Here’s the thing, parents. Sleep is a basic human need. Waking up every 1.5-2 hours at night is not a sustainable rhythm for you, or your baby. Since we are here, at the start of a new year, let’s have a fresh start. Take inventory of the below baby sleep basics, and make adjustments where you can, in an effort to improve and lengthen sleep cycles. Then, as always- reach out for further 1/1 strategies and support.
1. Set up a SLEEP environment
When you bring Baby home from the hospital, it’s true- most of them will sleep anywhere, anytime. But, as the weeks & months go on, they start to become more aware of their environment. Making an abundantly clear sleep-environment is critical to signaling to the them when and where sleep *should* take place. If you are missing any of those components, before you try anything else, at least start by checking off those boxes.
Here are the basics for a cozy, quality, safe sleep environment:
2. Stick to a 3-hour schedule during the day
We know, we know. This means you might have to wake your baby. What about the old (not so old?!?!) phrase: “Never wake a sleeping baby...”? This might be true at night but let us share why it is so critical to wake them up and make sure they are eating every 3 hours during the day: it is normal for babies ages 0-4 months to only get one solid stretch (this can range but the aim would be for 4-5 hours straight) of sleep per 24 hours, and we want them to take that stretch at night. So what do we do with our sleepy daytime babes? Get fresh air in the room, tickle their toes, unswaddle them, change a diaper, expose them to natural light. In fact, the Journal of Sleep Research says: “For babies up to 3 months, the more natural light to which they’re exposed, the quieter and longer their nighttime sleep.” We know it’s tempting to let them sleep, but if your goal is to get a long stretch at night, we sometimes have to steer the ship in that direction.
3. Become a Sleepy Cue Detective
If babies could only tell us when they are tired, right? Well- they kind of do! Have you ever noticed red eyes or eyebrows on your little one? Guess what: that is one of the first cues that Baby is tired! In fact, there are 3 “sleepy zones” that parents can become Detectives for. When you watch the clock and your baby, you’ll be able to “catch” them in zones 1 or 2, and encourage them to go to sleep. If you reach zone 3, chances are, Baby is past the point of being tired- they are now overtired and their cortisol levels are heightened and it will not only take them longer to fall asleep, they will likely not stay asleep as long either. Here are some cues to be on the lookout for:
If you, or someone you know is struggling to get quality sleep, please schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation with us. We are here to support you- you don’t have to do it alone.