Babies have a biological need for sleep–Our bodies create hormones that help us fall asleep (melatonin) and ones that keep us awake (adrenaline and cortisol). We want to encourage our babies to produce these hormones at the right times…otherwise, we risk them developing “jet-lag syndrome” and become extremely overtired.
Sleep Begets Sleep–When babies are overtired, they have trouble falling asleep and STAYING asleep. Although many people will tell you to “keep your baby up” so that he gets tired, the opposite is in fact true. If your baby is having trouble sleeping, it is because he is overtired.
Make Sleep a Priority–Having your child get the sleep she needs is the same as making sure she’s getting enough nutrition. A child’s developing brain needs sleep to function at its best. You may have to alter your own schedule to fulfill the needs of your baby for a while.
Sleep in motion is not restorative–Having your child sleep in the car or in a stroller is not the same high-quality sleep that he will get in his crib. After 3 months or so, your child should be sleeping in his crib (or co-sleeper/bed) for most of his naps and at night.
A dark and cool room is the best sleep environment–Babies like to sleep in a “cave-like” environment. Don’t YOU sleep better when it’s dark?
Quality beats Quantity and Timing of Sleep beats Length of Sleep–High quality sleep (motionless, without music, dark, and at the right time) is more important than how long the sleep lasts.
Consistency is Key–Decide on your plan as a family and stick to it. When changes have to occur (a family vacation, a holiday meal, a doctor’s appointment) it will be easier to get back on track if your routine is well-established.
Questions about anything you see here? Don’t hesitate to contact us! We’d love to hear from you.