If you are able to get your baby right to bed at night and have them sleep for a few hours at a time, it can feel like a wonderful victory. But, if your baby fusses about going to bed and then reawakens every few hours, it can be very frustrating (unless it’s a new baby and then it’s to be expected). If your baby isn’t cooperating with bedtime on a nightly basis, you might want to think about what you’re doing during the day with your baby that could be affecting how they are sleeping at night.
Babies need routine and if you don’t follow one at all, it could be messing up their internal clock. We have to be the ones to help our children understand when it’s time to play and when it’s time to sleep. When they are very young, we do this by setting up a routine that we stick to whenever possible. A bath first thing in the morning followed by a feeding and playtime is a great example of a morning routine, while a bedtime story, a feeding and a lullaby is a perfect nighttime routine. After you have followed the same pattern for awhile, your baby will begin to remember what comes next.
If you haven’t started a routine, begin one now. Be sure to set one for the morning, afternoon and nighttime and you might notice a difference in your baby. The fussiness about going to sleep might disappear once they are able to recognize on their own that it is time to sleep. It’s when bedtime comes to them as a surprise that they get fussy.
Another thing you might want to take a look at is how many naps your baby is taking during the day. Are you playing with your baby enough, stimulating them and helping them to discover new things every day? If not, they might be cranky about going to bed each night simply because they are not tired enough. If this is the case, you need to change your habits immediately to help your baby sleep better tonight.
Depending on the age of your baby, naps shouldn’t be very long. Newborn babies can take naps that are a few hours long at one time, while babies that are a few months old should only be napping for a half an hour. If you are letting your baby sleep as long as he or she wants during the day, you’re setting yourself up for problems that night. If you think about it, you’ll realize that even adults can’t sleep well at night if they’ve taken a long nap during the day. So apply the same rule to your little one and it will make a world of difference.
A change of location during the day is a great thing for babies too. Take your little one outside for a walk in the stroller, over to a friend’s house or to the store. This will help to break up their day and allow them to see new things. Babies need constant stimulation and if you give it to them, it will tire them out and help them sleep at night. But best of all, the fussiness they once had about going to bed will become a thing of the past!
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