The first thing most new moms get asked about is sleep. But the dark circles gracing your face tell their story!
It is normal for a newborn to feed every couple of hours. It is pretty unrealistic to expect a week old infant to sleep for large stretches of time. For the first few months of your baby’s life, you’ll just need to grin and bear it. But once your baby hits the six-month mark, it is time to sleep train her.
What Is Sleep Training For Babies?
As an infant, waking up multiple times a night to feed is normal. Your little one needs food to grow. But once she is six months old, she doesn’t need night time feeds. Now, most of her night time sojourns is because of habit. Sleep training is all about breaking this habit and helping your baby sleep through the night.
What Is The Right Age Of Training Babies To Sleep?
As mentioned before, the first six months are not conducive for sleep training. But you can begin on a bedtime routine as early as six weeks. Once your baby turns six months old, you can plan your sleep training approach. But even before you start, make sure your baby does not have a medical condition. If your baby is having trouble gaining weight, talk to your pediatrician before you begin.
Most Popular Sleep Training Methods:
There is a mommy war raging to decide the best sleep training method. But the fact remains that there is no ‘best’ option. Each baby, each family is different. And the sleep training method you adopt should depend on your baby’s needs and temperament. Here are the most popular sleep training methods for babies you can consider:
1. The Cry It Out (CIO) Method:
Cry It Out is the most controversial sleep training method around. Proponents of this method argue that it is okay to let your baby cry. The cry it out method is tough on both parents and babies. But it seems to work. Hundreds of happy mothers are proof of that! The best part about the CIO method is that it teaches your baby to self-soothe. This is a valuable lesson that will give your baby a healthy sleeping habit.
- Put your baby down to sleep, drowsy but not asleep.
- Allow for crying bouts with moments of comforting.
- You should not pick up your baby while she is in the crib.
- Just comfort her for a while and walk out of the room.
- The crying spells will shorten with time until your baby learns to fall asleep without any external help.
2. The No Tears Method:
Developed by William Sears, a popular attachment parenting advocate, the No Tears method of sleep training believes in comforting your baby each time she cries. This particular method argues that letting your baby cry it out can leave a lasting, negative impact on her.
- Make sure your baby is eating plenty during the day. This will teach her that daytime is for eating and night time for sleeping.
- Create a bedtime schedule that works for you.
- Stick to the schedule, no matter what.
- Use some specific word to signal bedtime. Use the word to teach your baby that it’s time to sleep. You can even use the word when your baby wakes up in the middle of the night.
- Don’t respond to every sound your baby makes. Comfort her only when she is awake and crying. A sleepy whimper does not warrant comforting.
There are many variations to these basic baby sleep training techniques. You can even combine the two to create a method that’s perfect for you.
7 Simple Tips For Sleep Training Your Baby:
No matter the approach you decide to follow, there are some basic steps you need to imbibe to help your baby sleep better.
1. Set A Schedule:
This is a must. Remember, babies need schedule to thrive. If you have picked 7 pm as bedtime, stick to it. Also, babies prefer early bedtime. A 10 pm bedtime may be perfect for you but may not be what your baby needs. It won’t be easy, and you’ll have to make sacrifices. But the result will be well worth the effort.
2. Take It Slow:
Don’t rush it. If your baby goes to sleep at 10 don’t suddenly expect her to fall asleep at 7. Change the bedtime slowly.
3. Make A Note Of It:
Jot down your baby’s sleep schedule. When does she nap, for how many hours, when is she fussy – the answer to your night time struggles lie within these questions.
4. Don’t Go On A Guilt Trip:
Sleep training can seem cruel. But don’t guilt yourself. Yes, you need your baby to sleep through the night to stay sane. But your baby too needs a consistent sleeping pattern to be healthy.
5. Don’t Shy Away From Baby Accessories:
Use a pacifier, blanket, soft toy – anything that will make your baby feel more comfortable and sleep better.
6. Check On Her:
If your baby cries in the middle of the night, check her out. A dirty diaper may well be the cause.
7. Night Time Weaning:
If your baby is still feeding during the night, consider night time weaning. Between 4-6 months, your baby’s need for night time feeds go down. Talk to your doctor about night weaning.
