A sleepless baby can be the undoing of a family. It might seem cute when a child clings on to you when she is supposed to sleep, but in no time, the entire household will be sleep deprived. Relax! A few simple sleep training techniques can make the biggest difference.
A little knowledge can go a long way when it comes to getting your baby to sleep. You must know what to expect when it comes to sleep training, so you can brace yourself when your child put up any resistance.
A child is a creature of habits. The key to consistent good sleep is gentle, loving consistency. There will be some crying at the beginning, but the crying doesn't have to last for weeks if you are consistent with the sleep training.
Sleep training begins when the child is 5 months old and at least 15 pounds. Before the child reach this developmental stage, it is inappropriate for her to undergo sleep training. She still needs your help to get sleep, which includes rocking, feeding, or anything you have to actively do to sooth her to sleep.
When your child reaches 5 months old and 15 pounds, congratulation! You have made it through the most stressful and treacherous period of child rearing. It is time to start sleep training. Here is the good news: you don't have to worry about crying, because there will always be some minimal crying. There isn't a method out there that can exempt you from going through this, so you might as well relax.
The first thing to do is to wean off night time feeds.
A 5 months old baby shouldn't need night feeding anymore. Check with your doctor to make sure that your child doesn't need to gain more weight before night weaning, and that if you are breast-feeding, you would have enough milk for the child increased needs for daytime feeds. Also, it might be wise to eliminate caffeine from your diet so the baby won't get caffeine from the milk.
Night feeding weaning takes approximately 5 nights. It is important that you wake up the baby for a night feed before she wakes up and cries for it, because you don't want her to develop or reinforce a bad habit of waking up and crying.
Each night, a night feed time should be reduced by 2 minutes (starting with 10 minutes), until it is eliminated by the fifth night.
Next you need a bedtime routine to wind down your kid.
The goal of the bedtime routine is to gradually wind down your child as he gets ready to sleep by himself. It conditions him to get ready for sleep. He needs to understand what is about to happen. You can spent as much time as you need with the child during the routine, but when it finally comes to bedtime, he has to master the skill of soothing himself to sleep, without your help.
It is important that you keep a calm and loving demeanour when the baby attempts to negotiate or protest by crying or throwing a tantrum. Any angry or positive reaction from you will only prolong the crying from a few nights into weeks, or months.
The bedtime routine should take care of all her needs: sip of water, potty, putting on pyjamas, bathing, reading a story, etc
All activities of the routine should take place in the room where she sleeps in.
At the end of the day, you have got to let her sleep on her own. This is when the test gets most severe. You could respond to any crying with "I love you. Go to sleep. Daddy/mommy is nearby for you if you need me." Then exit the room! No negotiation. No hug. No kiss.
You can check on her every 15 minutes, and stay no longer than 30 seconds each time. There should be no talking or touching when you check on her, or it would send mixed signals to the child and rekindle the crying!
If you find the baby awake, say "you are doing well. I love you. Now go to sleep!" then exit the room. If she walks out of the room, you simply walk her back to the bed, or install safe gate at the door. Tell her the safe gate is for her safety and it will be there for as long as she walks out of the room at sleep time.
The goal is for the baby to sleep through the night for about 10.5 hours to 12 hours.
It is harder to get a baby to nap than to sleep at night! Don't worry if the resistance seems more intense. You can tame the beast.
The bedtime routine still applies. Avoid overstimulation or overtired before nap time. If the baby is too excited about all the activities and growing she is doing, you could increase routine time to help her wind down. Just make sure you don't personally help her sleep. She has to learn to be a self-sleeper.
Depends on the age of the baby, she needs from 1.5 to 3 hours of nap time. See the graph.
Even though it is challenging. It is crucial that the baby get enough nap time, otherwise he will get overtired. His body would release cortisol which disrupts night sleep.
Colic babies cry more than 3 hours a day (in high pitch) for at least 3 days a week, although they could be well fed and deemed healthy by doctors. This disorder is usually outgrown when the baby reaches 4 months old.
Nevertheless, doing nothing for colicky baby isn't the way. There are solutions that are proven effective for colic.
First, try to eliminate grains, fruit juice, or soy product from your or your baby's diets. Grains can inflame the gut, causing discomfort in a child. Juice is too sugary and you don't want the blood sugar level of your baby fluctuates.
Second, take probiotic. Colic babies cry 60% less when they consume a little fermented foods (in juice form) or probiotic.
Third, adds gelatin to the baby formula or milk. Gelatin aids digestion and nutrient absorption. It makes milk easier to absorb.
Fourth, try chiropractors. Studies show colic kids cry 67% less with simple chiropractic adjustment.
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