What to do if a newborn doesn’t sleep well?
Sound sleep is one of the key indicators of the health of a newborn baby. A newborn should sleep 16 — 17 hours a day.
Parents of newborns face a number of sleeping problems. We will help you with the following:
- a newborn sleeps too little — less than 16 hours a day;
- a newborn baby often wakes up;
- a newborn baby sleeps during the day and is up at night;
- a newborn has trouble falling asleep.
A newborn sleeps too little.
How much should a newborn sleep? 16 hours on average. If your baby sleeps a little less, but he eats well and feels good, there is nothing to worry about.
5 main reasons why an infant sleeps too little.
- thirst or hunger
Children often wake up because of hunger and thirst. If you breastfeed, you can’t control if your baby eats enough. Even if you have much milk, it can have low calorie content. That’s why try to add a little formula after breastfeeding. Do it only if your baby gains little weight and you can’t find any other reason for your baby’s sleeping too little. The minimum increase in weight during the first month of life is 500 g. Still most babies gain more than 1 kg, that’s why even if you see, that your baby’s weight increases, this all the same can mean that he is constantly hungry.
If your baby eats formula, also give him some water to drink. The air in the room where the baby sleeps must be humid.
- baby gas or bloating
During the first month of life, the process of defecation in newborn babies is reflex. Then a baby should learn how to empty the bowels. It does not always work for the first time. Therefore, from 1 to 3 months, babies often have constipation and bloating tummy. Infants, suffering from baby gas may cry for a few hours. They can’t sleep well because of this discomfort.
- diaper rash
A newborn sleeps badly if he has diaper rash or other rashes on the skin. Under the diaper the baby’s skin is deprived of natural ventilation, it is sweating. Baby stool is a highly acid environment. Even half an hour in a dirty diaper may lead to diaper rash. Inflamed skin is extremely sensitive and it hurts.
A newborn can’t sleep if he has a stuffy nose or a sore eye. By the way, otitis is the most common disease in infants up to 6 months. Newborns have wide auditory tubes. While regurgitation, food gets into the tube and cause acute inflammation.
Parents should carefully monitor the newborn’s health. If sleeping problems are accompanied with restless behavior and lack of appetite, it’s time to visit the pediatrician. Many diseases in newborn develop very rapidly. It is important not to miss the moment and to help the baby.
- parasitic infections
One may think that in a family where the parents care for and love their baby such a disaster is impossible. However, it’s not true. Second-hand crib can be a breeding ground for parasitic infections. Even your pet can cause helminthiasis. All these parasites can disturb the baby’s sleep.
A newborn baby often wakes up.
In order to understand the reason for your newborn’s frequent waking up at night and short day sleep, let’s analyze the process of baby sleep. Sleep consists of a deep sleep phase (non-REM) and a superficial sleep phase (REM). These phases alternately follow each other. The older a baby grows, the longer the phase of deep sleep becomes. That’s why toddlers don’t wake up so often.
In newborn babies the phase of deep sleep lasts approximately 20−40 minutes, then comes the phase of rapid superficial sleep, and at this point any sound, bright light or your movements can awake the baby. It’s easy to notice the phase of superficial sleep. During this phase, your baby’s eyes move quickly and his eyelashes quiver.
If you want your newborn to sleep longer, firstly, you should create a suitable tranquil atmosphere so that nothing disturbs him during superficial sleep phase (REM). Secondly, you are to teach the baby to fall asleep himself, when he wakes up in REM sleep. How to do this?
Necessary conditions for a longer sleep
1. The air in a baby room should be cool and humid. The best temperature for a baby’s bedroom is 18−20°С (64−68°F). Before sleep, ventilate the room. The more oxygen there is in the air, the longer the deep sleep phase is. That’s why newborn babies sleep longer outside. By the way, it’s a good idea to have long walks outside with your baby. Fresh air helps your baby sleep longer and strengthens the immune system. Walking with a pram can help a mother lose weight. Reading or knitting in a park calms the nerves.
2. A newborn baby will sleep longer during the day if you close your window blinds or curtains. Twilight is best for longer sleep. If, at night, your newborn is afraid of the dark (this happens rarely), leave the lights on in the hallway or buy a nightlight.
3. A well-fed baby sleeps longer, so before day or night sleep feed the baby.
A newborn baby sleeps during the day and is up at night.
Statistics show that every fifth baby has such a time confusion. The most important thing for parents is to keep calm. It makes no sense to blame the baby because his actions are unintentional.
What can you do?
1. Do not let the baby sleep more than two hours in a row during the day. Gently wake the newborn, first blow on him, then gently touch the nose and only after he opens the eyes, you can take him.
2. Do not isolate your sleeping baby from everyday sounds during the day sleep. The room should be only slightly shaded.
3. Miss one sleep in the afternoon before the night sleep. At this time, be calm, your baby should be tired, but not excited.
4. Adjust the feeding schedule so that before the night sleep, your baby eat hearty, and before that — feed him less.
5. Think of a specific ritual that will be held every time before going to bed. The sequence can be: bathing, dinner, switching off the light, a lullaby, sleep. If the baby begins to cry when you turn off the light, use a lamp with diffused light, however, you must make it clear to your child that, even if he cries, the light will be off. Do not leave the child alone, calmly tell him that it’s time to sleep. Even if the baby cries, don’t play with him. There should be only one person in the room when the baby is falling asleep. Do not create a «carousel» of home members around the crib, because changing faces do not calm the baby, but on the contrary excite him.
6. While you’re training your child to sleep at night (this process will not take more than three days if you persistently follow the proposed plan), do not to change the bed linen, your clothes and the baby’s toys. New toys or new pictures on the clothes attract the newborn’s attention and therefore it is difficult for him to fall asleep.
A newborn has trouble falling asleep.
Many newborns have trouble falling asleep. Here are some tips for you to solve this sleeping problems.
1. Bathing in warm water with extracts of bur-marigold, chamomile and lavender half an hour before bedtime will help your newborn relax and easily fall asleep.
2. Before going to bed, ventilate the room to humidify the air in it.
3. It’s better to fall asleep together for the newborn can hear the familiar sound of the mother’s heart. Then you can gently put the baby into the crib, or leave him on an adult bed.
4. Breastfeeding soothes the baby. If you don’t breastfeed, after eating formula, give your baby some water to drink and then give him a pacifier, it will also soothe your baby.
5. Newborns fall asleep well to melodic music and to the mother’s lullabies. Lie next to the baby until he falls asleep, sing him a song, your voice will soothe him.
6. Rocking babies lulls them very well, but be careful, newborn babies quickly get used to rocking — then you’ll have to rock them for hours! I rocked my baby to sleep sitting on a feetball. I also know that many moms use rocking chairs.
7. A newborn is afraid of being alone in this big world. Big spaces scare him, because he used to live in a close mom’s tummy. Newborns often prefer to sleep in a bassinet, but not in the crib.
8. Before going to sleep, do not overload the baby’s mind by socializing with new people, listening to loud music, watching TV and playing active games. Calm atmosphere in the house promotes sound sleep.