These are wonderful tips and have worked for many families. But don’t be frustrated if your baby just refuses to sleep through the night. Patience is the key to sleep training. Stick to your guns. Slowly your baby will learn to sleep for longer stretches of time without waking up for comfort. In fact, soon you’ll be missing your midnight cuddles!
Do you believe in baby sleep training? Did you adopt a particular method? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.
10 Most Common Reasons Why Babies Wake Up At Night
The first year and a half is usually the worst phase of sleeplessness at night for the newborn and so the toughest phase for new moms as they struggle to cope with the maternal duties round the clock.
Does your baby also wake up suddenly in the middle of the night despite your best efforts to avoid it? If you are still clueless as to why this could be happening, read on to know what could potentially be the cause.
Why Babies Wake At Night?
Here are some very common reasons that could be causing baby suddenly waking up at night:
- If your baby is feeling too hot or cold
- If there is an intrusive light that is affecting your baby’s sleep
- If there is any sudden noise that affects baby at night
- If your baby was recently ill
- If there is a change in your baby’s routine, like a vacation
- If your baby has just learnt a new motor or developmental skill and is trying it out at night
- If your baby is about to reach a new milestone
- If your baby is used to sleeping with a bottle or pacifier
- If your baby is used to sleeping with a rocking or swinging motion
- If your baby is not properly fed before bed
How Do I Prevent Baby Waking In The Night?
Whether your baby has always been waking up in the middle of the night or only recently doing so, it is possible to change the habit. Here are a few things you can try out to avoid babies waking in the night and ensures tight sleeps through the night:
1. Proper Temperature And Dress:
Ensure that the temperature in your baby’s room is comfortable. It should not be too hot or too cold for your baby. Dress your baby according to the weather and the temperature inside the room.
2. Maintain A Routine:
Babies find it very difficult to adjust to a sudden change in routine. If your baby is used to falling asleep at a particular time at night, make sure you follow the pattern every day. Try and maintain your baby’s bedtime rituals as much as you can, even if the baby is away from home. This will help your baby know that it is time for bed.
3. Tummy Full:
If your baby is full before falling off to sleep, chances of waking up in the middle of the night will be lesser. Ensure your baby has a healthy and filling dinner before sleep creeps in. Healthy eating is also important throughout the day as tummy trouble too could be the cause of his disturbed sleep. If your baby has fallen asleep without eating, you may try to wake up the baby by gently calling out his name.
4. Stop Those Midnight Play Sessions:
Avoid playing, talking, or doing any fun activity with your baby at odd hours. If your baby starts getting bored, chances of him falling back to sleep sooner will be more. Simply be there with your little one so that he feels calm and can fall back to sleep.
Hope by now you are clear that why babies wake at night. Do not worry too much about the baby’s nocturnal activity. Remember that waking up in the middle of the night is restricted to your baby’s first few years only. While most babies learn to sleep through the night sometime during the first year itself, others may take slightly longer.
Moms, how did you manage to make your baby sleep through the night? Do share your tips here with other moms.
7 Best Swaddle Blankets For Your Baby & Tips On Swaddling Baby
There are very few things that can replace a mother’s warmth. Swaddling is one such thing.
Who wouldn’t love to see their babies have a peaceful sleep? A sleep-deprived baby can be quite a handful. Moreover, if the sleeping patterns are maintained properly, the baby would grow well, physically and mentally.
Confused why we suddenly moved from swaddling to sleep? It’s because they are interlinked. Infants sleep better if they are swaddled. MomJunction gives you some much-needed information on how to swaddle a baby and would help you buy amazing swaddling blankets that can keep your baby warm and give him some much needed calm time. Also, check out our tips on swaddling and safety precautions.
What Is A Swaddling Blanket?
So, what are these swaddling blankets? The blankets recreate the environment that was in the womb. They give the baby the perfect warmth and comfort needed to sleep better. Plus, you have peace of mind.
