Sleeping Tips For Infant And Mother
The relationship between parenting and infant sleep is complex and multidimensional. There is a close association between infant sleep and different levels of parenting which include parental behaviors, cognitions and emotions, parent–child relationship and attachment, parental well-being and mental health, and the socio-cultural context or influence of the parents.
It is a well-known fact that parenting plays a major role in shaping infant sleep. There is an equal amount of evidence that infant sleeping problems can influence parental mood and well-being, as well as modify parental behaviors and reactions. Generally, newborns sleep about 8 to 9 hours in the daytime and about 8 hours at night.
But unfortunately, there is no set schedule at first and many newborns remain confused about day and night and sleep more during the day.
Interventions by specialists involves educating parents about sleep promoting principles that lead to better sleep.
In two kinds of parenting, there is one in which infants fall asleep with minimal help from parents and the other category includes infants who fall asleep with too much involvement like being held, fed and rocked. The second ones are more likely to have frequent waking. The reason behind this is if there is too much parental involvement, the baby fails to develop the skill of self-regulation and soothing and develops tendencies of relying more and more on parents to sooth them during the waking at night. So, the thumb rule is, “no excessive physical comforting”. To develop baby’s autonomy over the sleep waking, mothers should make sure they have taken care of all necessary steps before putting the child to bed during the day time like feeding, nutrition, massage before bath etc. In most cases, the baby will awaken and be ready to be fed anywhere between 30 minutes to every 3 hours. How often your baby will feed or eat depends on what he or she is being fed and his or her age.
What to look for when the pattern of sleep changes
Watch for changes in your baby’s sleep pattern.
- If your baby has been sleeping consistently all along but suddenly is waking or crying from sleep, there may be a problem such as an ear infection or colic.
- Some sleep disturbances are simply due to changes in development or because of overstimulation.
- Sometimes, a child crying suddenly could be due to certain hygiene condition also.
- One mother shared an experience of her child crying continuously and she could not see any obvious reason to it then suddenly she noticed a tiny ant near the child’s ear.
Some tips to inculcate good sleeping patterns in your infant
- No need of rushing or getting hustled as soon as your baby starts to show signs of awakening. Babies frequently jerk or sigh during sleep. Just avoid stimulating them during that time and they may go back to sleep. Avoid picking up or rocking the baby as soon as he/she gets up. Let the baby try to settle on its own.
- DHA rich milk helps baby’s brain development and in turn play a role in helping with regulating sleep pattern. So, the breastfeeding mothers should have DHA rich food like legumes, green leafy vegetables, whole grains etc. which will enhance the breastmilk with DHA.
- Once the baby is older than 2 weeks, you can help him recognize the day and night difference by keeping the room well ventilated and well-lit with natural sunlight. Let the baby get used to the daily noises around the house. Talk, sing or chat with the baby while breastfeeding during the day. Whereas during the night, keep the room with dim light and low on noises. Keep the baby near you so that very minimal movement is required to feed the baby in between. Do not talk to the baby during this time.
Now comes the equally important part that is the mother’s own health; without which a family cannot have quality parenting. Mother should be provided with all required support from the family and postnatal care. A mother is very vulnerable to all kinds of physical and mental health issues after the delivery. She should have access to all the information before the delivery itself and the family should be prepared with all postnatal care arrangements for both mother and baby. It’s not only the baby but mother’s sleep that decides family health post-delivery.
Tips for the mothers to cope up with sleep deprivation
This is just a phase but it seems eternity when you are sleep deprived. Some of the following can help you sail through this phase a bit easily are
- Take one or two short 30 minute naps during the day. It helps you regain a bit of your energy.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps or if not feeling sleepy just lie down and take rest when the baby sleeps. Do not be under the impression that only sleeping will help. Just lying down also can do wonders in the coming days.
- If you are a breastfeeding mom, the best way to get maximum sleep benefit is by keeping the baby near you so that you don’t end up hustling a lot in between feedings.