Every parent knows the struggle: the lost hours of sleep, early-morning feedings, a baby who can never sleep through the night. But around the second to fourth months, your baby starts settling into a daily rhythm, and Mom and Dad can finally get more shut-eye.
While their parents tend to suffer from sleep loss, babies spend most of their day sleeping. According to the US National Sleep Foundation, infants six to nine months old sleep for about 10 to 11 hours each night. They also take two-hour naps during the day.
But even as they approach the first year, some babies still won't sleep through the night because of sleep regression in the fourth up to the 10th months—but note that it's not a developmental setback. During this period, your baby is going through a "developmental leap," which can cause sleep disruptions, according to a baby sleep coach.
Here are some ways to help a nine-month-old baby sleep through the night.
1. Pinpoint the cause.
What could be causing your baby to wake up in the middle of the night? Would she rather practice crawling than snooze? Did she accidentally wake herself up by rolling over? After all, her motor skills are developing. Or maybe teething pains are to blame. Knowing the root cause helps you figure out what to do next.
2. Change your baby's nap schedule.
Does he still nap thrice a day? Ensure that the third naptime is the shortest and not too close to his actual bedtime. Doing so will help your baby fall asleep faster and wake up less at night, according to the US National Sleep Foundation.
3. Develop a bedtime routine.
Consistency is key. The first step in this routine must be mealtime, advises the Pediatric Sleep Council. Next would be a pre-bedtime bath (it's a good idea if your baby is a messy eater!), followed by some quiet cuddling with storytelling or music in a comfortable chair or even in bed. Relaxing your baby puts her in the right state of mind to sleep.
4. Give your baby a massage.
Giving your baby a massage not only helps him relax and de-stess but also encourages bonding and cognitive development, among other things. Your touch can also trigger the release of the hormone melatonin, which induces sleep. Massage therapy can help improve sleep in infants, states the American Massage Therapy Association after a review of medical studies.
Talk him through the massage. Tell a story, or sing to him while carefully stroking and kneading each part of his body, from their head down to their torso. Watch this video for a quick baby-massage tutorial.
Using a lubricant like lotion is important, as it can make the strokes feel more soothing. Warm it by rubbing your hands together.
Of course, you can't use just any lotion on your baby; choose one that's gentle, hypoallergenic, and pH-neutral for the skin. Baby Dove is more than just gentle, it also helps moisturize your baby's delicate skin. Its Sensitive Moisture and Rich Moisture variants help your LO's skin stay soft and ready for cuddles and snuggles. Go beyond gentle, and #ChooseMoisture with Baby Dove.
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