How to Help a Baby Sleep

The new baby

A newborn baby has not yet established a sleeping pattern. He will sleep when he needs to sleep for as long as his body tells him to do so. Most babies sleep for between 16 and 20 hours a day in the first few weeks of life, but some may sleep for less time from the very beginning. He will sleep progressively less as he grows: by the end of a year he will probably sleep through the night with a nap in the morning and afternoon. During the second and third years he will take a brief nap; and by the age of five he sleeps on average about 12 hours a day, to learn more details, check with this kid sleep coach.

The newborn baby tends to wake when he is hungry or uncomfortable. He does not distinguish night from day and wakes at random through the 24 hours. It takes several weeks before the baby starts to be awake during the day more than at night. He will adjust sooner if he is encouraged to distinguish between night and day from early on. Night-time feeds should be quiet and brief. He should be put down to sleep in different places: at night for instance, he may sleep in his cot, while during the day he may be in his pram in a room with a window open and with older brothers and sisters playing round him. Their noise will not keep him awake if he needs to sleep.

In fine weather the baby can sleep outside, in a sheltered spot where the sun will not shine directly on to the pram Protect the pram with a cat net and make sure the brake is on.

The sick child

When a child is feeling really ill he will lie still in bed. He will doze or sleep as much as his body dictates until he starts to feel better. All you need to do as part of newborn care is to keep him comfort­able in pleasant surroundings and give him love and attention when he is awake.

At the next stage of illness, in early convalescence, you may need to take more active steps to make sure that the ill child is getting enough rest and sleep. The child is feeling better and will therefore be more active and restless. He will be easily bored and inclined to be mischievous. He will move about as much as he can and easily become overtired, while at the same time finding it harder to rest.

It is important that at this stage you Provide lots of entertainment to keep the wild’s mind occupied and his body rested: Jigsaws, stories and as much attention as Possible. If the child is busy but physically re axed, he will sleep better at night. Even a relaxed child, however, may be kept awake by fear and anxieties, which may or may not be related to his illness.

Night fears are common in childhood anyway but they may be accentuated by illness. The sick child probably needs more comforting than usual and may have many apparently irrational fears – of the bogey man coming to take him away or of some other fantasy person in the room. Do not dismiss his fears too easily. Instead you’re your head down to his level and look at the room from his angle: you may get a surprise. Nightlights can cast dramatic shadows which look extremely threatening: moving the light will usually remove both the shadow and the fear. However, like the adult, the child may have fears associated with his illness. Reassurance and understanding together with a cuddle are prob¬≠ably the most soothing ways of banishing the fears and helping him to sleep.

Filed Under: Family & Relationships


About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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