Who knew the topic of sleeping could produce so much anxiety? Before becoming a parent, you probably gave little thought to the subject of sleep, but once your baby was born, that certainly changed. From how little sleep you’re getting as a parent to how safe your baby is while sleeping and everything in between, sleeping concerns are dominating your thoughts these days. Here are the top five sleep concerns new parents often have with a few tips on what’s best for babies.
1. My baby only seems to fall asleep while being held.
Bonding with your baby is essential, and you shouldn’t let fear of your baby being “spoiled” interfere. Most babies will not suffer any ill effects from being held too much as an infant. However, some babies do develop an association between being held and falling asleep. If this happens and your baby is unable to fall asleep any other way, then try having another caregiver do the bedtime routine for a while. If mom holds the baby a lot during the day, have dad put the baby to bed.
2. Why is my baby still waking up hungry in the middle of the night after four months?
Eating every few hours is totally normal for a newborn, but they should be able to sleep for longer periods, maybe four to six hours, by about three or four months old. If your baby is still waking repeatedly through the night after this time, then their desire might be bonding and not food. If they do seem hungry, you can try to feed them a little extra right before going to bed. Try not to do too much middle-of-the-night bonding or playing that would encourage them to keep waking up at this time.
3. My baby wakes up far too early in the morning.
Trying to get your baby to wake up at a time that fits into your family’s groove might feel like a never-ending puzzle you can’t seem to crack. Waking up too early can be both a sign of going to bed too early and too late. So what’s a tired parent to do? You’ll have to make minor adjustments to their sleep schedule and see what results you get. Eventually, you’ll find a routine that’s perfect for you and your baby.
4. What are the safest sleep conditions for my baby?
Over the years, the safest sleeping positions for babies have been a hot debate topic and have even changed over time. For quite a while now, doctors and other professionals have encouraged parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs. A firm flat sleeping mattress is also best. Your baby doesn’t yet need soft cushions to be comfortable. Unfortunately, babies seem to love sleeping on their tummies, so we need to help train them to sleep on their backs with repositioning and swaddling.
5. Is napping in a car seat or swing alright?
Sometimes getting your baby to sleep is hard, and many parents have resorted to swings and car rides to help get their little ones off to dreamland. However, once your baby is asleep, it is best to transfer them to their firm mattress as soon as possible. Sleeping sitting up is a hazard to the baby’s airway as their heads could fall forward, making it hard for them to breath.
Safely getting your baby to sleep and helping them sleep for longer stretches of time can be your first difficult tasks as parents. A well-rested baby is a happy baby, though, so the struggle is worth it in the end.