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Babies Sleep Through the Night : Dispelling the Myths

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“Why won’t my baby sleep?”, “How to get my baby to sleep through the night”? “What to do if my baby is not sleeping?” these are three of the most common questions that new (and tired) parents ask. Every tired parent would like to learn the secret of baby sleep training.

Lack of sleep is one of the most significant challenges of parenting. Unfortunately, no one can guarantee parents continuous sleep without waking up, but it is possible to learn a healthy routine for you and your baby.

“He is not sleeping enough; it will impair his development!”, “It is forbidden to wake a sleeping baby – not even for food!”. Every new and tired parent encounters this – advice, myths, and grandma’s remedies. What myths about infant sleep are true, and how do they improve their (and ours) sleeping habits?

Myths – Are they true or false?

A baby should fall asleep “alone.

No! Babies do nothing “alone” – they are not independent. Just as you do not expect them to get their food, warm themselves and beware of dangers – so is the situation with sleep. Dependence is an essential and healthy condition in the parent-baby relationship.

Yes, some babies know how to fall asleep alone naturally, but they are rare. Therefore, it is not advisable to refer to the situation as a “problem that needs solving” if your baby needs help falling asleep.

how to improve your baby’s sleep
How to improve your baby’s sleep?
Babies are supposed to sleep through the night!

Not true! Some babies sleep through the night, and some do not. Some babies wake up frequently, and some “sleep like a baby” (a phrase people probably invented before they had babies). The most important thing to remember is that babies do not sleep “good” or “bad,” they sleep differently, and all babies are good.

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Is it forbidden to wake up a sleeping baby?

Wrong – It is allowed and sometimes even needed to wake a sleeping baby.

It is recommended to wake up a new baby to eat when there is a medical reason and not rely on her to wake up alone until she is gaining weight well. Possible causes are low birth weight, premature baby, neonatal jaundice, difficulty breastfeeding or feeding by the hour.

It is allowed to wake up the baby if you have to leave the house, for example, pick up a sibling from kindergarten or get to your doctor’s appointment.

It is also allowed to wake a baby for food when it is more convenient for you. For example, if it is already midnight and you want to go to bed and the baby is expected to wake up in 20 minutes, you do not have to wait. Instead, you can wake up your baby gently and feed them earlier.

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If you feed a baby who wakes up at night, they will condition them to wake them up.

Not true! Every baby sleeps and wakes up differently. Breastfeeding at night not only provides a nutritional need but also addresses the baby’s emotional needs – which are just as important.

We do not have to think about baby sleep training; we need to give them the comfort they need to develop confidence.

When we satisfy the baby’s needs, we also provide them with more confidence and long-term independence. The babies will grow up and stop waking up at night, even if you do nothing, trust me.

From the age of six months, a baby should not wake up at night for food

Not true. Your baby did not receive a booklet with sleep rules by age, and each baby is different and unique. At this point, many babies still wake up at night for many other reasons and want to eat on the way. A baby usually does not know how to fall back asleep without food.

Most issues related to a baby not sleeping well are caused by temporary things like illness, teething pains, colds, abandonment anxiety, growth spasms, and more.

After birth, the first period is confusing for the parent, and additional guilt over your baby’s sleeping habits is unnecessary. This is not the time to focus on baby sleep training.  If your baby is not sleeping as the environment expects, it is not because you did something wrong – the one who determines the issue of sleep is only the baby!

How to get my baby to sleep through the night
How to get my baby to sleep through the night?

So how do you survive in periods when the baby is not sleeping continuously?

  • Try to rest while the baby sleeps and try to go to bed earlier in the evening. It is a shame to get out of your pajamas in the morning – you should try to go back to bed as soon as the child closes his eyes.
  • A bassinet close to the parent will allow quick access and response when waking up.
  • It is possible and even recommended to ask for help from others: a grandparent and a friend can hold the sleeping baby and allow you a precious nap.
  • Most importantly, remember that this period is challenging, but it will pass and soon be more manageable. Do not focus on baby sleep training, bond with your new baby.

So how to improve your baby’s sleep, and how can we help the baby (and us) sleep better?

  • A quick response to the baby’s crying helps them to relax and go back to sleep quickly. As long as the baby is crying, it is essential to be by their side, pick them up and feed them as needed, comfort and give them a sense of security by hugging, cuddling, singing, stroking, touching, and any other way that suits you and the baby.
    • Make sure there is light around the baby during the day and darkness at night. That means the room will be dark with a small night light. A clear distinction between day and night hours may improve your baby’s sleep.
    • Avoid excessive stimuli when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night and treat him as calmly and quietly as possible.
    • Make sure the room is not too hot in summer and not too cold in winter.
    • Accustom the baby to a regular going-to-sleep routine. For example, a bath, feeding, and a song or story – in regular order. A young baby may fall asleep while feeding, and this is natural in babies.
    • Be attentive to the child’s needs and reactions: the way you choose to put them to sleep is less important because it usually will not affect their length and quality of sleep. Plus, the way they fall asleep today is not necessarily how they will fall asleep tomorrow, in a week, or a month. Babies are constantly evolving and changing, and so are their needs. Your baby may prefer to fall asleep while breastfeeding, gentle rocking, baby carrier, or bed – everything goes, the main thing is that you listen to yourself and the baby. You will find out yourself how to improve your baby’s sleep.

Selected products for a quieter night 

This baby tea for sleep will help your child sleep through the night.

 

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If you think one of the products can make your life easier –

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How many hours of sleep should my baby sleep?

This is not a cliché – every baby is unique and special. Therefore, when looking at average sleep by age, keep in mind that each child needs different hours of sleep depending on their character, genetics, and other personal characteristics.

Recommended number of hours of sleep according to the age of the child:

Baby sleep chart by age:

Child’s age Hours of sleep a day Hours of sleep at night
A Week 8 Hours 8.5 Hours. Sleep in short sections
A Month Between 6-7 Hours Between 8-9 Hours
Three  Months Between 6-7 Hours Between 10-11 Hours
Six Months 3 Hours 11 Hours
Nine Months 2.5 Hours 11 Hours
A Year 2.5 Hours 11 Hours
Two Years 1.5 Hours 11.5 Hours
Tree Years Up to 45 Min Between 11.5-12 Hours

* Data are updated according to information on the UK National Health Organization website

We hope that you found this baby’s sleep helpful information and that it will help you improve your baby and your confidence and sleep. Believe it or not, one day, you will miss these nights of a crying baby and terrible fatigue.

 

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