Being a new mom can be overwhelming, there is no handbook on what to do, and although everyone puts their opinions in and tells us how to do it, every child is different and not everything works for everyone. A challenge that all new parents face is, sleeping. Most parents of newborn babies walk around during the day looking like zombies because let's face it, they just do not get to sleep. Being up every two to three hours for feedings can be harsh, and that is why it is vital that parents establish a sleep schedule as early as possible. The later in a child's life that a parent tries to install a routine, the harder it will be and the less likely that it is to work. By the age of two, children will spend 40 percent of their time sleeping and since sleep has such a huge impact on mental and physical development, it is crucial that we make sure that our little ones are getting all of the sleep that they need.
Of course, this is easier said than done because babies get fussy and it is a mother’s instinct to pick up her crying baby and try to soothe him or her throughout the night. Some parents, however want to be fun parents and let their children stay up as late as they want without any set bedtime, and then there are the parents who give into their children’s every need. Setting and sticking to a bedtime routine may not be easy, but there are times when a baby's routine gets totally messed up and there is no one to blame, but the parents. There are many things that can mess up a child's sleep routine, and this is a list of 15 things that moms can do to ruin their baby's sleep routine without even realizing it.
15 Feeding After Dark
Babies are always hungry and in the first couple of months of their lives they typically need to eat every three to four hours. However, beyond the first few months, it is important that we being weaning them off of the nighttime bottles. Not only can feeding at night affect the baby teeth that they will soon start to cut, it also means they will continue to wake up hungry every night. It is important that we get them on a set schedule at a young age and that we feed them a decent amount right before we put them to bed at night, so that they will have full tummies and stay asleep longer. This makes for a much better sleep routine and a peaceful night for mom and dad, who, after past few months probably deserve a good night's rest.
14 Too Dependant On Mom And Dad
Sleeping with the baby is something that is actually frowned upon by physicians, for obvious reasons, but for some reason a lot of new mothers still insist on doing it. Not only could it lead to injury or even SIDS, but it also puts the baby in a terrible sleep routine. Co-sleeping, when it isn't leading to death or injury, is causing the baby to become reliant on sleeping by their parents side, and they may not feel safe sleeping by themselves. So, when we do try to switch them to their cribs not only will they feel scared and uncomfortable, but they will also likely cry for most of the night and no one will get very much sleep. It is best to keep babies in their cribs from the beginning so that there is no need to worry about transitioning and they are already used to it, because it is all that they know.
13 The Baby Is In Constant Need Of Rescue
Now of course this one does not apply to a newborn baby, who does not yet know how to self soothe, but rather a baby who is over the age of six months old. We all know that babies cry, a lot, but at around six months of age they begin to learn how to self soothe. However, if a mom is constantly picking up her child every time that they cry then they never learn how to self soothe and therefore they will not be able to put themselves back to sleep when they wake up during the night. They will become reliant on mom to be there to comfort them throughout the night, which can completely mess up their entire sleep routine. If your child is changed, fed, comfortable, and there is nothing really wrong other than the fact that they want to be held, then it is best to let them go so that they get the chance to learn how to self soothe, as hard as that may be to do.
12 Jammies, Hungry, The Shivers?
This is one that not many people think about. When we see our precious little babies laying in their cribs they look so comfortable, but are they? If baby has been changed and fed, but is still crying and clearly upset then it could possibly mean that he or she is not comfortable. This could be for a number of reasons. They could either be too hot or too cold. If baby is too cold make sure not to put any blankets in the crib as this could lead to SIDS, instead make sure they are in a nice warm pair of pajamas. If baby is too hot, then it is okay to put them to sleep in just a diaper. Whatever the reason may be, it is best to figure it out as soon as possible so that baby is able to get some sleep so that their entire schedule doesn't get messed up.
11 Not Enough Play Time
We get it, most parents are very busy throughout their days and do not have a whole lot of time for play, but it essential for our baby's development and sleep that we make time for play every single day. For a newborn baby, there really is not a whole lot that we can do, but to make sure that they get enough interaction with us and are not sleeping the entire day away because too many naps make for a long night. Although, for older babies aged 6 months and up it is important that we interact with them, and to make sure that they are getting some time outside, if the weather is nice. This helps improve their cognitive development and it will definitely make them more tired when their bed time rolls around. However, if we do not really do anything with them during the day, and it’s somewhat of a boring time then they are more likely to be energized when their bedtime comes and they will want to stay up later.
10 The Clock Strikes Twelve
Letting a baby stay up late is a bad idea for a few reasons. It is important that we put our babies to bed around the same time every night, and not letting them stay up late because this could lead to them getting into a bad pattern of staying up late and not wanting to go to sleep on time at all anymore. It also means that they will likely end up sleeping in the following morning and while that may sound nice, it means that they will be up late again the next night and it then turns into a vicious cycle of staying up late and both baby and mom not getting the right amount of sleep that they need. Moms should always pick a bedtime and stick to it, no matter how hard it may be some nights.
