From the time a baby is born until he is about six months old, he requires more sleep than an adult — a lot more. Newborns may sleep between 12 and 18 hours out of every 24-hour period. After a child is about six months old, his sleep requirements are a bit higher, but very similar to an adult’s sleep requirements.
It is of the utmost importance that parents help the child to establish a regular sleep/wake schedule as early as possible. This will make life easier for everybody in the household, including the baby. Babies, even as young as six months old, like continuity.
A regular “go-to-bed” time and a regular “get-up” time as well as a regular “naptime” will help to prevent all kinds of sleep-related problems.
There are lots of reasons why children can have sleep problems. Some of the problems are caused by physical discomfort or illness. Some sleep problems are caused by emotional or developmental problems that might seem totally unrelated to sleep. If your child is consistently unable to sleep (and consistently is the operative word here) it is best to talk to your pediatrician about the problem and have him or her help you resolve the issue.
The thing to remember is that when humans are tired, no matter how old or young they are, they sleep if they aren’t having mental, physical, or emotional pain. Sleep is natural; it isn’t a behavior that must be learned.
If you have worked to establish a regular schedule for your child (eliminated all of the foods and drinks that might prevent sleep, read him a story and tucked him in), and sleep continues to be a problem, it really is time to seek professional help. The lack of normal sleep is a symptom, not a disease.
TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-725-5660.
TLC for Kids has more than just sitters to help parents and families adjust to having a new baby at home. TLC for Kids also has a certified sleep consultant on staff who helps parents get their baby or babies on a sleep schedule that works for their lifestyle.
Here are a few ways a sleep consult will help parents and babies:
1. Reduced stress levels. When you and your baby are not getting enough sleep, everyone is crankier. With a sleep consultant, you can set up a schedule and routine that fits your lifestyle and meets the needs of your growing baby. When done correctly, this will lead to less crying for your baby and more productive days for you (after all, nobody is good at their job when they were up all night with a crying baby).
2. Consistency. Humans are creatures of habit. In fact, parents who are consistent with their children are shown to raise children with lower anxiety levels. During a sleep consult, you and the consultant can talk about your daily and nightly activities and brainstorm a nighttime routine that works for your family and baby. For example, if you read a book and take a bath every night before putting your baby down to sleep, your child will associate these activities with bedtime. Putting them to sleep will become less of a hassle because they already know bedtime is coming.
3. Answer questions. A lot of times a pediatrician can tell parents how much sleep their child should be getting, but doesn’t offer solutions on how to make sure their baby sleeps for the recommended amount of time. With a sleep consultant, parents have access to someone who has specialized training on baby sleep patterns. A sleep consultant is here to help get your baby to sleep, so parents won’t have to wonder if what they are doing is wrong or right. With a sleep consultant, parents can evaluate their baby’s sleep environment and routine (do they have blinds in the baby’s room? Is there a sound machine? What did they do before bed?), and see their strengths and weaknesses.
To learn more about TLC’s “Sleep Lady” Consultant and set up your consult call the TLC office today (314) 725-5660.