When you set foot in your bedroom after becoming a mom, you were fully aware of the fact that parenting will not be as heavenly as you dreamt it to be.
Sleepless nights spent in the postnatal care told you enough about your baby’s sleeping requirements.
Now months have passed since you first fell set your eyes on your little angel. But the pattern persists. Shouldn’t the sleep routine ease up in four months? You wonder.
And you have every right to wonder. Babies attain a certain degree of regularity in their sleep patterns by this time. Their developed tummies mean predictable feeding pattern.
They usually get hungry every three to four hours. And if everything else is working out all right they shouldn’t be up at night more than twice to fill their bellies.
And here you stand, or walk or lie (depending on what position your baby and your stamina are currently allowing), thinking why on earth you are tending to your crying baby fourth time this night?
And, how can you develop a steady sleep routine?
Then the constant rant turns your attention to the question most crucial for your survival: will you ever develop a steady sleep routine?
The answer to the third question is a big yes. Yes, you can develop a routine. Everyone does it, eventually. This answer leads you to the second question, how, and then the third one, why?
The following paragraph will help you answer these questions for your unique circumstances.
Over-stimulation is the most common, and most-heard-off, the reason for restlessness in children at night.
Fortunately, there are only a few activities which can interfere with the circadian rhythm of babies. And it is most likely that at this stage these activities do not include food choices.
If you are engaging children in interesting and loud activities immediately before sleep, you are delaying their bed-time by an hour. Blue light from screens, and sun, is a significant factor that prevents restful sleep in humans. Other factors include loud toys and engaging in sensory activities. Bright lights in the baby’s room can also deter bedtime.
Being a conscious parent you know that screen time is a big no-no for your baby. But engagement through talking, singing, and playing is included in their basic rights as a baby.
All you have to do is to schedule these activities in the morning and evening at least 2 hours before bedtime. Dim the lights with the start of the bedtime routine. (This step will also signal the start of the night to the little one.)
In addition to signaling bedtime by dimming lights, you can engage the babies in calming activities. Lullabies can help their bodies to relax so does massage and bath. In case it’s not a bath day for her, diaper change would suffice as relaxing routine.
Sometimes the poor choice of sleep wear can also make the babies cranky and uncomfortable. Avoid poly-made, Lycra and wool made clothes as it can make the babies sweaty, cranky and make the night time a total disaster. Remember,babies skin is super soft and vulnerable to various infections, rash and heat boils due to the poor choice of nightwear.
Organic cotton onesie, jammies are a sensible option of nightwear as they are light, airy and bacteria free clothing solutions which can guarantee the peaceful sleep for the little one. Mums swear by it and these organic jumpsuits, tees have become a go-to option as a favorite night wear. Peaceful and soothing!
You can place a super soft stuffed doll cushion or soothing pillow beside the baby in his/her crib that can assure the fuzzy babies mommy warmth and protection.
Highly Alert Babies
Another cause which can be waking your baby for more than thrice at night can be a high level of alertness in them. This alertness can be a consequence of lower activity level during the day or because your baby hasn’t yet differentiated between night and day.
By three months of age, your baby should appreciate the routine change between day and night. You can also reinforce these concepts using certain practices and lifestyle changes.
You should start with decreasing stimulating activities near bedtime. But this reduction will have a limited effect if your baby is not following a proper routine during the day.
By routine, I do not mean that you need a strict activity routine for your baby at 4 months age. In fact, at this age babies cannot follow routine because of their growth spurts and development needs.
But you can change certain interactions with your baby so they remain active during the day. One tip is to engage babies immediately after feeding so their sleep is delayed during the day.
Plus, you should schedule their bonding activities and muscle and sensory development exercises for morning and noon.
You should also increase their exposure to the sun. So, blue light from the sun stimulates them and encourages them to take an interest in their surroundings. This mental exercise will also help them in disposing of excess energy and be prepared for the bedtime well in advance.
Make sure you cover their heads with soft, cotton hats when heading out. While vitamin D is necessary for the little one, you don’t the baby to be sweaty and cranky due to over-exposure to sun. So, be hat ready and let the little sunshine beam bright!
Although it sounds counter-intuitive, excessive tiredness can lead to restless sleep during night or alertness around bedtime. What is more, over-tired babies tend to be irritable and may demand excessive patience from the caregiver.
If over-tiredness is a routine event, you may start by shifting the bedtime earlier. Or if you have already set the bedtime at an early time, you can consider reducing the activities and stimulation during the daytime.
Make tucking in a stepped process. Start with reducing engagement an hour prior to sleep time. Dim the lights at the same time.
Let the baby remain awake in the dimly lit room for some time. Soothe them if they are crying. Establishing story time, or reading time, can help in this interval.
Once calm and drowsy, their usual routine of feeding, changing, and bathing can be carried out.
Safety comes first
Now babies adjusting to their sleeping patterns is a patient process and eventually they will find their pattern and succumb to the nighty-night sleep in no time. But, remember sometimes it’s not the erratic sleeping pattern which is keeping the baby awake but some common health woes that comes peeking in un-invited. A word of caution-Many times babies can get cranky due to cold, sudden temperature, allergy etc. As a new parent, make sure you are ready for these uncertain and un-invited baby health woes.
Keep the temperature measurement device, digital thermometer handy in the baby nursery room so that you don’t have to be in the rush of searching for the same. Similarly keep the baby essentials like extra diaper, hand towels, burpee cloth stacked in the baby drawer case/stand near the baby crib.
You want your child well-rested and thriving. But this goal seems unachievable given their restlessness at night.
Don’t worry anymore. You can help them grow its peaceful sleepers by reducing stimulations they encounter immediately before their bedtime.
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