Nature's Cuddle

Creating Healthy Sleeping Habits in Newborns and Young Children

Creating Healthy Sleeping Habits in Newborns and Young Children

Introduction

One of the biggest challenges in being parent is introducing the right sleep time to children. Some babies keep sleeping all through the day and end up keeping the parents awake the whole night. Other babies need to be held in the arms the entire time they sleep. Some toddlers do all that they can to resist sleep time.

How to introduce healthy and regular baby sleeping habits? Is this important? Keep reading to know more.

Why is sleep important for little ones?

Here are two common reasons why babies and young children need the correct dose of sleep every day.

  • Babies and toddlers who lack enough sleep end up getting cranky and tired during the day.
  • Parents plan their work and relaxation time the baby sleeps. As a result, when the little ones don't sleep, the routine of the caretaker suffers.

Now, pediatric researchers have put out more critical reasons why babies need to sleep the right amount.

 

According to experts, along with nutrition and exercise, sleep should also be considered an essential factor needed for the normal growth and development of babies.

  • Kids who get the right dose of sleep at the early stages have lowered risks of obesity and diabetes.
  • Sleep hormone, a hormone that aids growth in babies and children, is secreted only at night when the kid is deep asleep.
  • Toddlers and children who frequently wake up during sleep seem to be at a higher risk for developing heart conditions in the future.
  • The hormone called leptin tells the body once it is full after a meal. Lack of sleep causes abnormality in this hormone, and as a result, kids start eating more than their body needs. This leads to obesity with time.
  • The immune system works better when the body gets enough rest. So well-rested kids don't fall sick as often.
  • Sleep improves cognitive ability in newborns, toddlers, and young children.

How much sleep does your baby need in a day?

How much should a newborn sleep? This is a question constantly asked on all parenting forums, pediatrician offices, and social platforms.

Nature's Cuddle has created a separate blog about newborn sleep patterns and what to expect between 0-24 months. Do check that out when you have the time!

 Here is a sleep chart that will help you.

Age

Total day time nap

Total nighttime sleep

Total hours of sleep in a day

Newborn

8

8 - 9

16

1 month

7

8 - 9

15.5

3 months

4 - 5

9 - 10

15

6 months

4

10

14

9 months

3

11

14

1 year

3

11

14

1.5 years

2.5

11

13.5

2 years

2

11

13

(Info Source: Stanford Children's Health)

 Creating healthy sleeping habits

Creating healthy sleeping habits is not a one-day task. It takes exemplary efforts and patience from all the adults in the family to make this happen. Here are some of the healthy sleeping habits you can introduce one by one at home. These work for newborns and children of all ages.

Give sleep time the right importance as a family    

As young as 6 months of age, babies start observing and imitating the elders in the family. Therefore, it does not make sense to have strict bedtime rules for your children without the parents and other people in the family following them.

If you want your child to sleep at a specific time, start creating a night environment at least half an hour early. Switch off bright lights, wear your sleep clothes, and make sure you participate in the sleep time ritual. Then, you can get back to the living room after the little one sleeps off.

Create a pre-sleep routine

Now, this is very important for newborns to get used to nighttime sleeping. Start by creating the same routine for at least three weeks and your child will start reacting to the practice positively at the end of 21 days. You can begin by bathing the baby, brushing the teeth (if your child is 1+ years), changing the little one into comfortable nightwear, and maybe reading a book or telling a story. Switch off the lights and gently encourage the child to fall asleep.

Keep the baby active through the day

A newborn may need 2-3 naps during the day. As the little one grows up, though, the day nap reduces. If your toddler still sleeps for 3-4 hours in the day, it will push back bedtime at night and is also going to make it difficult for the child to go to bed.

You can ensure a fuss-free bedtime practice by keeping the child active (both physically and mentally) all through the day.

Take the little one out for a couple of hours and if the child can walk and run, give them ample exercise to make them look forward to getting some rest at night.

Create healthy, safe, and comfortable sleeping quarters

This is an essential factor to help create long-lasting, healthy sleep habits for children and adults in the family. The bedroom, preferably, has to be used only to sleep at night. Create the interiors so the room is comfortable to sleep in. A bedroom has to invite the person in by its warmth. You may have a separate nursery for the child or may co-sleep with the little one. Either way, have clean and fresh bedding and use warm lighting.

You can pick up soft and colorful blankets and wraparounds for the baby's room to create an attractive appeal. Natures Cuddle's range of 100% organic cotton swaddles are perfect blankets for summer.

Avoid late daytime naps

A child's last daytime nap needs to be at least 5 hours before night bedtime. Avoid putting the child to sleep after 4.00 PM as this will again push bedtime past what's acceptable.

Avoid screen times before bedtime for toddlers and younger children

If your child is used to screen time, avoid showing them videos close to bedtime. Seeing a lot of bright colors and actions is going to stimulate their mind and make them hyperactive. This will cause them to reject bedtime or take a longer time to fall asleep.

Studies show that a good night's sleep can counter the ill effects of screen time too.

Pick the right clothing

If your little one is constantly tossing and turning in sleep, then one reason could be the choice of clothes. Never use clothes with embellishments, lace, or other rough materials while sleeping. Cotton is the perfect material for nightclothes.

You can pick from our range of rompers, t-shirts, leg suits, and footed pants for nighttime. Our clothes are available in a range of sizes from 0-24 months.

Be ready to comfort and snuggle in the child multiple times on bad days

It is very common for babies and even toddlers to have bad nights. They may wake up multiple times at night because of night terrors, infections like common cold or flu, or hunger. In such cases, the parents must take one day at a time and be around to comfort and snuggle the little one.

Hopefully, such problems will reduce with time, and your child will be ready to sleep the whole night peacefully. But, till then, do stay patient.

Takeaways

Baby sleep training is something that takes time and effort to be done right. There is no 'perfect way' to get this done. You will have to change your techniques based on how the child reacts to them.

One thing is true, though! Having a set schedule prepares the little one to expect and even look forward to sleep time. So be consistent and make bedtime a fun and relaxing process.

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