This post is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.
If you’re a parent, then you know that newborns regularly wake at night. Most babies will need you during the night for feeding, and help with settling during the first six months.
Night waking means mom and dad are not getting enough sleep! Less sleep makes it harder for parents to keep up with the daily demands of caring for baby, and day-to-day responsibilities. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you may be feeling exhausted and stressed. Lack of sleep can cause mom to feel irritable, and unable to function throughout the day.
That’s why it’s important to start a sleep routine at six months – ideally somewhere between three to six months. I attended the International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, and met Dr. Jodi Mindell, author of Sleeping Through the Night. Hosted by Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Mindell offered practical tips that can help set the stage for sleep success for babies – and in turn, better sleep for moms too!
Sleep problems are some of the most common problems parents face with their kids. You may wonder about how to get your child to sleep through the night. There are some tips to help baby enter into dreamland:
Set a sleep schedule
Sleep habits help parents as well as baby. When baby goes to bed before 9:00 p.m., babies tend to sleep better, according to research done by Dr. Mindell and others.
In fact, according to the study entitled Sleep and Social-Emotional Development in Infants and Toddlers published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, later bedtimes and less total sleep also causes children to feel separation distress, general anxiety, and depression/withdrawal!
Another of Dr. Mindell’s studies included 33,717 parents of children (aged from birth to 3 years) across the globe. In many regions, especially in Asia, the Middle East, and Brazil, young children have very late bedtimes with significantly less nighttime and total sleep. I know that kids in Europe tend to go to bed much later than in North America! It’s quite normal to see kids out having a late-night dinner with their parents in parts of Europe, but it could mean that sleep problems are higher too.
If parents use a consistent bedtime before 9:00 p.m. – ideally between 7:30 and 8pm – babies will sleep better and longer, the results of the study revealed. Do consider how many hours baby has been awake during the day, how many naps baby had, and the wake-up time of the last nap.
Have a bedtime routine
Having a consistent routine improves night waking in babies too, according to Dr. Mindell’s research. Families who never have a bedtime routine have a bed time problem. Also, later bedtimes, longer sleep, how long it takes to fall asleep, and less total sleep were associated with more social-emotional problems.
Johnson & Johnson encourages bath time to help babies fall and stay asleep. First, give baby his last feeding followed by a bath, a massage and/or a bedtime story. Infant massage can make babies more relaxed and lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Dads can be a part of bedtime routine by massaging baby, giving baby a bath, or reading a story.
Once baby has had her bath, massage and story, put her down in her crib drowsy but not asleep. The goal is to have baby self-soothe at bedtime!
Moms need sleep
Moms need sleep too! In fact, 55% of moms report poor sleep with 26% getting less than six hours of sleep per night. We need at least four hours of sleep to function during the day, with an ideal time of eight hours per night. Here are some tips to help mom as well:
- Sleep when baby sleeps
- Go to bed early
- Have your own bedtime routine
- Getting outdoors in the morning – it’s good for baby and mom
- When baby wakes at night, have dad change baby and bring baby to you to breastfeed
- Limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine
Hopefully the information I’ve shared will help your baby sleep better, and help give you more sleep too!
What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced with your baby? What are some things that helped you gain more sleep?
The International Confederation of Midwives alongside Johnson & Johnson participated in a Guinness World Records attempt and set the record for the largest Infant Massage Class!