Over the years of putting our children to sleep and keeping them asleep has been a challenge. Every new set of parents have their own methods on how it worked best for them but, it might not always be the case for you. Night Waking is exhausting for every mom and dad out there. Not only do babies take longer to go to sleep and have more frequent periods for night waking, they also have twice as much active or lighter sleep as adults. It may be easier for you to understand your baby’s nighttime needs if you try out different nighttime parenting styles.
Two of the most common methods to try to put a infant to sleep ones are, the Self Soother or Parent-soothing method. They both have their pros and cons.
In the Self soothers method, baby is put down awake and goes to sleep by himself. Parents offer intermittent comforting, but are not there when baby drifts off to sleep.
Pros: If baby learns to go to sleep by himself, he may be better able to put himself back to sleep without parental help. In this method, the baby doesn’t associate going to sleep with parents comforting. It may be tough on the baby, but eventually less exhausting for parents.
Cons: Involves a few nights of letting the baby “Cry-it-out” and risks baby losing trust. This method doesn’t always work for high-need babies with persistent personalities. In working out your own Nighttime parenting techniques and rituals, be sensitive to the nighttime needs of your Infant and remember your ultimate goal: to create a healthy sleep attitude in your baby and to get a restful night’s sleep.
The Parent-soothing Method is when baby is ready to sleep, a parent helps baby make a comfortable transition from being awake to falling asleep, usually by nursing, rocking, singing, or any comforting techniques.
Pros: Baby learns a healthy sleep attitude that sleep is a pleasant state to enter and a secure state to remain in. It also creates fond memories about being parented to sleep. This method builds parent-infant trust.
Cons: Because of the concept of sleep associations, baby learns to rely on an outside person to get to sleep. Theory states that when baby awakens, he/she will expect help to get back to sleep. This may exhaust the parents.
You can also try other night time techniques like:
Daytime mellowing: A peaceful daytime is likely to lead to a restful night. Set predictable and consistent nap routines. Keep consistent bedtimes and rituals such as driving, Calming down by giving them a warm bath or soothing massage.
Nestling down: when you lie down with your sleeping baby next to you and nestle close to him/her until he/she is sound asleep.
Wearing down: Some babies are so revved up during the day that they have trouble winding down at night. Place your baby in a baby sling and wear her around the house for a half-hour or so before the designated bedtime.
Overall, you are the parent and you will know what will work best for your child and what he/she will respond to best. If you’ve tried all these techniques and your infant is still waking up frequently, there may be an underlying medical problem contributing to your baby’s night waking and you should contact a medical professional. One of the most common hidden medical causes of night waking is a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER). This condition is due to a weakness of a circular band of muscle where the esophagus joins the stomach. Stomach acids are regurgitated into baby’s esophagus, causing pain like adults would call heartburn. Clues that your baby may be suffering from GER are: painful bursts of night waking fussiness, particularly after eating; frequent spitting up (although not all babies with GER spit up regularly) frequent bouts of colic, abdominal pain frequent bouts of unexplained wheezing and hearing throaty sounds after feeding.
Another hidden medical cause of night waking is allergies to formula or dairy products, either in milk-based formulas or in dairy products in a breastfeeding mother’s diet. Clues that milk allergies may be causing night waking are bloating, diarrhea and a red rash around baby’s anus, in addition to many of the signs described above under GER. If your baby is not only waking up frequently, but waking up “in pain,” discuss these two medical possibilities with your doctor, since both can be diagnosed and treated, giving everyone a more peaceful night’s sleep. The above tools not only help your short-term goal of getting your baby to sleep but more importantly, create a healthy sleep attitude that lasts a lifetime. A baby who enjoys this style of nighttime parenting learns that sleep is a pleasant state to enter and a secure state to remain in. Therein lies the key to nighttime parenting.
www.freepik.com/free-photo/sleeping-baby Designed by Freepik