One of the biggest concerns that parents with a new baby have, especially a few weeks after dealing with nighttime feedings, is how to help their baby sleep longer at night. They want their baby to be able to rest, and they want to get some rest themselves. Getting your baby to sleep through the night is as much about your baby and her personal preferences and development, of course, as it is about the things that you do or don’t do to try to make it happen.
One thing that parents may try to do is to shorten their baby’s naps, or to put him to bed later. The problem with this approach is that your baby can wind up becoming over-tired. If you try to get your baby to sleep at a different time that what he’s used to, or at a different time than what his body is telling him that he ought to sleep, you could wind up with problems.
What kinds of problems can this kind of sleep adjustment tactic cause? Well, for starters, your baby might wind up being overtired. This means that, in the long run, your baby is going to be harder to get to fall asleep when it is time to sleep, rather than making it easier. On top of all of that, a baby that is overtired may also wind up waking up more often during the night, and have a harder time falling back asleep after he does wake up during the night.
Ultimately, you need to be sensitive to your baby’s needs, even when her needs might conflict with your own. There are things you can do to help your baby sleep, such as swaddling, eliminating noise and light from her room, and other activities. Forcing a sleep schedule on her, however, will only frustrate both you and baby.