Sleepless nights? Here's help with getting yourbaby to sleep through the night.
After the initial excitement of giving birth wears off, you will be experiencing a gamut of emotions caused by
hormonal changes, constant feedings and sleepless nights. Much as you
may feel no one else has it as hard as you do, realise that every
mother goes through similar experiences. It is best to be prepared for
sleepless nights the first month. Keep all other work aside, and sleep
when your baby sleeps, be it night or day. Don't even try to get your newborn babyto sleep through the night, as she requires food at regular intervals. In fact, if your newborn hasn't woken up for four hours, wake her up and feed him.
As your baby grows, she will start taking more at each feed and will feed less often. She will also start sleeping longer.
Forcing a pattern
Many parents try to keep their baby awake during the day so she sleeps at night. This, however, may not be the best thing to do as your baby
needs a lot of sleep and interfering with her sleep patterns will tire
her out. Let her sleep whenever she wants to, but don't consciously try
to create a conducive environment for sleep during the day. Instead of
drawing the curtains and hushing up, let the sunlight in, and don't
tiptoe around her. On the other hand, after nightfall, turn off all the
lights in her room and be very quiet. This will help her learn that she
has to sleep at night, and stay awake during the day.
Feed her on demand during the day, as often as she wants. Try and feed
her as much as possible just before her bedtime. If you have to give
her any vitamin supplements, do so at night
so her stomach is heavier. Alternately, if you are unsure whether you
are getting enough milk, you could give her one formula feed at night. Formula feed is heavier, and she will consequently sleep longer before waking up for the next feed.
Many mothers avoid feeding their babies if they start crying too soon
after a feed. However, do feed here as often as she wants during the
day, and when she wakes up at night for a feed, you can try and rock her back to sleep without feeding her - if she lets you. This will help her learn that mornings are for feeding, and night is for sleeping.
Bundle up your infant tight in a cotton sheet. Use a warmer fabric in
cooler climes. Swaddling makes her feel secure, and she will fall
asleep faster, and stay asleep longer. You could leave her loosely
covered during the day, and wrap her up tight at night, so she associates swaddling with sleep. Tightly wrapped babies don't startle, and as a result they tend to sleep longer and more peacefully. If your baby isn't tightly wrapped up, she will wake up at night not just when she is hungry, but also when she startles. As your baby grows, you need not wrap her up very tight, or you could let her arms out of the sheet.
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- The Indiaparenting Team