When it's time to go to bed, some children start crying as soon as they are placed in the crib, while others rarely experience this situation. The child in the crib crying for a long time is especially distressing for parents. Listening to the heartbreaking cry, standing aside from afar, waiting for the child to fall asleep, was really painful. Faced with a child who is unable to calm down and fall asleep and has a face full of reluctance, parents sometimes feel frustrated and even a little annoyed. A few minutes of crying for a child is as difficult for parents as centuries.
Parents often worry about their children's crying, and they are full of confusion: Is the child crying just for venting? Is it because of feeling lonely? Is it really painful? Looking at the child who was sobbing, many parents couldn't help but surrendered quickly and rushed to the child's bed.
In this regard, the most common question faced by pediatricians is "Should I let my child cry? Should I pick up the child and comfort him?" The more basic question is "How long should he sleep?" To answer these questions, to a large extent, it depends on the age of the child.
Newborns less than one-month-old
During this period, the child sleeps most of the time. When you put your child to sleep in the crib, or when the child wakes up, try to avoid crying. If the child starts to cry, try to comfort her as much as possible, such as singing softly, talking to him quietly, playing soft music, dimming the lights, and shaking him gently. Pick up the child if necessary, and put him back on the bed after five to ten minutes. Only by alleviating the child's discomfort can prolong his sleep time and improve sleep quality.
What signal will a child of this month's age send before going to bed? Will he cry before going to bed? Under normal circumstances, newborns less than one-month-old need to sleep after staying awake for 1 to 2 hours. Sometimes even after waking up for less than 1 hour, they fell asleep again, and rarely can stay awake for 3 hours continuously. If the child is a little upset or crying in a low voice, put him on the bed and watch the situation change. If he is crying more and does not want to sleep, then pick up the child again. But usually, at this time he will soon fall asleep.
Generally speaking, if a child needs a nap but cannot fall asleep, he will signal excessive fatigue and irritability. At this time, to comfort him and let him fall asleep. After the child stays awake for an hour or two, he may need to be comforted to fall asleep. When the child is still awake, but is already drowsy, put him on the bed (this method is particularly effective for naps during the day). If the delay is too long, the child may lose his temper and become more difficult to fall asleep.
In the first few weeks after the child is born, let other adults in the family, such as your lover, child's grandmother, babysitter, etc., participate and help the child form a habit of falling asleep. If only you accompany your child to bed, he will develop a habit, and in the end, only you can comfort him to sleep. The more people involved, the less likely it is that the child will associate falling asleep with a particular scene. This view is sometimes referred to as "many hands". If you are the only one who accompanies the child to sleep, specifically, you always hold the child or gently shake him to sleep, then the child will develop the habit of falling asleep only under this fixed situation.
Another problem that arises in the first few weeks after the child is born is that the father or mother may not get enough sleep. Constantly changing sleep time may make your spouse feel anxious and a little collapse, especially when she finds that she has a lot of responsibilities in her life, lack of sleep will worsen, and the whole person will feel exhausted. At this time, you should support each other. If necessary, let the person who is mainly responsible for looking after the child have more rest time, take a nap, or use other methods to help her recover.
It is important that you and your family agree on a sleep plan for your child. If only one party is involved, the sleep plan cannot be successful. You have to decide together whether you want to take new steps gradually or quickly. Many pediatricians recommend that you start slowly from easy to difficult so that both parents and children can adapt more easily. For example, if you want your child to go to bed early, it’s best to just go to bed a little earlier, so that it will not affect the child’s mood and make it easier to succeed.
Once you change your sleep pattern, you need to observe for a while to see if it works. But don’t rush to see results within a day or two. It takes at least a few days of observation to conclude whether it is worth keeping this change.
Babies around 6 weeks
At this stage, the child's sleep-wake cycle will become more regular. He sleeps longer and longer at night, and may appear sleepy (sometimes crying) earlier in the evening. For example, he used to fall asleep between 9-11 in the evening, but now he starts to fall asleep earlier, perhaps early to between 6-8 in the evening. In the middle of the night, he has the longest continuous sleep time, which can reach 3 to 5 hours.
There are of course individual differences in sleep time, so pay close attention to your child's needs, and expect that he may need to fall asleep earlier-the child's falling asleep time is no longer 11 o'clock in the evening, it has become 8 o'clock in the evening. Let the child fall asleep in advance, if necessary, take some time to comfort him, this can reduce the child’s crying (although the child will be a little irritable, it will not cause any harm), let the child’s own biological clock determine whether it should be a period of three minutes nap or a four-hour nap.
When you and your child adapt to his sleep rhythm, he can gradually learn to fall asleep autonomously after you put him in bed. If this is done, there will be little or no crying when the child falls asleep. By three months, most children can sleep for 6 to 8 hours at night without waking their parents. If the child wakes up too early, don't turn on the lights, close the curtains, soothe him, and let him fall asleep again. Try not to pick up or feed your child.
Babies 4 to 12 months old
When the child is 4 months old and in the following weeks or months, pay close attention to the changes in the child's biological clock, which helps to reduce the child's crying. From 4 months to 1 year old, most babies need to take two naps during the day, once in the morning and once at noon; some children will also sleep in the afternoon. Try to help your child develop a regular nap time. The first sleep in the morning is around 9 o'clock, the second at noon is around 1 o'clock, and the third in the afternoon if necessary. Most parents are reluctant to wake up a child during a nap because sleep is precious to the child. Unless the child has difficulty falling asleep at night, the child can sleep for as long as he can sleep; if there is difficulty falling asleep, consult a pediatrician to see if you should wake your child before he wakes up in the afternoon nap. If the child’s nap is too late, it may be that he goes to bed late at night, and the child needs to take a long nap to partially supplement the lack of night sleep. At this time, the third nap during the day should be canceled and the night time for bed should be advanced. When the child is about 9 months old, try to cancel the afternoon nap so that the child can fall asleep early at night.
In this age group, the child’s night sleep is the longest sleep period of the day. By about 8 months, the child should be able to sleep continuously for 10 to 12 hours without waking up to breastfeed at night. At this age, if a child is overly fatigued and cries when he sees the bed, it means that his daytime nap may be too short (less than 30 minutes), and his daytime nap does not meet the biological clock, or maybe it’s too late for the child to go to bed at night. If you go to bed too late, you can at least temporarily let him go to bed in advance, for example, let him go to bed at 5:30 or 6 o'clock to solve his fatigue problem. If your child is crying, you should check for any abnormalities, talk to him in a low voice, and comfort him. If necessary, you can change the diaper to make him feel comfortable. The lights should be dimmed, but the child cannot be picked up or walked around. This will only make him more awake. After the child falls asleep, leave the room gently. Over time, you should gradually reduce your attention to your child at night. This helps him realize that you will not show up when he cries and scream, so that he will learn to soothe himself, such as sucking his hands, shaking his head, or rubbing the sheets.
It’s important to remember: Sometimes you may have to let your child cry for a while and then fall asleep by himself. This will not cause any harm, and there is no need to worry about what information may be hidden behind these crying. Remember, you have been telling your child how much you love him and how to care for him during the day. At night, he should form this concept: night is the time to sleep, and making him cry is to help him learn to comfort himself. He will not think that you are abandoning him, or that you no longer love him; your behavior during the day has let him know that this is not the case at all, you don't need to worry about crying at night.