You may be too tired to even read clearly. Of course, after pulling an all-nighter, nobody can stay sane! While your baby has gone to sleep for now, you know very well you will not have any respite at night. You have dressed him, swaddled him, and fed him, but the baby won’t go back to sleep after the 2 am feed. You, my friend, need help.
Babies have a very complex sleep schedule. They may wake up in the dead of night for no reason. While feeding them seems like the only way to calm them down, what do you do when it doesn’t work? What are other ways out of another night of dreadful crying and sleep deprivation?
Let’s find out. But before that, you should know one thing: inadequate feeding isn’t the only problem with the baby at 2 am.
Room Lighting Considerations To Help Baby Get Back To Sleep
A baby’s sleep is affected by his external surroundings. A baby who is a few weeks old has difficulty differentiating colors, but he is aware of the lighting around him. For a good night’s sleep, a baby needs dim light.
Scientifically proven, bright light alerts a baby’s mind, making it difficult for them to sleep. Thus, the surprise of night-time waking up. The only way you can feed your baby to sleep is in dim light conditions.
He may fall asleep as soon as the bottle-feeding starts, but his disturbed night waking may make him fearful and anxious in the dark room, and another episode of crying his eyes out will commence.
Neither bright light nor darkness will work. You need a dim light that doesn’t flicker and gives your room a cozy feel so that the baby feels comforted.
Sleeping Location After Night Time Feed
Don’t deny the significance of your baby’s sleeping location. Babies, though extremely little with minimal cognitive development, have highly alert minds. They can sense the things around them and build associations in order to feel comforted. Why do you think a baby calms down at once when you hand them over to their mother? Because they know they are in familiar hands and are safe. Their minds tell them to calm down.
Similarly, babies build sleep associations with their surroundings to feel safe. They know which room they are in and whether they are in their swaddle blanket or not, and they can even surmise the unfamiliarity of a new sleeping location through changes in temperature.
Your baby knows when his surroundings have changed. He can’t be fooled. It is amazing how he can discern if he is in his room or a new place. Unfamiliarity keeps the baby restless and results in a poor night’s sleep. After feeding time, if your baby is still shrieking out loud, you have to return them to the routine space. This means no excursion trips or even delightful visits to the grandma’s house.
So what’s the solution?
We established that your baby can’t be fooled. There should be another way out. If you really want to leave your house and change spaces without disturbing your baby’s sleep, you need to make the baby used to the bassinet. The best thing about using a bassinet is that you can carry it around, and your baby will be familiar with sleeping in it and therefore feel relaxed.
Other than this, you can try a DockATot or a baby sleep nest that makes the baby feel like he is in his mother’s womb. This helps reduce the alertness against danger and mistrust and lets them have a good night’s sleep. Since you cannot keep the sleep environment the same when you travel, invest in these products to help your baby sleep.
Other Reasons for Baby Waking
If your baby has trouble sleeping even after he has had his routine feeding and is back in his familiar space, you must check the items on the following checklist. I bet it will be one of these:
A baby has no way of telling you how irritated he feels in that plastic cover we call a diaper. You may change the diaper every two hours during the daytime, but at night, you get so sleepy that you cannot get up every hour to make the transition.
A wet diaper thus becomes the cause of your baby’s consistent crying, which keeps you up too. Start with the basics and check to see if it’s a dirty diaper that is costing you a good night’s sleep.
Babies experience this a lot, and for multiple reasons. Babies who are accustomed to formula milk are more likely to have tummy pains than those who are breastfed by their mothers. Babies over the age of two months who have just started light foods also have this issue frequently. Some foods do not agree with the baby’s tummy, resulting in pain and irritation.
Naturally, if your baby is in pain, he won’t be able to sleep. The only way of knowing if your baby is fine or not is by feeding him the right things in the right amounts. Always refer to your pediatrician for that.
Babies are covered in layers and layers of clothing to keep them warm. The temperature might be too hot for their warm bodies. As your baby starts to grow, remove extra clothing to make them comfortable. If they feel too hot during the night, they are likely to cry.
Sleeping itself makes the baby sweat, adding to their annoyance. Similarly, when the baby feels cold during the winter months, he may unable to sleep, and night waking becomes common. Keep an eye on your baby’s clothing and make sure it is appropriate for the conditions to keep your baby sleeping soundly.
Teething is not just a challenging and painful time for your baby but also a challenging period of your life. You cannot take away your baby’s pain, and that pain can cause other symptoms, too. High fever, upset stomach, and nausea are common symptoms accompanying teething.
Teething babies are uncomfortable, making them ill at ease. This results in night wakings until the teeth have fully come in. You can give a baby teether to relieve his pain. It will also take his mind off the pain for a while.
Your pediatrician may also prescribe gum gels and ointments to relieve your baby of the pain and help him go back to sleep quickly.
Like humans of every age, your baby gets intimidated, scared, and annoyed, and he doesn’t understand everything. He can’t tell you what he needs, he gets frustrated, and all these reasons combine to form the cause of your baby’s restless crying.
Being a parent demands patience. With time, your baby will be better able to communicate his needs, and you will be able to understand his pattern. Until then, you can either patiently wait for him to fall asleep by himself or try the following tricks to get him snoring again.
