Bad Sleeping Habits for Babies
Updated: Nov 13, 2022
As a new parent, you probably do everything you can to make sure your baby is comfortable and happy. But what about those nights when your little one isn’t sleeping? If your baby has trouble falling or staying asleep, it may be because of some bad habits that are affecting his or her ability to sleep. Knowing which bad habits will affect your baby’s ability to sleep is just as important as knowing how to practice good ones.
1. Lack of a sleep routine
The first bad habit we're going to discuss is lack of a sleep routine. Babies are incapable of self-soothing, so they need parents to help them fall asleep at night and nap during the day. Without establishing a set routine for your child, he or she could end up being fussy throughout the night and not be able to rest well during naps.
To create bedtime or nap routines for your baby, get into the habit of doing the same things in the same order each time you put him down for bed or take him out of his crib. This will help him get accustomed to this pattern so that when it comes time for bedtime or nap time, he knows what's expected of him (and you).
2. Exposing your baby to light and noise during naps and bedtime
Napping in the car seat.
Napping in a stroller.
Napping in a carrier.
Napping in an infant seat or swing.
The problem with any of these options is that they all expose your baby to light and noise, which can disrupt their sleep cycle, leading to poor naps and night sleep as well as longer morning wake-up times and cranky moods for you both!
So what can you do to help your baby nap better? The answer is simple: get them out of the stroller and into a dark, quiet place.
3. Swaddling your baby with too much fabric
Excessive swaddling can cause overheating. Babies should be dressed comfortably and never allowed to get too warm, as this can lead to overheating and even SIDS in extreme cases. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you don't swaddle your baby too tightly or for longer than one hour at a time, as it can limit movement and cause hip dysplasia.
If you have any concerns about your baby’s swaddling, or if you suspect that he is overheating, remove the swaddle and check his temperature. If your baby feels warm to the touch, then it’s time to take off his layers of clothing.
This is why it is best to find a Swaddle or Sleep sack designed to prevent all of this in the first place
4. Using a pacifier the wrong way
You should be using the pacifier to help the baby express her natural need to suck during the day, not to replace breastfeeding. It's fine for your baby to have a pacifier on hand at all times, but you should never use it as a replacement for nursing your child or an attempt to soothe him when he's upset. Also, don't use it as a sleep aid. If your baby falls asleep with his pacifier in his mouth—or even if he just seems more comfortable keeping it there—don't let him doze off that way! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents take the binky away once their little one reaches six months old and no later than 12 months old (though most pediatricians recommend giving up the binky sooner).
5. Picking up the baby every time he or she cries
There are times when you should pick up your baby. For example, if he or she is crying because they need to be fed or have a dirty diaper, then it's okay to pick them up. Babies cry for many reasons and if you can determine what the problem is and assist with solving it, that's great! However, there are other times when your newborn will cry without any apparent reason. When this happens in the middle of the night (and it will) keep calm and don't get frustrated with yourself or your child; just go about your business and wait for morning light when things are easier to resolve.
It's important to remember that your newborn is not trying to drive you crazy, they are just learning how the world works. They don't know any better and neither do you. So be patient with yourself and your baby and try not to get frustrated when things aren't working out as planned.
6. Feeding your baby foods that are not good for sleep
Avoid foods that are not good for sleep.
Don't feed your baby before bedtime (especially if you're breastfeeding).
Avoid giving your baby hard or crunchy foods, such as nuts and seeds, which can get stuck in the back of their throat and cause them to choke.
Cut down on caffeine intake: it can make babies more alert, which won't help anyone get a restful night's sleep!
Don't let your baby sleep on their belly: it increases the risk of SIDS. Don't let your baby sleep with objects or loose bedding in the crib, this can pose a suffocation hazard. If you do use a blanket, make sure it's tucked firmly under the mattress and not covering your baby's face.
7. Having noisy toys in the sleeping area
Noise can be a problem for babies, especially if they're not used to it. If you must use a noisy toy, make sure it isn't too loud and place it far away from the baby's crib or bassinet so that he or she isn't overwhelmed by the noise.
It's best to avoid white noise machines when possible because some research has shown that they may cause sleep disturbances in young children and adults alike. Most experts agree that white noise devices are okay for older infants who have been exposed to them since birth; however, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using them only as needed and not as part of your routine at night.
8. Babies sleeping stooped over
Remember that when it comes to your baby's sleep position, the safest choice is to keep them on their backs. Babies who sleep on their stomachs are more likely to develop flat spots on the back of their heads and this can lead to lifelong issues later in life like learning disabilities and behavioral problems.
If you want your baby to grow up as healthy as possible, avoid letting them sleep stooped over or face down for long periods at a time (like when you're putting them down for naps or bedtime). This can lead to an abnormal curvature of the spine called scoliosis.
Luckily there are some things you can do so that your little one will start sleeping on their backs before they've learned how:
Use a firm crib mattress with no blankets or pillows inside
Sleep positioners make it easier for babies who still have trouble staying put!
Use a swaddle blanket to create a safe space for your baby. This will help them feel secure without having to worry about rolling over.
Knowing which bad habits will affect your baby’s ability to sleep is just as important as knowing how to practice good ones.
Knowing which bad habits will affect your baby’s ability to sleep is just as important as knowing how to practice good ones. If you want your baby to get a full night’s rest, follow these simple tips:
Place them on their back. It will reduce the risk of SIDS and help them breathe more easily.
Make sure the room is dark and quiet for sleeping. It may be hard for babies with heavy eyelids, but if you can manage it, try not to make any noise in the nursery while they rest (even when changing diapers). This will help keep your little one calm during their naps and at night when they go into REM sleep — which means less fussing!
Make sure they have a safe sleeping environment. It’s important to create an environment where your baby feels comfortable and secure, which will help them sleep better. Make sure the room is cool enough that they don’t get too hot; if necessary, use a fan or air conditioning unit to keep the temperature down during nap time. Also, make sure there aren’t any objects in the crib that could pose a hazard (like toys that could fall on their head).
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We hope this article has helped you identify some of the bad habits that might be affecting your baby’s ability to sleep. Remember, every baby and family is different, so what works for one may not work for another. But if you keep in mind these eight potential pitfalls and do your research before implementing any new practice, then hopefully you’ll have better luck getting your little one off to dreamland!