Baby Sleep habits are not the easiest or most pleasant things to handle when it comes to your baby. When it comes to a healthy quality sleep for the child, your child’s bed should not be turned into a playing ground. Let the bed be a place to sleep. Very many dolls or toys on the bed can be a bit distracting. It is advised to keep not more than two favorite toys or dolls, a special book for the kid or a security blanket which act as transitional objects. The crib of a child below 6 months should be toys free. Many toys on the crib of a toddler can cause serious problems.
Soothing your infant to sleep using a formula, a bottle of juice or milk does not help. The only recommended fluid is water. Water, unlike the other fluids, does not bring about the baby bottle tooth decay. The best option is to nurse or feed your baby and then let them sleep. Solids foods are also not commended for kids below the age of 6 months. Solid do not aid in child sleep at all. As matter of fact, solid foods at such a tender age cause stomach problems to the child since their digestive system is not ready for digestion of solid foods, (Mohrbacher, N. 2010).
There is a common myth that says that a child on a full tummy or a heavier child is able to sleep through the night better. Such a belief is misleading. Pediatricians from The American Academy say that formula or breast milk is all the baby requires before reaching the age of six months.Don’t feed your child with drinks or foods that contain caffeine. Examples of such foods and drinks are chocolate, cola, hot chocolate, tea among others. Caffeine will disrupt the child naptime or sleep time routine
Televisions can be very entertaining. But too much of something is poison. Your kid needs not more than two hours or television watching, during the day. There should be zero hours of television for the child during bedtime. The reason behind this is due to the fact that, TV viewing causes poor sleep to the child. If it happens that the TV screen is in the child bedroom you might consider removing it. 75 % of the games are meant for adults (Sheldon et al., 2014) Parents should not, therefore, assume that any game is appropriate for their kids. You can look at the game reviews on the internet before allowing your child to play them. Research also indicates that other media like the internet, computers and video games cause sleep issues for children.
A Hungry Child Does Not Sleep Enough
Although young babes need to feed frequently, studies have shown that feeding your baby shortly before bedtime can encourage longer uninterrupted night sleep. You are also advised to restrain from feeding the baby immediately after they wake up especially during the night. A good example to achieve this strategy is practicing changing the baby diapers before feeding him. Exposing the child to the strong cues of a normal 24 hours day is also another activity to supplement this strategy. Parents should, however, note that such tactics may not be good for babies less than 2 months old. Your pediatrician may not approve.
Another precaution to take when you adopt the strategy of feeding the baby shortly before sleep is the Feeding Association problem. If your baby developed the habit of associating sleeping with feeding or breastfeeding, he gets what doctors call, feeding association. Feeding association is a very common issue among young babies. The best way to solve this is to distance the feeding gradually from the start of a sleep time.
Co-Sleeping Versus Crib Sleeping
A study conducted in the US by the National Institute and Human Development found out that, 50 % of the American parents share the same bed with their kids for the larger portion of the night. Doctors are however against co-sleeping, Colson (2013). Their worry emanates from the various cases of children getting suffocated in their parent’s beds.
Most parents who co-share their beds with kids are of the view that they don’t have to get up now and then when they are in the same bed with the child, Joyner et al., (2010). Some people live the cultural fear of the psychological myths about sharing or not sharing the same bed with a child. Whatever the case, it is very important that parents make the baby crib or the family bed as safe as possible.
Medical Solution for Baby Sleep Issues
If your child does not get the required help from the behavioral methods we have explained above, there is always the option of using medicines. Most researchers have suggested that behavioral treatments are better and their effects are more long-lasting.
Parents considering using medication to solve their children sleep behaviors should, therefore, consult the opinion of the doctor. Melatonin is the common medicine used to solve sleep issues, mostly for children with special needs. Kids with special needs may not get the help they require from the behavioral methods. When used under clear guidelines of the child doctor, the medication turns out to be very effective and safe for the kids. In some countries like the United States, Melatonin is available over the counter.
A Baby Sleep Diary
It is very important to take record of your child sleeping behaviors. The best way to do this is by having a sleep diary for your child. The diary can be very instrumental particularly when you pay a visit to your pediatrician. The diary will help put the issues on baby sleeping into a more accurate perspective. In the diary, you should fill out: the exact time the baby wakes up in the morning; the duration of daytime naps; the times the baby sleep in the evening and night hours; the problems the baby may have when settling; and the activities or tactics you performed to mitigate night waking.
The Bottom Line
Deciding on the best strategy to apply in solving your baby sleep habits can be challenging but studies have shown that techniques such as the behavioral approach is one of the top options for many children. Sleep time is time for the brain of the child to develop. Some children may need more or less sleeps than others but the bottom line is that every parent should advocate for their children to sleep adequately. Whatever you choose to solve your infant sleep issues, have confidence that it is the best choice for everyone in the family. It is also recommended not to use medicine to mitigate baby sleep without the doctors’ prescription.