While you might be craving a solid night's sleep, your sensitive sleeper might have different ideas. Some babies simply have fitful tendencies when it comes to sleeping, whether it's being easily woken up through sound or being affected by various health and development issues. If your little one tends to be a light sleeper, address the issues that could be keeping him up at night and during naps so you can all get a little peace.
Use Sleep Associations
Renowned pediatrician Dr. William Sears suggests the use of sleep associations on his website. Sleep associations are objects, sounds, smells and routines that tell your baby it's time to sleep. Some sensitive sleepers are disturbed by changes in routine, so a sleep association -- like a specific light blanket, dim lighting or a warm bath before bed -- can help prep your little one for slumber. Of course, babies can become attached to their sleep associations, like pacifiers or being rocked to sleep, so choose one that is easily manageable and that you're comfortable using each night.
Turn on White Noise
Sensitive sleepers can be easily disturbed by even small household sounds. While the turning of a doorknob might sound quiet to you, it can startle a light sleeper. While you can't exactly order silence every time your little one naps or sleeps, you can use white noise to drown out some of the noises that keep your baby up at night. You can purchase a white noise machine, but you can also use any safe machine that emits a steady, low noise, like a fan, washing machine, radio set to static, cool mist humidifier or even a smartphone app.
Check Baby's Pajamas
Sensitive sleepers can be disturbed by things and lack the communication skills to tell you what's wrong. In the tome "The Baby Sleep Book: The Complete Guide to a Good Night's Rest for the Whole Family," Dr. Sears recommends checking your little one's PJ's if he isn't sleeping well at night. He warns that blend fabrics can often irritate a baby's skin and suggests switching to 100 percent cotton or trying footless pajamas for baby's who dislike the sensation of fabric on their feet. If you're desperate for sleep, think outside the box and see what conditions could be causing your little one to wake.
Talk to Your Pediatrician
If the conditions are perfect and you have a sleep routine in place, yet your little one is still waking frequently, talk to your pediatrician. Your baby's routine can be disrupted by a number of things, including teething, physical development and growth. What may seem like an overly sensitive baby might actually be changes that are affecting your little one's sleep patterns and regular routine. These are often short-lived and you can go back to a more predictable sleep routine in time. Until then, prepare to burn the midnight oil and be realistic about your sleep expectations.
- Ask Dr. Sears: 31 Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep and Stay Asleep
- The Baby Sleep Book: The Complete Guide to a Good Night's Rest for the Whole Family; William Sears, Robert Sears, James Sears, Martha Sears
- Medline Plus: Colic and Crying
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