Babies can’t differentiate between day and night, which may keep them awake during the night. Most babies think between 1 am to 4 am is playtime; this is when no civilized parent has any intention to do so. This mostly happens because babies sleep all day in the mother’s womb and stay awake during nights. The reason behind this is that during the day, the everyday activities of mom can rock babies to sleep. To counter this, most parents think keeping baby awake during the day will tire them out eventually and they will be able to sleep peacefully during the night.
This is not true because keeping baby awake for longer stretches of time will overstimulate and overtire them, and thus they will become more cranky and fussy than ever before. So, what can you do to solve this problem? How can you get your baby to sleep during the night? Fortunately, for you, there are some ways in which you can try to sleep train your baby.
Below are tips that show how to keep baby awake during the day.
1. Keep your baby awake a little longer after feeding instead of letting them fall asleep. This will enhance the need for more sleep later. It is recommended by sleep experts that you should play with your baby after each feed during the day instead of letting them sleep right away in order to cut their nap times short.
2. Take them out for a walk during the day in their stroller so it can reset their sleep clock. Make sure the baby is well protected from the sun during your walks. Don’t forget to take the baby’s diaper bag with you. In case you can’t get outside, place your baby’s crib near a window that gets nice and bright sunlight.
3. Setting a nighttime routine can also help babies in sleeping. Gently massage your baby, give him/her a bath, change their clothes into PJs, feed them before bed and put them in their crib so they learn to fall asleep on their own.
4. When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night for their feed, don’t turn on the bright lights. Instead, invest in low night light to get the work done quietly.
5. Put a hot water bottle in the baby’s crib or bassinet. This will warm up the baby’s bed and won’t wake them up due to cold when you try to transfer them from your arms to crib. Don’t forget to remove the bottle before putting the baby in there. A white noise machine can also do the trick of lulling babies to sleep. So, do invest in one.
6. Give them tummy time during the day and play with them for some time. Turn on the TV and adjust the volume so that the baby knows it is not bedtime. Keep their daytime naps short and expose them to everyday noises during the day even when they are sleeping.
7. Swaddle them before feeding them for bed. Swaddling keeps them asleep for longer stretches of time. Make sure to do so before their bedtime feeding so they don’t wake up during swaddling if they have fallen asleep in the middle of feeding.
8. Keep nighttime interaction to a bare minimum. Don’t play, talk or make eye contact with baby during the night. Keep the lights low. Just fulfill their needs like hunger or thirst and then put them back to sleep. Don’t change their diaper unless they have pooped.
9. If a daytime nap extends to more than two and a half hours, wake them up by changing their diaper or stripping them off their clothes or tickling their feet.
10. Learn the difference between whining and actual crying and only tend to their needs when they are really crying during the night. The reason being, sometimes babies learn to manipulate as they make a connection that when I cry mom soothes me.
11. Learn to recognize the signs that indicate your baby needs sleep and put them to bed in the crib when they are sleepy but not yet asleep. These signs include; rubbing eyes, crying and fussing
12. A newborn baby feeds frequently in short bursts. If you are breastfeeding, the milk gets digested quickly which means that baby can wake up hungry and ready to fill their belly even after just two hours. For the sake of your baby’s healthy growth, you should not try to change this need. Just keep the interaction as minimum as possible, fulfill their need, put them to sleep and go back to bed.
13. Don’t eat things that can stimulate your baby at night if you are breastfeeding. Sometimes, babies stay awake during the night because their mother’s diet is not agreeing with their stomachs. Try eliminating coffee, tea, and chocolate from your diet (as they can get into your milk) during the night and see if it works in getting your baby to fall asleep.
14. Don’t rush in when you hear baby make noises. Sometimes, babies wake up, babble for some time and then go back to sleep right away. They may cry and talk while still being asleep. Give the baby some time and see if he really needs you. Stop rushing in and disturbing the baby right away.
Keep your baby awake during the day for better sleep at night
It may be a while before your little one can sleep through the night and to get there you must endure for the short term before you can get to the long-term relief. So, teach your baby to sleep through the night from early on and try different techniques if the ones mentioned above don’t seem to be working. Sleeping is a learned skill. Yes, it is natural, but it requires some probing to get there. So, teach your baby to stay awake during the day. Teach them healthy sleeping habits for your own sanity and say goodbye to that sleep deprivation.