Newborns are very delicate. It can be a pretty overwhelming fact to any parent, whether as a first-time parent or not. The fact that they are 100% dependent is a lot of pressure on both mom and dad. This is why many parents, especially first-time parents, are known to over stress situations with their newborn. Unfortunately, stressing will not help the situation either.
Parents wish there was a way to do things exactly to make sure the baby does not run into any trouble. But as most parents have often heard, no two babies are the same. While one may be a great sleeper, another may not. And this is without parents doing anything to cause one to be a better sleeper than the other. Often there are differing opinions and they are all being directed towards the parents about what is best for their newborn.
It is up to the parent what is best for their baby. Time will only tell if that was the best choice. Most of the times it is about intuition but there are other times that the right choice is pretty clear. Still, there are common bedtime mistakes that parents do make that could interfere with the development of their newborn.
15 Responding To Every Noise
Besides being overly attentive to babies needs, parents tend to over-supervise their baby. This means, parents will check on their baby quite often, especially during those first few months. The whole Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) risk has really instilled this fear in parents when bringing a newborn home. This is why many parents opt for a baby monitor.
Baby monitors assist parents in literally watching over the baby when the parents are not in the room. This allows them, the parents, the flexibility of checking on the baby without physically going to check on them. This way mommies and daddies are not mistakenly waking baby up. Some monitors are both video and sound and others are just sound. They pretty much work like a walkie-talkie that is always on. There is one end of the monitor, the giving end, in the baby’s room and the parents keeps the other end with them or in the room they most frequent, the receiving end.
The problem with having a baby monitor? Many parents respond to every sound they hear on the monitor.
This constant checking causes the very light sleeping newborn to wake up. This leads to a pattern of interrupted sleep which then develops a not so good sleep routine in the baby. Let the baby monitor do its job.
14 Assuming Baby Needs Food Every Time
Babies cry all the time -- especially newborns. It is their way of communicating with the world and even more with their caretaker. Babies need to communicate when they are hungry, in pain, uncomfortable, too hot, too cold, too tired, etc. The list is endless and the only way to communicate this is through a cry. Can you imagine that? Only being able to communicate practically using one word? Difficult right? And how frustrating it must be to feel like what you are attempting to communicate is not being received or understood.
Being that crying is a baby’s only form of communicating it is important mommy keeps in mind that crying does not automatically mean hunger.
Crying can mean the need of one or a few things. Hopefully, just one. Assuming the baby is crying because she or he is hungry is a common mistake. This can cause baby to become more frustrated and definitely not sleep at all. If baby has already been fed before being put to bed, try a few things before offering food. It could be that there is a gas she or he needs help releasing or a clothes tag that is bothering her. Most of the times, she or he may just want a quick cuddle.
13 Rocking Baby To Sleep, Even In The Middle Of The Night
As a parent, the main thing on your mind is making sure your newborn is safe and healthy. One of the ways we do that is by trying to be there for the baby in more ways than one and more often than not. When baby has been put down to sleep, she or he will wake up a few times, most of them to eat. Remember, they eat about every two hours. If you are nursing, keep in mind this can be a longer or shorter period depending on the amount of milk you are producing and baby is “eating”.
Nevertheless, once baby awakes and you have ruled out hunger be very careful to not always rock baby back to sleep. It will be tempting to do this all the time as it will usually work but it causes baby to then depend on being rocked every single time they wake up. As you may have often read, once baby seems to be dozing off, immediately put him or her inside their crib or bassinet, wherever it is they sleep for the night. This will allow baby to start being able to fall asleep on his or her own without depending on mommy or daddy to rock them.
12 Putting Baby To Bed With Their Bottle
If you have decided to bottle feed your baby it can be really tempting to put baby to sleep with the bottle. Most of the times baby will naturally go to sleep while or in the middle of eating. No matter if there is formula or breastmilk in the bottle it is recommended to not put baby to sleep with a bottle for a couple of reasons.
First and foremost, it can be a SIDS risk. Newborns are small and still learning how to safely eat and digest. Falling asleep with an object in their mouth is a choking hazard that is easily avoidable.
If the baby is falling asleep, finish feeding later.
Or if you would really like to feed baby at that instant, some caresses on their ear could wake baby up to continue eating but most times it is a tough fight to win. Just remember once baby wakes up, she or he will be exceptionally hungry, perhaps.
Secondly, if baby falls asleep while eating, they are not swallowing all the milk and some may stay around in their mouth which can cause bacteria to grow. Remember, you are still not “brushing” baby’s “teeth” therefore there is no way to get rid of any bacteria growing milk that is left behind.
