedule is highly recommended as it conditions your baby when it is already time to sleep. Prepare her by making the room quiet and blocking all the interesting things such as toys around her. Play soft lullabies or download white-noise sounds. These can help your baby soothe to sleep.

More than anything else, support from your partner and other family members is important. It will allow you to take your own break and relax while someone is looking after the baby. According to research, maternal anxiety has something to do with your baby’s disorganized sleeping cycle.

It may not be clear to us why but it is possible that your little one is learning from you on self-regulation and being calm. Slow down while getting your fussy baby to sleep and see how they learn how to settle down on their own.

Walter F.Hallett
 

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