Baby Sleep by Estelle Calleja (Midwife)

11/11/2009 06:37

One of the biggest worries in mums and dads is baby sleep. With today's busy life we are sleeping less and with a baby around sleep can be disturbed. Many parents are worried why the baby is not getting enough sleep. As the baby starts to grow the sleeping patterns vary. As a newborn the baby sleeps nearly all day but wakes up very often thus not giving the mother enough time to rest. As the baby grows older the tendency is that he sleeps less but for longer periods. Each baby has an individual pattern. Countless parents like your self often find themselves exhausted, frustrated, and wondering if their baby will ever sleep through the night. If you are feeling this way, you are not alone. Like other parents, you've read all the baby sleep books, but nothing seems to be working. The truth is more than 70 percent of infants and toddlers have a Baby Sleeping pattern problem, according to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation. Parents often wonder why isn't the baby sleeping?! I will be tackling some issues and possible remedies to overcome sleep problems.

Sick Baby - A sick baby will be upset and will not sleep. Try comforting the baby. Check his temperature regularly and if he is running a fever take action.

Colic - A baby who is colicky is in pain and will not sleep. He will cry when there is the gas spam and the cry is usually short lived but intense. Breast feeding mothers should avoid certain foods like milk and milk products, green leafy vegetables, spices, citrus and fizzy drinks. Mothers who are bottle feeding should make sure that the milk is mixed correctly. Never shake the bottle when mixing the formula as this will increase the air particles resulting in colic. It is also important to make sure that while feeding the baby the teat is full of milk and the last bit of the milk is not given to avoid air going through. Burping the baby will also help to reduce colic. If the problems persist then the baby would need to have the milk changed but this is to be done only after consulting the midwife/doctor.

Hunger - If the baby is hungry he will cry. Some might say to leave the baby hungry until the next feed is due but if the baby is showing signs of hunger feed him. Usually babies calm down as soon as they latch on the breast or take the bottle.

Too hot or too cold - Make sure that the room temperature is correct. Babies should not be overheated. Clothing should be adequate to keep baby warm and in winter always put a cap on the baby's head. The head is the largest body area and babies lose a lot of heat from it and it should be covered. The baby should not be covered in many blankets but the room should be warmed instead. In summer make sure that the room is not too hot.

Teething - This is a challenging period for both parents and baby. It can cause bottom rash, diarrhea, loss of appetite and pain in the jaw. Teething rings and teething gels can help to alleviate symptoms. Watch out for any signs of infections as the baby/child is more susceptible to them at this time. Give cold drinks to help the discomfort.

Uncomfortable clothing - Babies need space to move around. Too tight nappies and clothing can upset the baby and disturb his sleep. Check clothing items and see how they fit. A baby should have ample space to move around.

Noise - Some babies wake up with the slightest noise. However others prefer some sort of sound going on. Only you can get to know the baby. Avoid noisy environments like a noisy TV or radio. Usually soft music helps the baby to sleep. However not every baby reacts the same.

Learning behaviors - As babies grow older they will start to learn new things like crawling, sitting and making noise. Such performances can be practiced at night when such things are not most welcomed. Try not to encourage the baby to do such actions by giving little importance. By time the toddler will adapt and sleep.

Bonding - Research proves that babies sleep better when they are close to their mothers. Try to harmonize your sleep time with your baby. They apparently get used to the mother's heartbeat and breathing rhythms.