How to help the baby fall asleep?

Understanding newborn sleep better

Frequent night awakenings, fragmented nights, repeated daytime naps: if newborn sleep is so far from that of adultsit’s because their sleep cycles are very different.
On the endurance side: when the adult has cycles of 90 to 120 minutesthose of infants from 0 to 2 months last only one fifty minutesand babies from 2 to 6 months have a cycle of only one hour. Between each cycle, the baby – just like the adult – micro alarm clocks, but babies often need a reassuring presence to go back to sleep, and only after a few weeks or even a few months do they go through several sleep cycles on their own. “Composition wise, it’s the restless sleep that takes up most of the baby’s sleep cycles, and the older he gets, the more the slow sleep phases increase,” the pediatric nurse explains. Deep sleep, on the other hand, does not develop until around the age of 3 to 4 years.

Nadège Petrel, nanny and author: Whether it’s the composition of the cycles or their duration, we realize that everything is programmed in such a way that the little ones wake up many times during the day and at night: c is normal and disappears with the time !

For example : after 6 months, 62% of babies sleep through the night – namely chain 6 to 8 hours of sleep without waking their parents. At 12 months this is the case for 72% theirs. So be patient, repeated nighttime awakenings are certainly hard to live with, but they don’t last long!

Why do some babies have a harder time falling asleep?

While some children have almost no trouble falling asleep once you put them to bed, others struggle every night until they are exhausted. If babies are not all equal when it comes to sleep, several factors can affect the quality of their sleep and their ability to fall asleep more or less well.

Certain pathologies or medical reasons can disrupt the baby’s sleep. “This is particularly the case of gastroesophageal reflux very common in infants, but also teething, tongue or lip restrictions or even minor torticollis” Nadège Fulmar lists. If a toddler has real difficulties falling asleep, it is advisable to see a pediatrician to get a ​rule out a medical cause.

– The baby temperament : some babies are more reactive than others, more sensitive to their environment, to sounds, to light. “They then have a harder time falling asleep and waking up more easily than others who are less sensitive to it.” explains the nurse,

Area the baby, of course, who inevitably comes into play in his sleep, as a calm and serene environment is necessarily more conducive to falling asleep than a restless and noisy environment.

Good sleeping conditions

Once the medical causes have been ruled out, and knowing that it is impossible to change a baby’s temperament, the only factor we can play on is the baby’s environment, through the best possible sleeping conditionse.
The Brightness is an important factor to consider to help the baby fall into Morpheus’ arms. “The Sleep Hormone, Known As” melatoninonly when it is dark and it is inhibited in the presence of light,” explains the author. It is therefore essential to lower the ambient light at least an hour before the baby goes to sleep.
We therefore avoid television in the same room as the baby; “Even if he’s not looking at it and not facing him, the TV – like all screens – are strong light sources, flashing and exciting to the baby,” said Nadège Petrel. Haro also on white, blue and LED lamps that excite, we prefer warm, orange, indirect and muted lamps. The idea is to mimic the color of a setting sun.
And what about the night light?

Nadège Fulmar: The night light is not necessary for newborns who are not yet afraid of the dark. I don’t recommend offering it too soon.

In summer, when the sun shines late into the night, it is advisable to close the shutters or failing that, to say blackout curtains for the windows of the nursery.
The choice of bedding is also essential: we recommend a firm, flat mattress for the night, which will keep the baby’s spine straight.
finally, the temperature of the room plays an important role for a good night’s sleep: “we recommend a temperature close to 19 degrees at night, whatever the season, and a pre-ventilated area to help you fall asleep,” adds the specialist.

The importance of the bedtime ritual to put your baby to sleep

In order for the baby to gradually build up his normal sleep rhythm, it is essential to give him landmarks so that he can distinguish between the times of the day. set up one bedtime ritual, repeating the same gestures every night is the best way to gently prepare him for sleep.

Nadège Petrel: The routines reassure the baby and allow him to lower his secretion of cortisol, the stress hormone, which is exciting.