Ways To Help Baby Get Back To Sleep
You can’t spend night after night sitting upright with a shrieking baby in your arms. You will go insane. Babies do give a tough time in the first months of their new lives. However, there are ways you can stimulate your baby’s sleep.
Try these clever tricks; they are simple and convenient:
Babies get tired even laying down. Massaging their bodies makes them feel relaxed. Their blood circulation improves, and scientifically speaking, their relaxing hormones are released. This causes them to doze off.
Furthermore, research shows that massage releases emotional stress and helps with digestion. You can use baby oil for massage. It is not only light on the sensitive baby skin but also gives great fragrance, so your baby is always sweet-smelling.
If you have never tried this before, you may not be able to appreciate its magical effect. There are many soundtracks available online that are specifically for putting babies to sleep. Usually, the sounds that are closer to the internal uterine sounds would be most soothing to your baby’s ears, and before you can waste another yawn, your little munchkin would be sound asleep.
Rocking or swaddling
Swaddle blankets are a must-have baby product. You are going to be rocking and swaddling your baby to sleep often.
Do Babies Naturally Drop Night Feeds?
Babies don’t magically drop feeds by themselves. In the first year of their lives, they tend to wake up more often for night feeds. As they grow, the night wakings will become less common. However, you will ultimately have to put in the effort to make them abandon night feeding and become routine night sleepers.
How can you put your baby back to sleep without his night feed?
How Do I Get Rid Of 2 am Feed?
There are several useful tips you can use to halt night feedings and make the baby fall asleep without them. The tips have been deduced through trial and tested methods that work for most babies. You can try:
Reducing Milk Volume
Children can’t shake off night feeding altogether immediately. You have to gradually reduce the amount of milk you give them. If the baby is on formula milk, you should reduce feed times. For example, if the baby has three night-time feeds, reduce them to two night-time feeds.
You can do the same if you are breastfeeding. Try to put the baby back to sleep as naturally as possible and reduce nursing hours at night. During the day, you can continue breastfeeding at regular intervals.
You can use the time-cutting strategy on your baby. The feeding time should be reduced from 15 minutes to 13 minutes, from 13 to 10, and so on. By reducing feeding time little by little, you will be able to keep your baby fed as well as make him stop the night feed gradually.
This is mostly for those mothers whose babies are breastfed. They reduce nursing time at night and moving the clock back towards daytime feeding will be a great transition for your baby’s feeding habits.
How Long Does It Take To Alter Baby’s Sleep Habits?
A baby isn’t like an adult who will go to sleep when you tell him to. Good sleep patterns or sleeping habits develop over time.
Every baby is different and takes time to develop proper sleeping habits. It may take some babies a few weeks to develop consistent nighttime sleeping habits. On the contrary, some babies remain in the “I am a needy child” phase until they are toddlers.
You should be mentally prepared to cope with a limited night-time sleep schedule for at least the first six months of your baby’s life. According to child specialists, babies are at a ripe age of learning sleep habits when they are nine months old. They can understand you partially and can also see that night is not the time for meals. They may sleep through the night from at least nine months to one year old.
Is My Baby Having Sleep Regression?
Sleep regression is usually faced by children when they are four months old. In this condition, babies wake up often at night, even if they’ve been sleeping through. If you have a baby who is four months old, you might notice that he is starting to show strange sleep patterns, and you should know it is sleep regression due to changing sleep cycles. This usually happens as a baby learns to move around and play instead of lying still in his cot. This makes him energetic and ready to enjoy activities other than eating.
This means your baby is becoming sensible. Instead of fretting about the night wakings, you can see it as an opportunity to sleep train your baby. Sleep regression is the ideal time you start your baby’s sleep training.
Night Sleep Training For Your Baby
Babies need to be comforted whenever they want because they depend on you. If you really want your baby to fall asleep independently, you can try sleep training. Numerous ways have worked for young mothers to make their babies sleep. Some of the tried and tested methods include:
Before putting your baby to sleep, make sure that you have fed him/her well. An empty tummy won’t let an adult sleep, let alone a baby. If your baby is hungry, no matter how hard you are trying, you will not be able to put them to sleep.
Short Daytime Naps
You have to manage your baby’s sleeping hours. Don’t let the daytime schedule of baby sleep mess up the night-time sleep.
The baby’s naps should be consistent and occur at the same time every day. You will have to make efforts to achieve this consistency. As the baby grows, his sleep cycle will drastically improve.
Using a Pacifier
Pacifiers have had very cross views with doctors, as sucking them may create gastric issues for the baby. However, research shows that children who take pacifiers sleep better. The science behind this is that the sucking action tells children that they are having a meal and also that their parent is nearby. This not only pacifies the child, but they truly feel quite relaxed and sleep for longer stretches.
Maintaining a Regular Timetable
If you put your baby to sleep at 9 pm, it should be 9 pm every day, without fail. When you discipline yourself, your baby’s sleep timetable will automatically.
Finally a Sound Sleep!
For your and your baby’s sound sleep, you must take strong measures. Sleep train your baby and ensure that all conditions for sound sleep are met. If your baby is often waking up in the middle of the night, check the lighting, and see if the baby falls asleep by himself, or use a sleep technique. Usually, it is the simplest things that can make a huge difference.