As new parents, you must be aware of the benefits of creating a perfect sleep pattern for your baby, but if you are wondering how to do it, let us help you.
With all the suggestions flowing in from different well-wishers and sources, rearing a child can be overwhelming at times. But, relax, as long as it is safe, there is no wrong way of taking care of a baby.
To handle the day to day challenges with a baby, the best option is to adhere to a routine.
Introduce your baby to a bedtime routine
Work out on a bedtime routine which suits you and your baby, and you can stick to it for the long term. You cannot enforce a routine on the baby, and it has to be a gradual process.
Set a simple structure - a warm bath, mild message, shift to night dress, feed, and then lights-out. If you follow this pattern, over a period, your baby starts relating to it, and he knows "it's time for sleep."
Set the baby’s clock right
Babies are not born with a set body clock – given a choice; they will party all night and sleep during the day.
So, to start with any schedule, you first need to help him to differentiate between day and night. Let your rooms be bright and well-lit throughout the day, and do the exact opposite at night. Keep it calm and help your baby to relax.
While you must make your morning feedings a fun activity with loads of chatting, do not talk to the baby during night time feeds.
The important thing - do not let your baby sleep post 5 pm; keep him engaged, and gradually start with the bedtime process which includes bathing, changing, and feeding. Readout bedtime stories, and let it help all of you to relax down.
The ultimate motive is to put the baby to bed by 8 pm so that he can have a good night's sleep.
While sleeping babies do not always realize that they are hungry. So, it is essential that you feed them at regular intervals, most preferably in a gap of three hours. In case he has hunger prangs before that, feed him.
Even if the baby is sleeping, wake him up and feed him and if your baby dozes off during a feed, it doesn’t necessarily mean he has had enough. Try to put him down, and you will know if he is full or not!
Feeding not just helps the baby to sleep but it also provides him with the required nutrients and energy.
Try to be consistent
Once you set a pattern, try to be consistent with it. Babies can fall into the routine quickly, but they become confused if you deviate from it often.
So, even on vacations try to prioritize his schedule, and always remember your baby will grow up soon and these days and schedule is just a phase.
Be prepared for the changes
All of a sudden, you find that your well-scheduled baby starts behaving weirdly! It’s normal – check out if he is working to achieve a milestone.
He may be hungrier than usual, needs more sleep, might be teething or might have learned a new skill like crawling, which he wants to practice in his sleep too.
Hold your grounds – if your baby is not back on schedule in a while, this may be a sign that you need to adjust your routine.
Change is the only consistent thing is a baby's life. So, taking clues from his behavior will make things easier for both of you. Pediatrician Daniel Levy, past president of the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says,
“When parents take the time to be with their baby, the information they receive gets sifted through their own experience. 'Instincts' come from learning about your baby's temperament and what works for him.”
Babies love you unconditionally, and they trust you the most, so approach a routine with confidence and positivity.