11 Breastfeeding Baby To Sleep
This one is a little tougher for the nursing moms. Being that it of course, only pertains to them but also, newborns eat a lot and there is no way to breastfeed without being present. Newborns eat around the clock. It is pretty challenging for both parents especially a breastfeeding mom.
It is a responsibility that requires mom to be awake and physically ready and capable of stopping everything to focus on breastfeeding their baby. Newborns need to be fed every one to two hours within a twenty four hour period. As many breastfeeding moms may have noticed, newborns fall asleep during the process and it is moms job to try and keep baby up to make sure she or he eats enough. Then there is the mistake of using this technique to put a fussy baby to sleep.
If baby has eaten enough then you are allowing baby to use your nipple as a pacifier to which baby will become dependent on in order to fall asleep. Not the best strategy as that habit can still remain long after baby starts solids. This also will cause baby to cry for you in the middle of the night to fall back to sleep.
10 Not Establishing A Bedtime Routine Early On
Do not underestimate the power of a bedtime routine. As adults, we are too accustomed to going to bed whenever we so please but a newborn will benefit, as will you eventually, from having a bedtime routine. The world is pretty big and new and knowing what comes next can be a comforting way to relax and stay relaxed and therefore asleep.
Having a newborn go to bed at different times each day can confuse baby. It is best to set up a time that works for everyone for baby to go to bed and start a routine to get ready for bed.
Though many parents opt for later bedtimes for baby to accommodate mommy or daddy’s schedule, it is recommended to set an early bedtime for baby. It is still up to the parent what fits best into their family. Once bedtime has been established, the routine could include a nice bath, reading a book then bed, every single night. This will prepare baby to go to bed even before you place baby in their crib or bassinet. Why? Because baby will pick up on what comes after each time and his or her body will start preparing to sleep.
9 Waiting Too Long Between Baby’s Last Nap And Bedtime
Naps are important. Very important. Unfortunately, some babies, if not most, are not fond of them. Regardless, it is important to keep trying to get baby to nap. Once the nap does happen it is no shock that you would let that baby sleep until she or he decides to wake up. But what if baby decides to take a short nap and you are dead set on a certain hour as bedtime? You give up that certain hour for that night.
Yes, it is part of your routine and you do not want to ruin what you are working so hard on to establish but here is where you may realize you are not the only one who sets the rules. Baby does too. Waiting too long between baby’s last nap and bedtime can cause baby to become overtired and therefore not being able to fall asleep at night.
Sometimes it will be the opposite and baby will take a long last nap of the day and you would have to push bedtime to later. Regardless, no two nights will be the same and you will just have to roll with each night as it comes to make the night itself go smoother.
8 Assuming A “Good Sleeper” Will Stay That Way
So you have brought baby home and it has been smooth sailing ever since. Baby wakes up at seven in the morning, nurses or eats throughout the day every one to two hours, takes their naps for more than an hour each and is ready for bedtime by seven at night to sleep through the night, with quick meals throughout. The dream of a mother who has just brought their newborn home. You have really lucked out and you know it.
Then one night baby does not fall asleep by seven. Baby seems to be really fighting it. What could have thrown baby off? What did you do? Could be something as much as it could be nothing.
It could just be baby changing and now you simply need to work around it.
Remember, there are such things as sleep regressions which happen every few months and then there is also teething as well as anything else in between. There is just a lot going on for this little person and they need someone who will be able to ride through it with them. Look for support and hang in there as it could always go back or get better.
7 Expecting An Easy Crib Transition
Many parents choose to co-sleep. Co-sleeping refers to when parents and baby either share the same sleeping space, i.e. sleep in the same bedroom but different surfaces or baby sleeps in the same bed as parents. Many parents do choose to have baby sleep on the same bed as them. This one is not a pediatrician’s favorite but parents who choose to go this route do so mainly because their little one is having a hard time sleeping on their own.
Once baby seems to start sleeping a bit better parents may want to transition baby to their crib. Baby is already used to sleeping next to mom and dad and this transition will not be an easy one. Be patient and do a little at a time.
Start with having naps happen in the crib and slowly transition to bedtime. Any changes that seem abrupt to baby can be pretty difficult as one can imagine and a little at a time is usually the best way to go. This allows baby to accept the change a little at a time and not be in total shock to the point where he or she will completely fight you on this change.
6 Allowing Baby To Sleep In The Car Seat
One thing to be very cautious about are carseats. Many babies love them, meaning they easily fall asleep in them.
Carseats are snug and babies find them the right amount of snug to go down for a long nap that could easily count as or turn into bedtime. Do not let baby sleep in the carseat for bedtime. This poses a huge SIDS risk. There have been too many freak accidents involving letting a baby sleep in a carseat. It is not worth the risk. Nothing is. It may seem like a safe option but too many accidents have proven it otherwise. Always make sure that if your baby is asleep in the carseat they have full supervision, not momentarily. Their life literally depends on it.