Best Swaddle Blankets For Newborns:
Swaddling blankets come in various materials. The best, however, is muslin or cotton. If you are on the lookout for a good swaddling blanket for your infant, your search ends now! Here are the best baby swaddle blankets to choose from:
1. Bebemooi Sleephack
Buy Bebemooi Sleephack: 100% Cotton Natural Sleeved Sleeper (Medium, Blue) For ₹10,648 @ www.amazon.in
Made from 100% cotton material, this amazing sleep bag ensures that your baby gets the perfect sleep in the coziest atmosphere.
With a zipper all the way through, this bag mimics the atmosphere in the womb. The pajamas make the baby comfortable, and the bag gives the baby enough room to move his legs. Travel-friendly and easy to clean, the material of this bag makes air exchange easy and regulates the temperature as well.
2. Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets:
Buy Aden Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets For ₹ 6,380 @ www.amazon.in
Most new mothers swear by this product! These blankets come in two sizes – 42” x 42” and 47” x 47”. So, make sure to order the right size. These swaddling blankets are light, yet they keep the little one warm. They are made of 100% cotton. The more you wash, the softer the blanket will become. Yes, these blankets are not the cutest in the market, but they do get the job done!
3. Halo Sleepsack Swaddle:
Buy Halo Sleepsack Swaddle For ₹ 2,648 @ www.amazon.in
The Halo Sleepsack Swaddle comes in two varieties: 100% polyester version and 100% cotton version. They also come in three sizes: preemie, newborn and small. These swaddles have a zipper and Velcro, making them easy to use.
If you are uncomfortable with the whole swaddling process, the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle is the perfect for you!
4. Summer Infant SwaddleMe:
Buy Summer Infant Swaddle Me For ₹ 4145 @ www.amazon.in
Just like the Halo, the Summer Infant SwaddleMe also comes with a Velcro design. But the one thing most mothers love about these swaddles is their design. If you are looking for colorful designs, go for the Summer Infant SwaddleMe. These blankets come in two sizes: small/medium and large. If you want a swaddle that is easy to use and looks cute, this is your best bet!
5. Miracle Blanket:
Buy Miracle Blanket For ₹ 11,329 @ www.amazon.in
If you are a swaddling pro, this product will ‘speak’ to you. The Miracle Blanket does not use any zipper or Velcro. Instead, they use a unique and complicated wrapping process. The wrapping process involves elaborate steps and may seem confusing to some. But most mothers have only good things to say about the Miracle swaddling blanket. The only downside is that it does not come in different sizes. It also does not boast of cute designs but keeps wiggly infants safe and warm!
Buy Woompie For ₹ 2166 @ www.amazon.in
This is one of the best swaddle blankets for moms who like to keep things simple. Just put your baby in and zip it up! It comes with a stretchy fabric that allows your infant to move around and be comfortable.
Buy SwaddlePod For ₹ 1529 @ www.amazon.in
Just like the Woompie, the Swaddlepod, too, is a no-fuss swaddle blanket. It is ideal for newborns and prevents startle reflex that can wake your baby up.
After looking at the above options, you might get a crucial doubt: “Why should I use a swaddle, at all?”
Why Is Swaddling Important?
Besides what we did mention above, let us quickly check these points out (1).
- Keeps the baby comfortable and calm by giving him a womb-like experience and atmosphere.
- Places the arms tightly towards the sides thus preventing a startling reflex, which not just wakes babies up from their slumber but could also increase the heart rate. As the arms are held close together even if the baby gets startled, he wouldn’t wake up suddenly.
- Maintains the right temperature, much like the baby was used to in the womb. Swaddling blankets made of muslin or cotton cloths ensure good air circulation and the right temperature.
- Prevents suffocation unlike loose blankets, which could lead to Sudden Infant Death.
Swaddle blankets are important, but what is equally important is the process of using them. Learning to swaddle your baby could take a few (read two to three attempts). You have to ensure that the baby is comfortable while you’re swaddling him. We know you will surely appreciate some help here.
How To Swaddle Your Baby?
While this isn’t rocket science, you have to consider a few things when swaddling the baby: his comfort is number one on the list, his willingness to be swaddled is number two and then the material and thickness of the blanket. Let’s know how to swaddle a baby.
1. Choose your blanket:
- Consider the shape (should be square), size (preferably 40×40”), the material of the blanket, and the elasticity of the blanket.