There is no ideal ritual, method or technique for putting babies to sleep: it is up to every parent to find the one that suits them, makes them happy and is effective. The idea is also to share a privileged moment of tenderness with your little one. “The routine that work well are: the bath, the nursery rhyme, the story, the feeding, rocking in the arms, the massage, the caresses, even the soft music of relaxation,” the author sums up. Some parents also use white noise, which would remind the baby of the comforting sounds perceived in the womb.The only rule: the bedtime ritual can’t last forever it needs framing for the baby. “We therefore do not go further than the maximum 20 minutes ritual every night,” she recommends.

Baby does not sleep during the day: naps not to be neglected

Reduce daytime naps so baby sleeps better at night? If it can be tempting to try, it’s a bad idea after all! “Daytime naps are very important for the quality of sleep,” emphasizes Nadège Petrel. Reducing a baby’s naps can disrupt his rhythm, making him too tired and paradoxically affecting his falling asleep before bedtime. For the age of two it is therefore: strongly discouraged to wake a sleeping baby during the daye – unless he has health problems with a insufficient weight gain† “It is only from the age of 2 that we can in some cases wake up a child who takes a nap for too long so that it does not affect his nighttime sleep,” adds the childcare provider.
Unlike the night, naps are taken with the curtains open or half openso that the child is not plunged into darkness. Daylight is indeed an important synchroniser of our circadian rhythms and is therefore essential for babies to gradually adopt our sleep-wake rhythm, linked to that of the sun.

Baby Cries to Fall Asleep: Should We Let Him Cry?

“Let him cry, it makes his lungs!” All new parents heard themselves say through a person who was always well-meaning but not necessarily good advice. “Crying is the only way for babies to express themselves, it is essential to welcome what they have to say to us,” emphasizes Nadège Petrel. That’s why we always guide you baby crying, and we avoid leaving him crying alone in his room as much as possible. Every cry has a meaning, and crying at night can reveal fatigue, anxiety, stress, tension or even colic. Whatever happens, the baby needs a reassuring presence, sweet words, cradles and hugs. And for parents who are afraid that their child will pick up bad habits: this is not the case!

A toddler doesn’t cry on a whim, and taking the time to reassure him is essential to help him calm down and feel confident.

The only exception: the parent’s extreme fatigue, which may cause him to fear losing control. “Obviously, if you feel at the end of your rope, it’s better to let your baby cry in his room than to risk shaking him,” emphasizes the nanny, casually reminding exhausted parents should not hesitate. to ask for help. assistance to early childhood professionals such as PMI or CMP.

The first question that needs to be asked is: why do I want my child to fall asleep independently? “If it’s because of social pressure from people around you, that’s not a good reason!” the nurse insists. The only good reason is a real need of the parents and the child.

“It’s very cultural: in France we have this image of the toddler falling asleep independently from the first months,” explains Nadège Petrel, but in practice it is not there is no need to teach a baby to fall asleep on their own too early.

If the parents really need the child to fall asleep alone, it is necessary to proceed step by step, take the time and above all wait for a favorable period. “We avoid putting it in place when he enters the nursery, when he is sick or when the little brother arrives: one big change at a time,” the author recalls.

It’s important to know detect signs of baby fatigue : If he rubs his eyes, has a fuzzy look, an eyelid that often droops and yawns, it means he is ready to fall asleep quickly. We can then talk to him softly and explain to him that we are going to bed with him because he is tired. The presence of a transitional object – the famous hug – is essential to create continuity with the parent and reassure him when he is alone in his room. A few minutes before he actually sleeps, there is the phase of falling asleep when the baby can continue to wobble in his bed: it is then advisable not to take him with you at the risk of waking him up!

It is also necessary accept minor setbacks : Babies also have days with and days without, and some nights they can be more sensitive or anxious. Just because we pick them up once to put them to sleep doesn’t mean they will resume the habit of doing it systematically.

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