New babies have a sleep pattern that is designed for them not for the rest of the family. The good news is baby sleep patterns change as they age, but that change may not be fast enough for 21st-century mom’s and dad’s that are multi-tasking to meet the challenges of everyday life.
A newborn baby usually won’t start sleeping through the night until the age of three months. At six months babies change their sleep pattern. Professionals call this period separation anxiety. That’s the time when they cry several times a night or cry when the parent leaves the room.
A baby has a built in sleep pattern which consists of deep sleep and light sleep. It’s during the light sleep pattern that the baby wakes up. Several issues can wake the baby. Hunger and discomfort are the two primary causes, so most babies need a helping hand to return to the sleep state. Experts say that some babies are self-soothers and can easily fall back into their sleep pattern while other babies called non-settlers need a voice, a touch, a bottle or a breast to go back to a deep sleep.
Once those differences are identified parents can create an environment that helps the baby return to the sleep pattern that lasts through the night. A baby’s sleep pattern is influenced by the bedtime routine that parents establish as well as stress, illness, and a change in the familiar routine. Some parents harmonize their sleep pattern with the baby’s sleep pattern, but that’s a tall order for parents that have a set schedule.
Changing Your Babies Sleep Patterns
Changing a baby’s sleep pattern usually takes three to fourteen days, and there’s usually some strong resistance from the baby for a few nights. There are four basic steps to follow when changing a baby’s sleep pattern:
Identify the habit associated with the sleep issue. Babies that don’t get enough sleep during the day have a difficult time sleeping at night. Overtired babies have a hard time sleeping at night.
Phase out established bedtime habits like rocking and feeding the baby in the family room. If that’s a habit, the baby might need that environment to fall back asleep during the night.
Establish a bedtime routine that works for parents. Try to feed the baby twenty minutes before bedtime rather than at bedtime. If you’re playing music at night stop the music. Use a baby monitor instead of going into the baby’s room at the slightest sound.
Teach the baby to settle independently which means using management techniques like controlled comfort and camping out. Parents should consider the timing and their frustration level before allowing the baby to cry itself to sleep or to stay in the room until the baby settles on its own. Camping out takes time, but there’s less crying than controlled comfort which means the baby cries itself to sleep because parent attention is gradually withdrawn.