Are you struggling with infant sleep problems? If so, you should know that you’re not alone. It’s important to understand that sleep needs vary depending on age. Even though you will notice that your newborn will sleep most of the time, the sleep is in short segments. As they grow, the sleep segments shorten, but the duration of the rest increases at nighttime.
In addition to this, babies go through different sleep cycles. It’s known that babies will spend less time in REM sleep (deep sleep). Additionally, most babies will not sleep through the whole night until they reach three months of age.
What are the signs that your infant has sleep problems?
Sleep apnoea is more common than scientists previously thought. Many parents believe that the child finds it difficult to fall asleep due to health issues. However, some will find it challenging due to overtiredness, overstimulation, and separation anxiety.
If your child is experiencing night awakenings or restless sleep, you will see the following:
- Suddenly crying more than once at night
- Refusing to fall asleep if the parent isn’t nearby
- Crying when the adult leaves the room
- Clinging to the parent until they fall asleep
Don’t forget that sleep problems can also stem from illness. If your baby has trouble falling asleep during the day and night, it’s best to seek the help of a professional.
Signs that your child is ready to fall asleep
You will notice that the infant is rubbing their eyes and yawning. They are also fussing and refusing to settle.
To remember: Toddlers will continuously test boundaries to figure out on their own what is right and wrong. Refusing to sleep is a way to do that.
How to help your baby at bedtime?
It’s important to understand that babies don’t know how to establish their sleeping and waking patterns. Besides, they won’t be able to put themselves back to sleep when they wake at night. Hence, establishing a routine will help the process.
Some parents choose to rock or cuddle their babies until the infant falls asleep. Nonetheless, this isn’t a recommended practice as the baby will not fall asleep unless you follow the same procedure at all times. Such a pattern is also challenging to get rid of.
On the other hand, cuddling and nurturing the baby during the day will allow them to feel better about separation when it’s bedtime. Furthermore, you can also try the following:
- Avoid activities before bedtime. Their energy levels will be higher, so they will refuse to settle
- Play soft music when the baby is sleepy and falling asleep. You can choose how low or high the volume should be
- When you notice the baby giving you signs that it’s ready to sleep, tuck them into bed
- Avoid taking the infant from the bed if it’s not settling in bed. Instead, soothe and reassure until it falls asleep
- Ensure that the baby is taking age-appropriate naps. Too many naps during the day will prevent them from falling asleep at night
It’s also a good idea to introduce a transitional comforter or a soft toy that the baby can take to bed. However, beware of the risk of suffocation if the child is not old enough.
How to help your toddler at bedtime?
There are many ways the toddler will use to avoid going to bed. Thus, you shouldn’t be disappointed if you’ve set a bedtime routine. Below you will find the solutions to the reasons why they do not want to fall asleep.
Solution: You should stick to a schedule as much as possible because it will ease the child’s transition from being active to falling asleep. Additionally, you should also remind the toddler about the schedule. For instance, you can say, “After bath time, it’s time to brush your teeth, and then you will go night-night.” Such action will allow the child to know what’s coming next.
Reason: Cries out when the parent leaves the room
Solution: You should try to set timed visits to the toddler’s room rather than respond every time you hear a cry. You have the freedom to decide how frequent the visits are and how long you remain in the room. Before you leave, ensure that the child has a clean diaper and isn’t in pain.
Reason: Continuously gets out of bed
Solution: One of the main reasons the child doesn’t want to settle is due to separation anxiety. If your toddler doesn’t want to remain in its bed, you should have up to 30 minutes of quiet time. The child should stay in its bed while you read, snuggle, or listen to soft music.
Reason: The toddler is taking too long to fall asleep
Solution: Ideally, you shouldn’t do anything that will affect the bedtime routine. The child shouldn’t have late afternoon naps or stay up more than necessary. So, you should schedule the nap time according to their age and specific needs.
Ways MTO nursery helps to improve the child’s sleeping schedule
At our nursery, we respect the wishes of our parents. So, if you prefer that your toddler doesn’t sleep, we will work with parents. However, we will not refuse the child if it wants to rest. Every day, we bring out spare beds for the children that don’t usually sleep.
Furthermore, in our baby room, we have the coracle beds that fit our vision of creating independence. Our practitioners will soothe the babies to sleep and allow them to rest by playing soft music and turning off the lights. Also, we enable the children to have comforters.
You are not going through this alone. Numerous babies and young children have trouble when it comes to falling asleep at night. Your bedtime routine must be calming and predictable. So, everything should happen at the same time, every night.
Even though it’s tempting to provide them with a tablet or a phone to look at when they’re not settling, you should avoid doing this at least 60 minutes before bed. The light they see from the device will trick their minds into thinking that it’s not bedtime.