The unpredictable sleeping patterns of newborns are due to the great change and development their brains are going through. It is not because you are doing a bad job as a parent but a natural and necessary process for the baby.
Their short sleep cycles are (during the day) rapid eye movement sleep (REM) for the very first weeks of life. However, at 6 to 8 weeks of life, these “cycles” become shorter during the day and longer during the night where babies have a more deep sleep.
The mental peace and uninterrupted night sleep for you will start when the baby is 6 to 8 month old, and in some cases even earlier. At that age, most babies can have between 8 to 12 straight hours of sleep during the night.
Although your baby will get to sleep normally eventually during the night, letting you sleep well too, you can help with the process by teaching your baby good sleep habits and learn his/her patterns and behaviors.
It all begins with you. You have to learn a lot about your baby in order to detect if the baby is tired, hungry, sore, etc. When you know what is bothering your baby, you will be able to come up with a better and quicker solution.
People might think that the less a baby sleeps during the day, the more is going to sleep at night in order for parents to sleep well. The truth is that this is totally the opposite.
When babies are overtired (when they don’t sleep every two hours) the chances of falling asleep at night are lower. You have to pay attention to the behavior of your baby and track the time to put him/her to sleep during the day.
During the day and, when your baby is awake, you should interact with him/her as much as possible. It is also important that the house is well illuminated during the day, noises like the telephone, TV, radio, etc. are important too in order for the baby to distinguish the difference between day and night.
On the other hand, at night, when all noises and illumination are down, you shouldn’t have interaction with your baby when he or she wakes up. That way you teach that night is just for sleeping: no play, no interaction, only sleep.
The most important thing is to know the signs your baby gives when he or she is sleepy. Once you know his/her behavior is due to sleepiness, you should put the baby down to take a nap.
Now, when you develop that sixth sense, you can start teaching your baby how to sleep by him/herself. The most recommended way to do that is by putting your baby to bed when he or she is ready to sleep but still awake.
This is going to teach your baby to sleep without your help and it is the best way to do it. If you rock your baby every night to sleep, he/she might get used to it, thus making it a harder task for you to perform in the future.
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