Difficulty falling asleep in the baby
In the first weeks and months of their still young life, babies still have to develop their individual sleep - wake - rhythm. Since this process takes a certain amount of time, there is a problem with sleeping only after the first half of the first year of life. In addition to problems staying asleep, the process of falling asleep is a particular difficulty for many babies.
Often the babies are very restless, cry a lot and find it very difficult to get to sleep. One usually speaks of difficulty falling asleep if the baby can only find sleep with elaborate measures by the parents, such as calming down or being carried around for a long time, or if this process regularly takes more than 30 minutes.
also read: My baby does not sleep well - what can I do?
What can I do to make my baby sleep?
Since many babies have trouble falling asleep, there is some helpful advice to keep in mind. For a newborn baby, sleep is the main part of life. Since it has an increased need for food, however, it reports every 2 - 3 hours to be fed. So that the child can quickly go to sleep again after eating, it is helpful to feed in a calm atmosphere. Turning out the lights and avoiding conversations can help, especially at night.
Many parents have the newborn in the bedroom close to the bed so that no long walks have to be made, there is no restlessness and the child can quickly be put back in its cot. Over time, the sleep intervals lengthen and from the age of 6 months it is usually no longer necessary to feed at night. To make it easier to fall asleep, an item of clothing with a parent's scent can be placed in the crib. This makes it easier to separate at night and gives you a feeling of security.
It is important to have quiet, repetitive bedtime rituals that get the child in the mood for sleep and ensure a certain consistency and stability. For example, fixed bedtime and singing or reading aloud. If the babies sleep a lot during the day, they should be woken early so that they are tired in the evening. If the babies are awake or unable to sleep, they should be given calming influence. Avoid restlessness, loud noises or conversations. Often it also helps if you leave out the light and just stroke the baby when it becomes restless. If the baby needs changing, it should be done with as little effort as possible.
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Swaddling is a special swaddling technique that is used to help babies sleep calmly and relaxed. Various studies have shown that particularly restless premature and newborn babies, as well as crib babies, benefit from swaddling. Babies can be swaddled from the first day of life to around the 5th month of life. With this swaddling technique, the baby's arms lie close to the body and the physiological Moro reflex is prevented.
The Moro reflex is an innate reflex reaction to a startle stimulus, which serves as a protective and defense mechanism. Triggered by changes in position or acoustic stimuli, the child's mouth is opened, the arms are thrown up and the fingers spread. In the second phase the mouth closes again, the fingers are bent with a fist and the arms are brought together in front of the chest. If this reaction occurs during sleep, it leads to restlessness and problems with the sleep rhythm, especially when falling asleep.
Read more on the topic: Reflexes of a Baby and How Do I Swaddle a Baby?
The tight fit of the arms when swaddling prevents the reflex and the children can sleep without disturbances and in peace. In addition, swaddling gives the babies a feeling of security and warmth that they know from the womb and thus exerts a protective and sheltered character. As soon as the babies become more mobile and begin to roll over on their stomachs, swaddling should be stopped so that the natural urge to move is not suppressed.
Difficulty falling asleep in the baby at 3 months
Everything to do with sleep can play a major role in the life of the baby and the parents in the first weeks and months of life and can lead to some problems and difficulties. For the first 3 months of life, babies sleep an average of 15-16 hours a day. During the first few weeks, this sleep is regularly distributed over about 6 sleep phases. However, you have to remember that every child is different and small deviations are completely normal and are no exception.
The individual need for sleep is innate to us. In the first few weeks of life, babies have to learn to adjust to the day and night rhythm and also to adjust to regular food intake. Since babies cannot calm down on their own in the first 3 months, the bedtime ritual in particular is a great challenge in most cases. The small babies are very restless and whine. The problems falling asleep are often accompanied by increased screaming, which is an additional burden for the parents.
In order to fall asleep and calm down, babies need the care and physical contact of their parents. The cradle in the arm or gentle touch gives the baby a feeling of warmth and security and creates a calm atmosphere. In the first few months you should make sure that the babies are freshly swaddled before going to sleep, that you remain calm and that there is a certain regularity. This is the only way for babies to develop a correct rhythm.
