Proper sleep of your baby − ways to ensure peaceful and healthy sleep of your baby

Karolina Woźniczak − midwife

Baby sleep is very different than in adults because it consists of a deep sleep phase in which your baby rests quietly, and mostly of the REM phase, so shallow sleep in which the infant can easily wake up. There are several methods that young parents should observe and implement in the daily rituals to ensure that their baby sleeps peacefully at night. Before putting the baby to sleep you should prepare the room to obtain favourable conditions for sleep, so the room temperature should be between 18 and 22 degrees, we should ventilate the room, eliminate bright light and use a small lamp, which gently calms your baby. Every child is different, but most babies do not like the dark so a bedside lamp will be the ideal solution. Another method conducive to falling asleep is bathing. If your baby likes bathing, do it every day about the same time, preferably one hour before going to sleep, because bathing calms your baby down, and after a bath we recommend massaging your baby’s back, feet and face, which will definitely relax your baby and help fall asleep more quickly. One of the most important methods ensuring proper sleep are fixed rituals that cause a sense of security, which is extremely important for a small child. Often falling asleep is not so easy because of an empty tummy or uncomfortable pyjamas, so it is very important to make sure that your child eats a complete, but easily digestible meal, e.g. millet fakes with a vegetable or fruit, and if you still breastfeed, you should latch the baby on to your breast − your baby will probably fall asleep while sucking. Remember not to excite your baby before going to sleep, so it is recommended to spend quiet time, e.g. reading fairy tales and singing lullabies. A very popular child-friendly rustling teddy bear is often helpful in putting your baby to sleep, because it is designed to soothe and relax your baby, but it could easily be any other mascot, which makes the child feel calm. It is very important that parents are consistent in their methods and watch their baby when it gets sleepy, because waiting too long will cause bigger problems falling asleep and a rough night. So you should try to make sure that the baby does not sleep during the day too long, so do not cover window blinds, leave the radio on and do not talk in whispers, because the child’s brain encodes sounds and thus wakes up after an afternoon nap faster. As I mentioned at the beginning, your baby has the right to wake up at night for a moment, so watch the baby and do not react right away, because the child may calm down after a while and go back to sleep, and our too quick intervention can completely wake the child up. But remember never to leave a newborn infant or a child crying, because unfortunately it’s no good for the normal development.

Babies also wake up at night for example because of

  • hunger
  • a wet diaper
  • they are too hot or cold (I recommend a blanket or sleeping bag instead of a heavy quilt)
  • colic/stomach pain or teething
  • the need for closeness
  • a strong sucking need (falling out soother, breast)
  • too dry air
  • mosquitoes/midges
  • uncomfortable sleeping position
  • disease (rhinitis, cough, respiratory and urinary tract infection)

Let us remember also about ensuring the safety of our child during sleep hence the need to have a crib with appropriate approvals. With time, the nervous system matures and your baby will sleep better throughout the night 🙂