Babies love being cuddled and more so parents and relatives love to give lots of cuddles, but babies also enjoy being left to settle and sleep.
Ensure that your baby is warm (not too hot), clean nappy, full tummy and comfortable ie. No wind/colic or teething – deal with these so that everything is good for your baby. Then put your baby down ensuring they are lying flat on their back in their cot or Moses basket.
As with all things there is an element of the baby getting used to this being their ‘norm’ Get the baby used to being left for a little time, make sure they know you are just there, but that they are safe lying there. You may also put a cuddly toy in their bed or some babies settle well with a soother/dummy.
Some babies settle better when they are swaddled in a light sheet or very light bedding. Make sure this is a light sheet and if needed, then use a small baby blanket lightly over them – whilst ensuring they cannot get too hot in the layer. Use a baby room thermometer to ensure the best temperature in the room.
Why is it important for your baby to learn to nap in her cot, and how can you teach her to do this?
It is important for babies to get used to being placed in t heir cot, and for them to be happy with this. I have many mums who come to see me in baby clinic who do not have the space or time to even go to use the bathroom without their baby screaming the place down. One mum had to use the shower before their partner went to work – so he holds the baby whilst she has a quick shower as she felt that the baby would not stay on his own without being held.
This is also an issue when I ask mums if they had had a chance to get a bite to eat and they say it has been difficult, as the baby will not be put down to enable them to have a quick sandwich!
Life must go on including the new baby and not as an additional part of life – there has to be the adaptation and adjustment period, but parents should try to get to the stage very quickly on, where the baby can be left to nap on their own in their cot, as this will save parent’s sanity later on. This also helps in the couples’ relationship and for getting things back on an even keel.
How can you tell when your baby is ready to swap to one long lunchtime nap? And how can you help her to sleep for longer than she’s used to?
As your baby gets a little older and usually by the time they are 1 year – 14 months year old, they will want to sleep a bit longer during the day. They do need this as it helps with brain development and also for general bone and physical development as everything is regenerated and regenerating quicker when they are resting.
You can work this around to your advantage and again make it as a routine for the child – Children like routine and repetition. (Remember singing nursery rhymes again and again and the child never tiring of this?) Ensure your child has had a little time to play – to build up the tiredness – either after a play session, reading or sing song session, give your child either a snack or their lunch- depending on the time and a warm drink – either a good breast feed or their milk. … Freshen them up with the usual nappy change, wipe of the face and hands, a big cuddle …. And put them down.
Let them know they are going down for a rest. Keep the area quite and not have too much stimulation around them. Don’t be too busy around them either and try to ‘leave the room’ – even if you just leave the immediate area where the child is resting. Use a monitor if you need to, but don’t stay there having a conversation on the phone, or a coffee morning – the child will see this as a time to play and socialise, they will want to get involved and be part of the ‘fun’. Also they may then think it is time for entertainment and want to be picked up. If your child cries, leave them for a few moments – it is good for the child to exercise their lungs and vocal cords. So long as the child is not in pain, no fever, or dirty nappy, crying for a short time is acceptable. You will of course get the baby who will test you to the limit – they know just when you are about to crack and it is then a greater test of will.
You will find that in many children’s day nurseries, the younger children are usually put to bed for a nap just after their lunch – this is a good policy to follow. It also gives mums a chance to rest themselves or rejuvenate their bodies and minds.
What do people mean when they talk about ‘sleeping through’?
When a baby can sleep through the night from when the parents have switched off their lights and settled for the night – you can start the timer – if a baby can sleep up to 5/6am, then we say they have slept through the night. This means parents who are able to sleep undisturbed with a baby who is 9 months and under, from between 8-11pm to 5-6am is said to be sleeping through the night.
A child between 1-year and 18 months should be sleeping well enough from 7pm to 7am – as a rough guide.
Some parents are happy if they get undisturbed sleep from 11pm to 3am – this is a big chunk of sleep especially if the baby is still breast feeding – I would always advocate that so long as the child has fed well during the day, is gaining good steady weight, and is well, that parents do not wake the child up for a feed – and to let the child sleep for that bit longer to encourage the lengthening in the sleep pattern and time. It is also very valuable in getting the child to settle and sleep that little bit longer for them to be at their best for a day ahead where they will not be fractious and tearful.
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