- The blanket could be a little (but not very) stretchable. This would help you wrap the baby nicely.
2. Fold the blanket:
- Fold the blanket in a diamond shape from the top corner of the blanket.
- The fold should be as long as your baby is.
3. Place the baby on the blanket:
- Once the fold is made, place the baby on it.
- Make sure that the baby’s neck and face are above the fold.
- Support the neck while you are swaddling the baby.
4. Fold the baby’s arms:
- One way could be to hold the baby’s arms around his sides. This way, the arms would outline the baby’s sides.
- Another way is to fold the hands over the tummy to replicate the posture in the womb.
- Whatever way you use, make sure that the baby is comfortable.
5. Wrap a side:
- Hold the blanket on the side of one arm and tuck it in the downward direction under the fist of the other arm.
- The blanket should be tucked in such a way that it holds the baby’s arm in place.
6. Close the bottom:
- Once one arm is adjusted and swaddled, close the bottom of the swaddle.
- The section, which is left at the bottom, should be folded towards the upward direction near the baby’s neck. The side should be the one where you just tucked the baby.
7. Wrap the second arm:
- Just like the first arm, adjust the other arm and wrap it around.
- This should come over the fold that you made from the bottom of the swaddle.
- Cross it on the downward opposite side.
8. Tuck the left over:
- The left-over blanket from the second arm should be flipped over from the legs to the top in such a way that it forms a V-neck.
- Tuck it under the shoulder of the first arm. You may have to lift the baby up a bit to complete the final tuck of the swaddle.
Things to remember:
- Give the baby enough leg space and make sure that the baby can move his legs inside the swaddle. Bad swaddling could sometimes lead to hip dysplasia if the swaddle does not have enough room for the baby’s feet.
- Do not tighten the swaddle. A tighter swaddle does not mean the baby is comfortable. You should only make the baby feel warm, not suffocated.
- Once the swaddle is done, check for air circulation and monitor the baby’s temperature.
At last, we know how to make our tiny fellas comfortable. But it doesn’t end here. There are still a couple of things you could take home!
For How Long Can I Swaddle My Baby?
And by that we mean the age until which you can swaddle the baby. It is best to swaddle your baby until three or four months, but some parents prefer to do it for a good nine months.
While most doctors recommend swaddling until four to six months, they also agree that there is no harm in extending it. The idea is to make your baby feel relaxed and comfortable while sleeping.
Once your baby gets used to sleeping without a swaddle, then you can do away with it. And how would you know when to wean your baby off a swaddle? The best way is put one arm off the swaddle. If your baby isn’t sleeping well and seems irritable, he is not ready yet. So wrap the baby back. After nine months, make conscious attempts to wean the baby off the swaddle.
When Should You Avoid Swaddling?
Swaddling is not suitable in all the cases. You need to avoid swaddling at times:
- Hip dysplasia is an abnormal bone formation in the hip section. Because of the abnormality, the bone does not fit well in the socket. If your baby has this, do not swaddle him. Check with your doctor and make sure that the baby is swaddle-ready.
- Avoid swaddling when the baby is not sleeping but trying to play or move. While this may seem logical, the idea is to swaddle the baby only when you are trying to calm him or put him to bed.
Risks Of Swaddling:
Swaddling is comfortable both for the baby and you, but it is not free of risks. This does not mean that we are discouraging you from swaddling your baby, but we just want you to be more careful. The two major risks involved are:
While swaddling prevents Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), it may also promote it. Confused? If you do not swaddle the baby properly, and the folds are too close to the baby’s neck (thereby obstructing the windpipe), there are chances of SIDS. So make sure that you’re swaddling the baby correctly and leaving enough room near the neck region.
2. Lack of “arousal”:
A lot of babies lose their ability of arousal if they are swaddled for too long. This means they wouldn’t know when to wake up. While many parents want their babies to get a good sleep, babies should be swaddled for a limited time only.
An infant needs around 12-16 hours of sleep every day. And you need at least seven! A swaddling blanket can ensure enough sleep for you both. But, make sure that you get it right!
Have you thought of using a swaddling blanket? Are you already using one? Why don’t you review the brand for us? Just type in your views in the comments section below.
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