According to the American Sleep Association 70% of all babies and infants at one time or another suffer from sleeping difficulties. So if bed time is a difficult time for you and your baby you are in good company. Rest assured that there is probably nothing wrong but of course when you are in doubt seek professional care. Jodi Mindell, a researcher and sleep expert at the Institute, has 3 tips for worried parents.
- Put your baby to bed when he / she is sleepy but not yet asleep. That way you teach your infant to fall a sleep by himself. When baby is able to do that around bedtime chances are he or she will wake up once oTARGET = "_ new" r twice per night. But because the baby is trained or used to falling asleep in his own bed you do not have to "rock or swing" him to sleep. Going back to sleep comes naturally. And you will be much fitter the next day.
- Define a strict bedtime regimen. That way your child learns to get "tired" every afternoon and evening at about the same time. Also it's a good idea to extend this predictability to other areas of the baby's life. Certainty and safety will make the baby more relaxed and will help him to grow to be a healthy adult. Make sure your baby does go to bed early enough. Exhausted babies have trouble falling asleep.
- Make strict use sleep rituals Start at a young age with a bed time routine. Use a specific system in which three or four activities are always done in the same order. For example, wash first, then put on pajamas, and last but not least a bedtime story or song. That way you create a predictable order of activities that make the change from daytime activity to the slower pace of going to bed more gradual.
If you want to know more about this interesting topic read Jodi Mindell's book "Sleeping through the Night". In my opinion this book is a must-read for parents who worry about the sleeping habits of their little one. The book is very readable and is packed with tips, tricks and explanations.
One warning never give young children a sleeping pill unless you really have discussed this deeply with your general practitioner.