Remember what eight hours of sleep feels like? If you are the parent of a newborn suffering from newborn sleep deprivation, you probably don’t. But just because the wee one seems to thrive on keeping you awake, don’t despair. While the National Sleep Foundation shows that almost 70% of all children under 10 years have some type of sleeping problem, those other thirty percent must know something we don’t. So while your newborn baby might sleep 12-17 hours a day, getting them to do it in more than just short bursts is the real challenge. Here are a few tricks of the trade that young parents might find well worth knowing.
Timing is Everything
While mothers, particularly those that breast-feed, might tend to wait until baby is asleep before putting them down to bed, research has shown they will sleep longer if you put them down before they completely fall asleep. Babies that are put into their beds while sleepy but not yet asleep learn to feel comfortable falling back asleep on their own when they awaken. They are more confident of their surroundings and are therefore more likely to simply fall back asleep if they awake. Professional sleep consultant Kim West tells parents to learn to identify sleepiness in your infant on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being completely asleep. Then use clues such as the slowing of arms and legs and sucking motions to tell you when they are at around a 7 or 8. That is the ideal time to put the newborn to bed.
Who doesn’t want to check in on your sleepy baby and thrill with that small one’s eye contact? But sleep experts have shown that this little bit of stimulant is enough to keep a newborn awake. So what should the parents of a newborn do? When checking up on your little one, avoid eye contact or even low chit-chat when entering the room. You may feel like serenading them with your favourite rock and roll lullaby, but quietly tip-toeing out of the room might be the smarter choice.
Winning Over Newborn Sleep Deprivation
There are several other ways to help your little bundle of joy find a good night’s sleep, so you can too. One way is to wean yourself from jumping up every time that baby monitor squeals. A baby soon learns that you will show up at the smallest cry. Instead – let them find their way back to sleep on their own. Best of all, you can do so too. Keep their room dark and consider adding dimmers to rooms they are in often to add to that sleepy factor. Finally, you may want to consider relaxing the diaper changing rules. The movement required to change a diaper can push a baby from half-asleep to fully awake. Try using night-time extra absorbent diapers to extend that sleeping time. For newborn sleep deprived parents, these handful of tips may just do the trick to getting a few more hours of sleep.