From learning to tell day from night to dealing with nightmares, young children often need a little help from their parents when it comes to sleeping. Here is some essential information about common baby sleep problems and the developmental issues that might affect your child’s sleep habits at different ages.
In the past doctors routinely told parents that babies should lie face down to avoid any baby sleep problems. That way the theory went, the babies would not choke if they happened to spit up while asleep. It turns out that this was simply wrong. Babies sit up. All right, but they are actually less likely to choke when lying face up.
Even more important, babies who sleep on their backs are much less likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS, also called as cot death). SIDS is diagnosed when an an infant one month or older dies suddenly with no apparent cause. SIDS is a problem of the little babies. Once a child reaches six months of age, the risk goes down substantially.
The amazing thing about SIDS is that it is largely preventable. The scientific evidence is overwhelming. All around the world, the rate of SIDS dropped off sharply as parents learned to put their babies to sleep on their backs. Since the back to sleep campaign began in the United Kingdom in 1991, there has been a 71 percent drop in the number of babies whose lives have been saved by the simple advice.
A Few points to keep in mind about baby sleep problems
– Some babies with special medical conditions do need to lie on their fronts or sides. Your babies doctor will tell you if this is the case. For almost all babies, though, Back to sleep should be the rule.
– Sleeping on the back is safer than on the sides . Babies put to sleep on their sides often end up face down, as they move about during the night.
– A firm cot mattress is critical. Soft , fluffy mattress, fleeces and waterbeds are not safe. They increase the risk of suffocation.
– Babies shouldn’t be overly warm when they sleep. A blanket or soft onesie may be all your child needs. If you use a blanket, tuck it in firmly under the edges of the mattress, so that it cannot ride up by mistake and cover your baby’s face.
– If your newborn sleeps in your bed, make sure that you observe the same safety standards as above: Baby on his back, firm bedding, no waterbed, no fluffy or loose blankets or pillows.
– Protect your baby from second hand cigarette smoke. It is not enough to refrain from smoking in the baby’s room, because smoke drifts all through the air in your home. It’s safest to make the rule that nobody smokes inside. Period, Alone if you still smoke, it’s best to put on a jacket while you smoke outside, then take it off before picking up your baby. Smoke clings to fabric.
Are there any draw backs to ‘Back to Sleep’?
Yes. Babies who spend a lot of time lying on their backs sometimes develop flat spots on their heads. These are not dangerous in any way, and a flat spot I something when compared with SIDS! Also, there are things you can do to prevent flat spots: give your baby plenty of time to play on his tummy while he is awake and you are watching him. (This tummy time also helps him develop the strength in his arms and back that he needs to crawl.)
Also, get in the routine of switching your child’s orientation in his cot every coupe of days (in other words, alternate where you place his head and feet). Babies tend to turn their head to the side so that they can see into the room. Changing their position in this way keeps equal pressure on both sides of the head, reducing flat spots.
New born confuse day and night
If it seems that your newborn is sleepy during the day and turns into a live wire at night, you’re right. Most babies are born with night and day reverse baby sleep problems. Expert’s don’t know exactly why this is so. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that babies in the uterus tend to be the most active when their mothers are resting and quietest when their mothers are active. This day-night reversal usually begins to change around six weeks of age, and between three and four months, most babies flip their schedules, sleeping much more at night and much less during the day.
Don’t expect a newborn to sleep all night
Although I’ve heard parents swear that their healthy new baby slept all through the night from the start, I have to admit that I’m always skeptical about such claims. Newborns just aren’t equipped to sleep all night long- their immature digestive systems require them to eat every few hours and to soil their nappies frequently.
No wonder they typically waken several times at night, crying to alert their parent to attend to their very real needs. If your newborn baby actually sleep for six or more hours at a stretch, be sure to mention this to your pediatrician or family, particularly if you are breastfeeding; there’s chance that so much sleeping is actually a sign of illness.
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