You might have already experienced the sleep deprivation that comes with being a new parent. Your baby may not fall asleep easily at night or may not be able to sleep through the night, waking up frequently instead. There are many common myths about baby sleep and this article will set the record straight to help you and your baby get the best sleep possible.
It might be tough to bring yourself to wake your baby up when they are sleeping peacefully, but there are some reasons why you should wake them up.
Newborns need to nurse every two to three hours in the first few weeks, so you may need to wake them up if they have been sleeping for more than two hours. Your baby may be undergoing day/night confusion where they are awake for the whole night and sleeping throughout the entire day. If that is the case, you may need to wake them up during the day so that they can get used to being awake and playing in the day. Eventually ensuring a longer sleep at night.
Toddlers and older babies also have a recommended amount of time they should be sleeping for a day nap to minimize affecting their night sleep. You may need to wake your baby up if they are sleeping longer than the recommended number of hours.
To wake your baby up, you can sing to them or talk to them. You can also use the motions of diapering to wake them up or bathe them.
Once your baby has gotten used to eating (eight to twelve times a day for a baby who is breastfed and five to eight times a day for a bottle-fed baby), you may not need to wake your baby up to feed.
Your baby hears a lot of noises such as the sound of your blood flowing through your arteries and your stomach growling while in the womb. It can be more comforting to them to hear background noise such as white noise or soft music, as it’s similar to what they had experienced in the womb.
While babies are more likely to wake up during a day nap, they can sleep through noise especially in the first few hours of the night when they are in deep sleep. If your baby gets used to typical noises in the house, they will learn to sleep through them.
Putting your baby to sleep later means that they are overtired, causing the body to release stress hormones such as cortisol. They will find it harder to fall asleep and may wake up more frequently. Instead, put your baby to sleep earlier to ensure they wake up later.
Older babies often already have a sleep schedule so they are unlikely to fall asleep until their usual bedtime.
Loud snoring and noisy breathing that happens all the time may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. This can indicate that there are pauses in their breathing that cause them to snore and may lead to other developmental issues. It’s normal to occasionally hear some unusual sounds during your baby’s sleep but loud or consistent snoring may be a cause for concern. Visit a paediatrician if you are concerned about your baby’s snoring.
You don’t have to let your baby cry it out to learn to fall asleep on their own. Some babies may need you to continually soothe them each time they wake up at night so that they can go back to sleep, especially if they are used to it. This can be a source of frustration for parents who find themselves waking up multiple times to soothe their baby, which can happen anywhere between every 45 minutes to 90 minutes at night. This is why some parents adopt the “cry it out” method to let their babies learn how to self-soothe and fall asleep naturally.
However, you don’t have to do this if you are not comfortable with the method. It’s your choice and you can opt to soothe your baby each time until they learn to fall asleep naturally on their own, which can be when they are between 3 to 6 years old.
Don’t be afraid to wake a sleeping baby in fear that they’re not getting enough sleep or make noises if you have to when you’re around your baby. If you want your baby to wake up later, putting them to sleep earlier may in fact help them to sleep more. Take note that loud and regular snoring may be a cause for concern and see your child’s pediatrician when in doubt.
If you’re not comfortable letting your baby “cry it out” to fall asleep, you don’t have to do it as this is a parenting choice that you can make. You can consult your child’s paediatrician on any concerns you have about waking your baby up, sleep training, and snoring.
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With a long and established track record in Singapore providing Obstetrics and Gynaecology (“O&G”) services such as pre-pregnancy counselling, delivery, pregnancy and post-delivery care, the Group has since further expanded its spectrum of healthcare services to include Paediatrics, Dermatology, and Cancer-related General Surgery (Colorectal, Breast & Thyroid).
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