HOW TO DEVELOP A SLEEP CYCLE FOR YOUR BABY
Call it a sleep cycle, sleep pattern or the circadian cycle, establishing any of those for your newborn is equally demanding. New parents have struggled with baby sleep since ages and almost all generations have met each other halfway on the couple of ways that always work. Hear us out and this is what the most experienced parents say, do not expect your baby to have a sleep cycle in the first few weeks.
If you think about it, a whole new world with developing capabilities is pretty overwhelming for such a small ball of cuteness. You have to give the baby time but you can use a couple of “tried and tested” tricks to induce the importance and environment for a sleep cycle.
The first step to establishing the circadian cycle for a newborn is to make them understand the difference between day and night. To make the infant understand that daytime is for activity and night is synonymous with sleeping hours, is the baby step for a sleep schedule. To achieve this differentiation in the baby’s brain, try the following tricks.
Differentiate between night and day
You want the baby to be super active in the daytime. During the day, try doing the following with them:
- Post feeding them, try keeping them awake (don’t worry if they doze off).
- Keep the curtains open and turn on the lights, the environment should be bright and comfortable.
- If you take your baby on walks, do so while it’s bright outside.
- Make the change in attire during the daytime, you can opt for a fresh pair of clothes after cleaning up the baby.
- Make daily household noises like a running mixer grinder or an active washing machine or a vacuum cleaner. You don’t have to necessarily and consciously make these noises. Do the regular household chores in the daytime so that sleep at night is not disturbed and your little one also understands that when it’s bright, it’s activity time!
Establishing night time understanding for the baby is just the opposite of the above.
Reduce all activities and noises during the night.
Switch off all lights, pull the curtains, and have a dim environment. Even when you wake up to feed them, try to resist switching on the lights. Use a night lamp if needed.
Change them into their pajamas or a more comfortable pair of clothes when it’s dark outside.
Have literal “pin-drop silence” during night time.
Have a routine
The differentiation between night and day will register in the baby’s system only after they are 2-3 months old or even more. Once your baby is a month old, they have adapted to the world outside Mama’s tummy and this is when you start setting a routine for them. Now, the routine is an absolutely subjective matter, whether you want to play before or after eating. The only point of focus is continuity. Follow an eat-sleep-play cycle (in whichever order the baby likes) and within a month of following it you will notice, The baby automatically wants to do the routine activities one after the other at the exact time interval as you intended to set. This routine also involves making the baby sleep in the same place as well. This way, whenever the baby is placed in that space, they will know that it is time for sleep.
How to know when my baby is sleepy?
Look for signs that will tell you when the baby is sleepy. Try putting them to sleep as soon as you see the signs. The following are the most common signals of when your baby is yearning to snooze:
- Rubbing off the eyes by their little palms
- A cranky nature even after being fed and changing into a clean diaper
- A disinterest in their toys and people around
- They are merely drowsy and their eyes seem heavy and tired
- Overall lack of activity
As soon as you spot any one or many of the above signs, know that your baby is ready for a nap. Dim the lights and put them to sleep. Make sure you put them to sleep in the same place every time as it helps the baby grasp an understanding of sleep better.
We have tried giving you a general idea of establishing a sleep pattern for your baby. Stay tuned for more detailed age wise sleep tips for the cutest newcomers in your family.