There is a story that it is good to start sleep training when a baby is born. Listening to this story, many of you may be wondering, do babies need sleep training? Here, 'sleep education' does not mean that children are separated from their parents and forced to sleep by crying.
It is good to approach it in the sense of teaching a child what 'sleeping' is. Today we are going to talk about sleep education secrets for babies before 3 months of age!
Sleep Education Goals for Babies Before 3 Months of Age
What is the most important sleep education for babies before 3 months of age? There are two goals. The first is to create good sleep habits. Second, it prevents bad sleep habits from forming in advance. Most sleep education after 5-6 months of age is focused on correcting the bad sleeping habits that have already occurred.
Before 3 months of age, the sleeping habits may not have been formed yet, so it is good to take care not to develop bad sleep habit. Aim to gradually lengthen the feeding intervals and maintain a regular daily routine.
I'm curious about a more specific method!
1. Avoid bad sleep habits.
What sleep habits should babies and parents avoid? One is a habit of sleeping only when breastfeeding or having someone hug the baby. If you breastfeed or hold your baby every time you put them to sleep, you’ll need to repeat the same behavior even after 3 months of age to increase the chances of your baby falling asleep.
If possible, place breastfeeding at the beginning of the sleep ritual, and if you feel sleepy, give your baby a hug for a while, but lay them down before they fall asleep to help your child fall asleep on their own. To do this, we need to create a 'eat-play-sleep' pattern.
If you have a 'play-eat-sleep' pattern, your baby is more likely to fall asleep while breastfeeding. Adjust your daily routine so that your child has a 'eat-play-sleep' pattern from an early age.
Tip: If your child is crying while sleeping, and it has been a while since you put the baby to sleep, do not hold them right away to comfort him. At first, try to start with the intervention of soothing and patting while saying calm words.
There is a possibility that the baby will calm down more easily than expected. It is difficult for new mothers but avoid running to hug or feed your baby as soon as they cry.
2. Gradually increase the interval between feedings.
Suzy Giordano, author of “Twelve Hours' Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old” and a pioneer in the field of early childhood consultants, cites controlling the interval between feedings as a key to her sleep education.
You can't sleep for a long time when you're hungry; aren't babies and adults alike? Increase the interval between feedings little by little so that your baby can gradually eat a lot at once. They can sleep longer if they are not hungry often.
Tip: However, there is an exception to this. In the case of esophageal reflux, symptoms may worsen if the feeding interval is long and if the baby eats a lot at one time. In this case, keep the feeding interval short and constant, or whatever best reduces your child’s esophageal reflux.
3. Keeping Your Daily Routine Regular
If you go to bed at 9 pm one day, go to sleep at 11 pm the other day, and sleep at different times, it will also be difficult for your baby to have a sleeping pattern. To make your baby's day regular, you need a habit of recording and observing your routine and your baby’s routines.
Check your baby's comfort and sleep schedule by recording daily routines such as waking up in the morning, first feeding time, feeding term, nap time, sleeping place, and physical condition. Observing your baby's daily routine for several days gives you an objective view of your baby's life, allowing you to effectively correct bad habits.
Occasionally there will be exceptions, but you will be able to see a tendency for your child to fall asleep at roughly certain times, and what made them fall asleep.
Author: Eun-Kyung Beom, Pediatrician- Baby Sleep Education Expert
- Director of Baby Sleep Research Institute
- Formerly Director of Gwangju Central Children's Hospital