Healthy Sleep Habits for Your Baby
At nine months, your baby is growing, standing and eloquently speaking gibberish with zeal. It's no wonder that with all of these changes, you might be dealing with more frustrating complications like poor sleeping habits. As a child's mind and body develops, the associated changes can affect their ability to rest peacefully. Whether it's additional energy or brand new thoughts dancing in their head, falling asleep on cue might take a back seat to fussing as your baby transitions. Fortunately, you can encourage healthy sleeping habits easily through consistent behavior that teaches your baby when and how to nod off.
During this time, your baby is reaching a critical point in their sleep development. They'll begin to establish habits that will stick with them longer than any other time so far. This makes it extra important to create a routine that allows nap and bed times to happen naturally. Make sure everyday things like waking, eating, playing and sleeping all happen at regular times. That way your baby can build up an internal rhythm that lets them be excited when it's time to play and relaxed when it's time to lay down.
Nighttime should be a quieter time, with less light and fewer distractions. Create a nightly routine before bed that is soothing for your baby. Reading books, singing or even giving them a massage are helpful. If there's something you've noticed that makes your baby sleepy—like taking a bath—try incorporating it into your bedtime routine. Take note of the times when your baby shows signs of being tuckered out. If you can, try to plan around those times, preparing your baby for sleep before they reach this point. If they are always laid down shortly before falling asleep, they'll start to associate the crib with sleeping.
Babies have a natural sleep cycle of about fifty to sixty minutes. And at the end of each cycle they are likely to wake, even if just a moment, before falling asleep and starting over. With a typical night's sleep of around eleven hours there are a lot of chances for your child to wake and cry out for you. It's as natural for you to want to comfort them as it is for them to cry, but if you always hold them until they're back to sleep, your baby may become unable to calmly return to snoozing on their own.
If nighttime crying is common, you'll have plenty of opportunities to test the waters by standing crib-side and trying different ways to relax them. Gently rubbing and talking in a calming voice can be just as effective as picking your baby up. After a few nights of this, try standing near the crib, but this time only talk. Every few nights, you can stand further back until your touch and presence aren't necessary to keep them comfortable throughout the night.
Of course, not all babies behave the same. If your child continues to have difficulty sleeping, you can set up an appointment with a pediatrician by calling 321.843.2584 or visit www.winniepalmerhospital.com for more helpful information.
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