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How to soothe baby to sleep? An understanding of light sleep vs deep sleep ; 4+6 essential tips

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What are the differences between light & deep sleep?
LIGHT SLEEP:
aka REM (rapid eye movement),
our brains wake up,
dream and stir, turn over,
adjust the covers without fully awakening.
Babies have twice as much active, or lighter, sleep as adults.
Light sleep helps the brain develop because the brain doesn’t rest during REM sleep.
During REM sleep the body increases its manufacture of certain nerve proteins, the building blocks of the brain.

DEEP SLEEP:
quiet sleep,
mind and body are quietest,
muscles are loose.

About dreaming while sleeping:
Baby has more dream sleep than adult.
I find it funny when my first son chuckled in his sleep, his tummy vibrating on me and his mouth making a large grin.

How to induce babies to sleep?
1. gentle rock.
2. nurse / breastfeed.
3. sing lullabies.
4. ensure that babies are not too hot.

Blueroselady: I personally find that latching my first son is the most effective,
possibly because it quenches thirst and relieves hunger,
gives warmth and secured feeling through close body contact.

Since my spouse has no breasts,
he sings the soothing Ave Maria and it works.

More modern version:

Unlike adults who can usually go directly into the state of deep sleep,
infants in the early months enter sleep through an initial period of light sleep.
After 20 minutes or more they gradually enter deep sleep,
from which they are not so easily aroused.

Babies have shorter sleep cycles than adults.
About an hour after a baby goes to sleep,
he begins to squirm,
he tosses a bit,
his eyelids flutter,
his face muscles grimace,
he breathes irregularly, and
his muscles tighten.
He is reentering the phase of light sleep.
The time of moving from deep to light sleep is a vulnerable period during which many babies will awaken if any upsetting or uncomfortable stimulus,
such as hunger, occurs.

SOLUTION:
When your baby enters light sleep,
and you are sure that baby is not hungry / breathless,
1. do not move him e.g. from your lap to his cot within the 1st 20 minutes,
2. lay a comforting hand on your baby’s back,
3. hold his hand,
4. sing a soothing lullaby,
5. play soothing music / pre-recorded voices of your singing / saying prayers,
6. be there next to baby if he is in your bed (beware of the risk of pressing into him);
you can help him get through this light sleep period without waking.

Do not force your babies to sleep deep for too long.
Why?
“Nightwaking has survival benefits.
Tiny babies have tiny tummies,
mother’s milk is digested very rapidly.
If a baby’s stimulus for hunger could not easily arouse her,
this would not be good for baby’s survival.
If baby’s nose was stuffed and she could not breathe,
or was cold and needed warmth,
and her sleep state was so deep that she could not communicate her needs,
her survival would be jeopardized.”

But, here is a good news for tired parents:
“From three to six months, most babies begin to settle.
They are awake for longer stretches during the day and some may sleep five-hour stretches at night.
Between three to six months, expect one or two nightwakings.”

A piece of for parents:
“Remember that your baby’s sleep habits are more a reflection of your baby’s temperament rather than your style of nighttime parenting.
And keep in mind that other parents usually exaggerate how long their baby sleeps,
as if this were a badge of good parenting, which it isn’t.
It’s not your fault baby wakes up.”

Personal note:
When our first son was 2 months old,
he loves to wake up at night and needs someone to chat with him.
Oh my goodness!

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Written by blueroselady

March 27, 2013 at 6:06 am

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