Sleep is precious. So precious, that I decided to do a second post on the same topic within a week. Right now, Baby Hashtag is going through a tough sleep regression and I'll be honest here, we are just scraping by. I am a tad bit more irritated and snappy but in my defense, baby now decides to sleep well past midnight and that ticks me off a little. I am doing everything I can to help her fall into a sleep pattern. I will not claim to be an authority on sleep related issues of babies, but I can offer you my sincere observations and ways I am handling it. So maybe, you can too.
Before I dive into it, there is a need to differentiate between the types of sleeps we sleep. One is the active sleep and the second is the REM sleep. Active sleeps are usually the naps we take and the REM sleep is the one we take at nights. Since babies are still getting conditioned to live with the present surroundings, they cannot fall asleep on their own as easily as we do. This is the reason why we need to establish a routine or a pattern which leads up to the actual act of putting the baby to sleep. The baby gets conditioned by this routine in such a way that when you start doing them, they know that their bedtime is drawing near. Alas, if only it was as easy as it sounds.
Establishing a sleeptime routine is advisable even if your child takes 'months' getting used to it. You'd rather have a baby who knows that they have to sleep soon rather than have a baby with unpredictable sleep timings. Atleast babies with a sleep routine mess up with the schedule only during regression or at times when there is over stimulation or ill health, not all the time.
NEVER delay your baby's bedtime or change it drastically. A half hour here or there is excusable but if you decided to push their bedtime by a couple of hours so that you can attend a family event, get ready for a sleepless night because babies are unforgiving of being taken lightly. Also, NEVER wake up a sleeping baby. No matter how cute they look, a sleepy cranky baby will either be unnaturally silent or extremely rowdy, both of which are unpleasant. ALWAYS stay close to the baby when they are falling asleep. Cosleeping come naturally to parents in our country and rightly so. Stay close to the baby when you are putting them to sleep, make them feel safe.
Encourage your baby to have sleep associations. If you put them to sleep in a new and different way every single time, they will find it very disconcerting and will not be able to relate to sleep as a regular activity. Rather, you continue putting them to sleep in a certain way each time so that the next time you proceed to do that activity, they know they have to sleep.
This is pretty much all the gyaan I have self-learned over the last 5 months with Baby Hashtag. I am sure I need to learn loads more, and when I do, I'll share them with you!