In my last post I wrote about setting up good sleep habits. But while setting up good habits gives you a general framework of good sleep, there are always still problems to be had. Here are the basics of a few:
Days and Nights Mixed Up: A lot of babies start out their life like this. When you are newly postpartum and exhausted it can be hard to handle. Keeping the baby in bright rooms during the day and dark rooms at night help baby’s circadian rhythm to get sorted out better. Time itself is the only other cure.
Startling/Fussy Baby: Some babies seem to scare themselves with their own limbs. After being bound up tightly in the nice warm womb, all of the space outside of mommy seems to leave them a little out of sorts. Swaddling a baby like this can do wonders. Make sure you have a couple of nice big swaddling blankets on hand to wrap baby up tight. These Soothing Blankets are 44×44 inches and come with a DVD showing you how to use them. An organic cotton thermal blanket is nice and stretchy and stays put even if baby is wiggly. I felt like I was being mean keeping my baby wrapped up all the time, but it truly helped her to be able to handle both sleeping and learning about her world. I remember one day we had just gotten home from being out, Lily was about 4 months old at the time. She fussed and cried and didn’t need to sleep and didn’t want to nurse. I finally wrapped her up and she was content. Swaddled up she still needed to be carried, but she was happy to survey her surroundings instead of flailing and crying.
Making a Bedtime Routine: Having a short series of things you do to settle your baby helps to cue them in that a transition is going on and helps prepare them to sleep. I try to keep our routine so that it can be done in under 15 minutes, but I can also take my time and let it stretch to an hour or more. Right now we do a bath, some lotion and quiet talking, a new diaper and clothes. We really like the California Baby products because they are phthalate free and the lavender scent is so calming.
The Early Riser: Whatever you do, DON’T try to keep baby up late to get him to sleep in later. It really just creates a more tired, cranky baby. Sleep begets sleep. If baby is getting enough sleep, then you might be able to move the waking time slowly, 10-15 minutes at t a time by moving the bedtimes up. If you think there is any chance that baby is not getting enough sleep, first try working on more nap times. If baby is a little older, make sure the room is nice and dark still in the morning and put some toys in if there is no other way to get a few moments of your own sleep.
No Longer Through The Night: People always tell you when their child first started sleeping through the night but they notoriously never tell you when they STOP sleeping through the night. When your baby is in a stage of sleeping through the night, enjoy it. It will be interrupted by another pattern before you know it.
More troubleshooting next time!