Difficulty falling asleep in the baby at 6 months
Most babies have trouble falling asleep, especially in the first year of life. While in the first 3 months almost everything revolves around the satisfaction of basic human needs, such as food intake, adequate sleep and rest, as well as physical attention, the needs of the child gradually change in the following months. Babies 6 months old begin to explore the world and need more attention from their parents. A regular sleep rhythm should gradually set in at 6 months. The babies sleep about 14-15 hours a day.
From the 6th month of life they theoretically get by without an additional nighttime food intake. If the child has trouble falling asleep at this age, it can be helpful to have a regular evening ritual. The babies slowly begin to get used to the processes. Pay attention to a quiet environment, avoid loud noises and do not take the child out of bed immediately when he or she cries. With soft persuasion and a gentle touch, the children can quickly calm down. The presence of their parents is enough for babies to feel safe and secure.
Difficulty falling asleep in the baby at 9 months
The older the babies get, the more the daily need for sleep decreases. Even babies at 9 months old can still have major problems falling asleep. On the one hand, this often affects babies who by this point have not yet developed a regular sleep rhythm or who lack fixed sleep rituals. If the parents have not yet been able to introduce regularity and they lack the consistency in their actions, it is particularly difficult at this age to alleviate the problem of falling asleep.
In addition, at this age, separation anxiety slowly develops in babies. In most cases, separation anxiety arises from the 8th month of life and exacerbates existing sleep problems or leads to new sleep problems in babies who have already developed a regular, independent rhythm by this time. When the parents leave the room, the baby begins to cry and simply cannot be comforted.
In this situation, the baby has to learn to trust the parents that they are nearby and can come immediately if anything should occur. Babies need to be taught that nothing will happen to them when the lights go out and they are alone in their crib. For example, a cuddly toy in bed that shares loneliness with the child and facilitates separation from parents can be helpful. Sometimes it helps to leave a little light on. This reduces the ominous darkness and the babies lose fear.
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Difficulty falling asleep in the baby at 12 months
At the age of 12 months, the child's need for sleep is reduced to around 14 hours. Most babies can sleep through the night and no longer wake up regularly at night. In order to counteract problems falling asleep at this age, parents can observe a few helpful tips that can make the evening bed ritual considerably easier. On the one hand, you should pay attention to a regular routine before going to bed.
In this way, the baby can adjust to sleep and knows exactly which step is next. In addition, at this age, it should be ensured that the child does not sleep too much during the day, as this shortens the night sleep phases. If the child is kept awake during the day, or if it can exercise itself physically during the day, the baby is tired in the evening and can fall asleep more easily. A fixed time also leads to a regularity and a fixed rhythm.
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Homeopathy for sleep disorders
As in many other areas, homeopathy is also used in the case of pronounced sleep problems in babies. If you have trouble falling asleep, a massage with calendula oil can be used to promote the evening rest and ensure a relaxed state. The baby's feet can be massaged with copper ointment, which induces a feeling of warmth and thus gives the baby security and protection.
If nervous restlessness torments babies and prolongs the process of falling asleep, suppositories made from passion flower can be used. They have a calming effect and alleviate restlessness. The use of granules that contain extracts from oats, hops and valerian also alleviates the restlessness that can arise due to fatigue, physical exhaustion and overstimulation. These globules soothe stressed nerves and promote the consolidation of the natural sleep-wake rhythm.
Read more on the topic: Medicines for children and toddlers - which medicines should I have at home?
Sleep table - how long does a baby sleep?
Newborns (up to 28 days of age):
- Total hours of sleep required per day: 16-20 hours
- Sleep a day: 7-8 hours
- Nap: 3 hours
At 6 weeks:
- Total hours of sleep required per day: 15-18 hours
- Sleep a day: 6 - 8 hours
- Nap: 3 hours
At 3 months:
- Total hours of sleep required per day: 12-15 hours
- Sleep a day: 5 hours
- Nap: 3 hours
At 6 months:
- Total hours of sleep required per day: 14 hours
- Sleep a day: 3 - 4 hours
- Nap: 2 hours
At 9 months:
- Total hours of sleep required per day: 14 hours
- Sleep a day: 3 hours
- Nap: 2 hours
At 12 months:
- Total hours of sleep required per day: 12-13 hours
- Sleep a day: 2 - 3 hours
- Nap: 2 hours
These figures are average values that can vary individually for each baby. Every baby is different and has an individual innate need for sleep. It is recommended to adapt the daily routine according to the needs of the baby and not to be confused if other babies need much more or less sleep.