9 Satisfying The Sweet Tooth
Too much sugar is always a bad thing, and parents should limit the amount of sugar filled things that they give their little ones as much as possible. Not only can excess amounts of sugar be bad for their health, but it can also make them very hyper. Giving children sugar late at night is especially bad for a couple of reasons, one being that they could end up with tooth decay from allowing sugars to sit on their teeth overnight the other being that they will be way to hyped up to go to sleep at a normal time, stay up late, and wind up sleeping in the following morning. Sounds like a terrible idea, am I right? If you are to give your child sugary things make sure that it is during the day, when they have time to burn it off, because who really wants a sugar crazed baby or toddler running or crawling around their house at midnight.
8 Bath Before Bed Time?
Children get dirty, very dirty, between the spitting up and occasional explosive diapers, baths are vital to keep our little ones squeaky clean. In order to establish a strict yet calming bedtime routine it is best that parents bathe their little ones every night before bed, this will not only clean off all of the dirt from the day, but it will also cause them to relax and become sleepy. A win win all around. However, if you are a parent who tends to skip a day or two of bathing the baby might become confused, because every night is different for them and there is no set routine. This can not only cause bad hygiene, but can totally mess up their sleep routine and is not recommended by doctors. Bathing every night is essential for a healthy sleep routine.
7 Too Many Naps
Pretty much all babies take naps and, depending on their age, they may take several naps throughout the day, which can be a very nice relief for the sleep deprived mom and dad. It is easy to just let our children nap as much as they want because that gives us the time that we need to get things done and maybe even get a nap in ourselves, but when it comes to having a bedtime routine, too many naps can end very badly. A baby or toddler who is allowed to nap a lot throughout the day is far less likely to be tired when their bedtime rolls around, which can throw off their entire nighttime routine and leave everyone feeling exhausted the next day. Professionals say that two nas a day is ideal for children six months of age and older.
6 Late-Night Invites
Everyone has guests over from time to time, and sometimes when we are having fun it can turn into a long night of having people over and staying up till the early morning, but what is that doing to our baby’s sleep routine? If someone has guests over at their house into the late night, whether it be from a party or just hanging out with an old friend, then it is probably safe to say that things are not exactly going to be quiet. This can make baby stay up late and not want to sleep not only because of all of the noise, but because they are curious as to what is going on and they are afraid that if they fall asleep they will miss out on something. Babies are after all very curious little people.
5 The Mornings Start Late
Too much sleep may seem impossible to anyone who has ever had a baby, but bear with me here because this can really mess up the schedule. If we wake in the morning and our children are still peacefully sleeping in their beds, the last thing that any normal parent is going to want to do is to wake them up. So we let them sleep, hoping to maybe catch on some more rest ourselves or get things done around the house while we still can, this is a big mistake. If a child has been sleeping past the time that they usually wake up around then their mom or dad should most certainly wake them up because letting them sleep in will cause them to stay up later that night and as mentioned in an earlier entry, this can become a vicious cycle of sleeping in and staying up late and no one wants that.
4 There's No Schedule
Of course the most obvious way to mess up a baby’s sleep routine is to never really have on in the first place. Some parents have days that are hectic and never the same, so it can be hard to do things at the same time every night, but not putting a schedule into place can be a huge mistake. This can lead to poor sleeping habits, little to no sleep for both baby and mom, and worst of all a cranky baby who does not want to follow rules because there were never any in place to begin with. A good idea would be to feed your baby dinner, give them a bottle of milk, brush their teeth, bathe them, and then off to bed. This will get babies into the habit of, okay i just had my bath now i'm sleepy, they will begin to recognize that that is bed time.
3 The Night Lights
We all know that it can be difficult to fall asleep when there are bright lights on, well it is no different for our babies. As parents we like to install night light for a number of reasons one of them being so that we can see when we go in late at night to change their diapers and the other being so that our little ones are not scared when they wake up in the middle of the night. Night lights are usually harmless, however, some can be extremely bright. If they are too bright then there is a high possibility that they may be keeping your baby up at night. Its best to just do away with the night lights all together because the chances are that the baby won't be scared anyways.
2 What Does The Baby Hear?
White noise can work wonders, even some adults use it to help them sleep easier. White noise works by muffling any outside noises, making it easier for us to sleep and less likely for us to be woken up by bumps in the night. While not all babies use or need white noise to sleep, it can play a role in disrupting a baby's sleep patterns this is because while baby sleeps and mom or dad wonder about the house doing their nightly chores or catching up on their favorite show, the baby hears everything and is startled by loud noises and woken up easily. They do make noise machines for babies, but a fan turned on high (as long as it is not too cold) would also suffice. If your baby is easily awoken and startled by loud noises and you feel as if you have to tiptoe around the house then white noise would be an excellent choice for you.
1 No Consistency
When it comes to routines consistency is always key. How can anyone, let alone a baby, get used to a bedtime routine, when their bedtime keeps changing, or they are not being bathed everyday, or perhaps mom only reads them a goodnight book a couple of nights a week? If a parent wants their child to sleep well and have a healthy sleeping pattern then it is very important that they be sure to always stick to the schedule, do not change things up just because you don't feel like doing something that night because in the long run it will just lead to problems and some very sleepy parents. A strict schedule is vital in ensuring that baby knows when it is time to start calming down and go to sleep, not being consistent can lead to a defiant baby who refuses to go to bed when we tell them to.