How can you help your baby to sleep?
How does the Einschlafwunder help your baby to fall asleep?
The ‘Einschlafwunder’ helps the baby calm down and fall asleep by producing a background noise. Absolute silence is unknown to the baby. While in the mother’s womb, it has become used to these familiar noises. Background noises induce a sleeping reflex in babies and helps them to calm down and fall asleep
How does the baby sleep?
A new born baby cannot really distinguish between day and night. The baby’s natural rhythm is determined by the need to eat and sleep. As the baby’s stomach is very small, the intervals between needing to eat are considerably shorter than those of an adult. Generally, a new born baby will need to eat every 3-4 hours. As eating is more important than sleeping for a baby, parents have a lot of work fulfilling these demands.
How long does a baby sleep?
After eating, sleep is the second most important need of a baby. A baby needs a lot of sleep in order to process all of the sensations and stimulations of its new world. A new born baby will sleep on average 14 to 18 hours a day. Each period of sleep can last up to 4 hours and can be categorised into the following phases:
– tiredness, light sleep
– REM (rapid eye movement)
– NREM (non rapid eye movement)
– deep sleep and extreme deep sleep.
As the baby grows older, the length of time it is awake will increase. It can often be a strain for the parents to have their baby interrupt their own sleeping patterns. The ‘Einschlafwunder’ can work wonders to calm both parents and baby. As well as calming the baby, the regular sounds of ‘Waves and Heartbeats’ help the parents relax and better deal with this strenuous situation.
How should you position your baby to sleep?
Paediatricians recommend that baby should be placed on their backs in order to sleep. So that the baby remains in this position, use a rolled up towel or a wedge (which can be purchased from specialist baby shops). A new born baby should not sleep on its tummy as this can impend breathing. As the baby is also not yet able to lift its head, it can therefore breathe in exhaled air. Please note that some new born babies tend to dribble heavily and therefore should not sleep on their backs. If this is the case, please consult a paediatrician.
Where should the new born baby sleep?
Most parents prefer to share a room with the baby when it is first born. This is also important for the baby who needs the closeness of its parents. After nine months in the mother’s womb, the baby is born into a quiet and ‘seemingly isolated’ world. Although a new born baby needs the physical closeness, it is strongly debated whether it should share a bed with its parents. The advantages are obvious: the mother can breastfeed without getting up whilst the baby is calmed by the mothers presence. The so-called ‘Babybay’ could be a good compromise. This is a bed which can be attached to one side of the parent’s bed which gives the baby its own place to sleep while still allowing direct contact to the parents.
Naturally parents should insure that their child has a secure place to sleep. The following things should be avoided: anything that can block the child’s breathing (e.g. too many stuffed toys); sharp edges and corners; and strings or cords. When buying a bed for the baby, please make sure that it complies with necessary child safety standards. During the day, the baby will also comfortably sleep in a pram or bassinet.
When should a doctor be consulted?
It is recommended that your baby should be taken to a doctor when you notice anything strange or out of the ordinary. For example: the baby sleeps only a short time; the baby is agitated during sleep; the baby sleeps unusually lengthy amount of time; the baby doesn’t want to or is too tired to eat. A paediatrician will help you determine if the baby is ill.
How to encourage the baby to sleep at night?
Before the sleeping pattern of the baby changes to that of an adult, you can support your baby in the following ways to encourage sleeping at night:
Start the ‘Einschlafwunder’ (e.g. Waves and Heartbeats). It is important to create a ritual that signals to the baby, ‘now it is evening and time to go to bed’. When your baby becomes tired in the evening, you can introduce a bathing and singing ritual: bath your baby, dress them in a ‘cuddly babygrow’ and sing a calming and repetitive lullaby. An alternative could be to dress them in a ‘cuddly babygrow’, sit by their bed, you can then sing to them or simply let the ‘Einschlafwunder’ in the background.
If your child need changing in the night or feeding, then it is important to maintain a calm and soothing atmosphere. Dim the light, play the ‘Einschlafwunder’ (e.g. Rain and Heartbeats) in the background, speak quietly and lovingly, and carry out all activities as calmly as possible. The baby will learn that the night is dark and for sleeping and that playing etc. is takes place during the day
Comforting and closeness
Comfort and attend to your baby whenever necessary. Children that get a lot of attention during the day are generally more quiet and peaceful. A new born baby can never receive too much attention: sing, cuddle and carry your baby around. It also helps to play a soft sound in the background, such as rain and heartbeats, in order to create a calm and soothing atmosphere.
When you think your baby is ill, please consult a doctor. The ‘Einschlafwunder’ stimulates the familiar pre-birth environment and therefore will help your baby relax and fall asleep, even when they are ill. However, it is not an aid which will provide a remedy to your baby’s illness.