5 Not Following Your Instinct In Regards To Sleep Training
What first time mom knew there was such a thing as training a baby to sleep. Is that not what they naturally do…sleep? Who knew! Babies fight sleep and naps and parents have to figure out eventually how they will get their baby to sleep through the night. After some research you run into sleep training — ways to get your baby to go to sleep for bedtime at night and sleep through the night.
Keep in mind that sleeping through the night includes nighttime feedings. It is not as if they may never wake. The most popular, due to success and controversy, is the cry it out (CIO) method. Then there is also the no tears method, clearly the opposite of the CIO one.
You have heard so many success stories from the CIO method that you decide to give that one a try. Until you have to let your baby cry without going in to check up on baby immediately. Yikes! Remember, you have a choice. You are the mommy! If a certain method seems too harsh for you and baby then do not do it. Figure something else out that you are both more comfortable with.
4 Thinking Something Is Wrong If Sleep Advice Isn't Working
When it comes to baby sleep one thinks, prior to having baby, that it should be very simple. I mean, there is the phrase, “sleep like a baby” for a reason. And the reason being because babies sleep a lot and fairly easily.
Right? Wrong! Not all babies, if not most, sleep easily. You start researching ideas to get your baby to sleep better at bedtime as well as asking around for advice. You try almost all of the advice you have read and heard but all to no avail. What is wrong with you? Did you do something wrong? Did you miss something? Is something wrong with your baby?
These could all be a possible yes or a no. Remember, your baby is a baby like the rest of them but that is a far as the similarities go.
All babies are different and what worked for one or many may not work for yours.
Keep trying different things and eventually baby will get it. Mainly, pay close attention to your baby. See how she or he reacts to something new you may be trying. Did baby sleep for a longer or shorter period when you tried putting her or him to bed at a certain time?
3 Swaddling For Too Long
One of the most popular ideas when it comes to putting baby to sleep for bedtime is swaddling. Babies are immediately swaddled at the hospital and the hospital staff recommends it. They even show you how to do it. The idea is that baby is used to and therefore comfortable being tightly, yet comfortably, cuddled. Therefore you decide that you will continue swaddling at home. It was not too easy in the hospital but you know you will get the hang of it.
You have stories of you and your partner trying to swaddle your baby for the first few times and how difficult it is. You may have even purchased one of those velcro swaddlers because you could not get the swaddling technique down or baby is an escape artist. All you know is that once you swaddle your baby she or he sleeps for a long stretch. Then baby begins to move around and you know it is time to give up the swaddle. But baby will not sleep as much or as quickly without it. Do not try to stretch the time you swaddle your baby as it poses a huge SIDS risk. Again, it is never worth the risk!
2 Overdressing Baby
It is not so easy to tell what baby should wear to bed and whether baby will be too hot or too cold. A good rule of thumb is adding an extra layer than the amount of clothing you are wearing. A newborn has yet developed the ability to control their body temperature. If a newborn is hot, their body will not work to cool them down, the heat will simply be trapped inside their little bodies. Yes, pretty scary.
The same goes for when newborns are cold. This one is the trickiest one because them being so small most parents immediately assume baby needs as many layers as possible to protect him or her from feeling cold. But it is important that parents do not assume because they are so little that newborns need to be bundled up for bedtime. Overheating is another SIDS risk that is avoidable.
Besides the aforementioned rule of thumb you can check if baby is overheating by checking their neck and stomachs. If they are sweating around their neck, they are too hot and may need a layer removed and vice-versa. Overdressing can also cause suffocation therefore try and use your judgment but try not to add too many layers especially if you swaddle the baby.
1 Bright Night Lights
Night lights are one of the cutest additions to a baby’s nursery. They come in adorable shapes and sizes. Most are animals, of course. They can come in pretty handy when mom or dad simply want to get a quick check in on baby to make sure baby is doing alright. It is known that a baby’s nursery should be pretty much pitch black to allow baby to sleep better, or at all.
Night lights help parents to be able to see something when moving around the nursery when baby is asleep. Some nurseries are so dark that the dimmest night light will not work. It is still not a great idea to purchase a night light that pretty much feels like it is the light off of a lamp.
This amount of light can be disruptive to a newborn’s sleep. Remember, the closest to being in the womb you can make baby’s surroundings feel the easier it will be for baby to fall and stay asleep. The night light should be bright enough to allow your eyes to adjust and be able to see baby but not so bright where it disrupts baby’s ability to fall asleep or stay asleep.