New parents may find themselves frequently waking in the night for feedings, diaper changes or crying spells. A baby may also have trouble falling asleep, adopt a daytime sleep schedule, or baby may wake during the night for no apparent reason. Concerned parents may wonder if they have signed up for months or years of sleep problems. Parents can do plenty to solve some of baby's sleep problems, no matter the little one's age.
Sleep Until Three Months
The first three months of life can be most trying for parents, when a baby's sleep schedule may be out of sync with mom and dad's schedules. Though these babies sleep an average of 16 hours a day, the timing of those hours can be unpredictable, notes Boston Children's Hospital. Fortunately, most children will begin to settle into more predictable sleep patterns after a few months. By time baby is five months old, she should sleep through the night with maybe one waking. If your daughter frequently wakes in the night when she is five months old, ask your pediatrician for help.
Reversing Daytime Sleep
Sleeping during the day and staying awake at night is a common problem for parents of newborns, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. While most babies settle into a predictable schedule after a few months, others may struggle to adapt to a different sleep schedule. Parents can intervene and take steps to solve this problem. Don't be afraid to talk, play music, and enjoy other activities during the day, or to otherwise keep your baby active. Meanwhile, keeping your nighttime activities calm and relaxing may help your baby prefer bedtime at night.
A warm bath before bed can trigger your baby's desire to sleep, says KidsHealth, a child development site. However, nighttime feedings or diaper changes may wake your little one and encourage him to stay that way. Parents can set the stage for better sleep at night by not talking, singing or turning on lights or music during feedings. These activities may encourage your baby to stay awake, says Boston Children's Hospital. Keep these intrusions into sleep as brief as possible to encourage your baby to fall asleep.
Though it may seem like sleep problems may continue, most sleep problems will improve as babies grow. However, continued sleep problems past the first few months of life could be a sign of an infection or illness, warns Boston Children's Hospital. A doctor can evaluate your infant and prescribe treatments to help her get more restful sleep.