How Do You Change An Infant's Sleep Cycle?
by Hayley Morgan on Oct 21, 2022
Are you keeping vampire hours, because the cute little gift you just received is keeping you awake all night?
Having and taking care of a newborn is very exciting. But, with excitement come sleepless nights and tiring days. A full night's sleep is as important for your baby’s health as it is for you.
It is a fact that newborns do not sleep through the night. Why? Because:
- A baby's 24-hour timing system is not fully developed at birth. So it won't function consistently until two to six months after birth.
- Babies have small stomachs and they can’t eat all they need at once. They need to wake up at short intervals to eat.
- They take their full 16 hours of sleep during the day and night hours.
- They don’t know their mommy is tired and needs some sleep. No pun intended.
But do not worry, mommy. Some easy-to-do things help babies sleep at night and have a regular sleep cycle as early as possible.
How to change a newborn’s sleep cycle?
Set the stage
It is crucial to help your baby realize that it’s time to sleep. This can be done by creating a sleep-friendly environment for your baby. Turn off or dim the lights, avoid making noise, no games before bedtime, read lullabies, rhymes, or recite prayers when going to bed. When these actions are repeated daily while going to bed, your baby gets accustomed to them and takes them as cues, and starts recognizing them as his/her sleep time.
Regulate wake-up times
Regulating wake-up time is important for your baby’s health as much as a regular bedtime is. In fact, wake-up time plays a more vital role in setting up a child’s circadian clock as compared to their sleep time. Make sure, your and your baby’s days follow regular wake-up routines. This will help both of you go to sleep at a regular time daily.
Keep the days playful
Keep your baby busy during the day by playing with him/her. Talk to the newborns. They might not understand what you are saying but they love being talked to. They respond and feel engaged and loved. Take them outside with you. Morning and afternoon naps are important but they should not stretch much longer than an hour. Try to avoid catnaps other than two naps in a day.
Separate eating from sleeping
Your baby may depend on feeding to sleep if he or she routinely falls asleep at the breast or with the bottle. In order to reduce the frequency of feeding your baby at night, you can feed them earlier so they don't have to wake up to feed during the night and they do not associate feeding as a part of their bedtime routine.
You can start phasing out night feeds for breastfed and bottle-fed babies after 6 months if they're developing well.
Swaddle, cuddle, rock
Some babies like to be swaddled, cuddled, and rocked to help them get to sleep. While others want to stay with the rest of the family until they fall asleep. Find out what works for your baby. You can find cute baby swaddles and baby sleep sacks to keep your baby feeling comfortable and protected during sleep.
All infants are different but you can start setting up a routine as early as your baby is 2 months old. Remember that you need to be a patient parent and keep your expectations realistic. It might be difficult to set a good sleep routine in the early months of your baby’s life. It is advisable for parents to follow their baby’s routine during those months and sleep when their baby sleeps.