Baby Crying & Sleep
Written by: Marsha Baker
How do parents go about establishing sleep routines with their baby? Parents get a lot of strong and conflicting advice, and yet each infant and family is unique. There is no research that shows one way of handling sleep is better than another as long as babies are sleeping in a safe space. We do know, however, that parenting styles affect sleep: Babies who are carried, held and fed continuously cry less as infants and wake more after 3 months, while babies who are more “routine based” care cry more as infants and wake less after 3 months. It’s a tradeoff.
In addition to parenting styles, babies can tell you a lot about what they need. Be kind to yourself. You and your baby need time to get to know each other.
- Observe your baby’s sleep cues. Common sleep cues are: change in activity level, yawning, fussing, staring, hand to mouth or face.
- Babies work really hard to take in all the stimulation in their world. They need frequent breaks. If a baby is struggling to go to sleep, maybe she has stayed awake too long.
- Four months is a good time to start sleep routines because babies recognize patterns.
- Sleep patterns change a lot as babies develop new skills.
- Allow your infant time to show you what he/she can do. Your baby may surprise you by putting himself to sleep with a little fussing.
- Be consistent; remember that learning anything takes time.