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Common Blunders New Parents Make When Putting Their Babies To Bed

Posted Jul 05 2010 8:41pm

by Elizabeth St Johns

One of the most common challenges new parents confront is getting their babies to fall asleep. Once their babies are sleeping, the challenge becomes ensuring they continue to slumber throughout the night. Most new moms and dads experience a period during which their little ones either refuse to fall asleep or wake up at odd hours, clamoring for attention. The results - for parents - is a persistent feeling of tiredness that affects their mood and alertness the following day.

Many moms and dads would be surprised to learn they're contributing to this problem. There are several blunders parents commit that make it more difficult for their infants to fall - and stay - asleep. In this article, we'll reveal the most common among them. If you are making the following mistakes, correct them and you may find it easier to get a peaceful night's rest.

Riding in the back seat of a car on a long roadtrip can put anyone to sleep. Most of us can be lulled to slumber by the constant movement of a vehicle, train, or plane. Babies are similar. If you place your little one into a swing or stroller, there's a good chance she'll doze off if she's in motion. A lot of moms of dads consider this a useful tool, but it may set the stage for future difficulty.

Consider how groggy or tired you have felt following sleeping on a plane. This is because we never enter the truly deep - or REM - sleep that rests our minds. Here, too, your baby is similar. If she falls asleep as the result of motion, she is unlikely to receive the rest she needs.

Infants fall into slumber more easily if they are trained to do so at a specific time each evening. Think about your own sleeping schedule. Chances are, your mind and body are attuned to a certain bedtime. When that time approaches, you become tired. This is your mind telling you that it's time to go to bed based on having consistently gone to bed at that same time in the past. Babies are even more susceptible to a bedtime schedule.

Unfortunately, a lot of moms and dads fail to recognize the importance of a consistent "lights out" time for their little ones. So they allow their infants to fall asleep on their own. Bad idea. If parents were to correct this single mistake, they would find it much easier to coax their babies to sleep.

In addition to keeping an inconsistent bedtime schedule, many parents allow their little ones to stay up too late. This has a larger impact on a baby's ability to sleep soundly than most moms and dads realize. Infants who go to bed too late tend to sleep less than those who go to bed earlier. Over time, this causes fatigue, which in turn, makes it more difficult for them to sleep peacefully in the future. Break the cycle and start putting your little to sleep earlier.

Parents often rationalize making occasional changes to their babies' sleeping routines. For example, if your little one cries, you might decide to let her sleep in your bed once in awhile. Even though this may comfort her, it reinforces an expectation (e.g. "Mom will let me sleep in her bed") that might prove difficult to break in the future without causing sleeping issues. Remain consistent. Stick to the routine.

Many babies have difficulty falling, and staying, asleep. This problem, however, is largely encouraged by mistakes made by their parents. Avoid the above blunders and you - and your little one - will enjoy more restful sleep in the future.

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