5 Tips To Help Parents Get Rest When Their Baby Isn't Sleeping Through The Night
Is your 6 month old sleeping through the night?
Maybe not and that’s OK, at least for your baby. You, on the other hand, may need some rest.
Let's start with your baby. Does their lack of sleep pose any risk to their health or development?
A recent study in Pediatrics looked at the percentage of babies who were sleeping through the night (6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep). The study went on to further explore the relationship between sleeping through the night and future development.
The bad news
At 6 months, about 4 out of 10 babies are still not sleeping 6 consecutive, uninterrupted hours. At 12 months, it’s still close to 3 out of 10 babies that are not sleeping 6 straight hours.
If you change the definition of “sleeping through the night” to 8 hours, the numbers get even worse.
So, if you have a newborn or you’re expecting soon…prepare yourself for the possibility that you won’t be getting a great night’s sleep for a while.
The good news
The study also didn't find an association between maternal mood and baby’s sleep.
This contradicts two potential misconceptions about sleep and a mother’s moods:
- Mom’s mood can be affected by lack of sleep. While this might be true for an individual mom, the study did not show it across the study population.
- Mom’s mood could be affecting the baby’s ability to sleep.
The best news
One of the major concerns about babies who don’t sleep well has been whether it has any effect on their development. Results showed that the lack of sleeping through the night had no effect on their later mental development. So, while it may be frustrating and exhausting, at least you don’t have to worry about negative effects in development later in life.
But what about you?
So if your baby isn't sleeping through the night, how are you doing? You're already exhausted from taking care of your newborn, now you just want to get some rest. Here are 5 tips that might help you when your baby isn’t sleeping through the night:
- Do your best to rest or sleep when your baby is sleeping during the day. Sometimes this isn’t possible because of older siblings or housework, but it saves a lot of frustration during those long nights when you can.
- Don’t rescue your baby at the first stirring. Give them a second to calm themselves down. They might just surprise you.
- After your baby is established in their growth, you don’t have to feed them for every nighttime awakening.
- Get help. If it’s a partner, grandparent or friend-having a one night break from getting up can seem like a life saver for an exhausted parent.
- Turn off your monitor, if your baby is close enough for you to hear if they get really upset. Having the monitor turned off (or at least down), so that you don’t wake up to their every stirring can also help you get a better night’s sleep ... even if they aren’t sleeping through the night.
Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.
Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Smith is an experienced keynote speaker for a variety of topics including pediatric/parenting topics, healthcare social media and physician leadership. If you are interested in having Dr. Smith present to your conference or meeting, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's checkupnewsroom.com. He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.