If you’re a first-time parent, understanding your toddler’s sleep habits and patterns can be difficult, to say the least. In fact, most parents find themselves feeling confused and overwhelmed by their little ones’ behavior.
Often, people feel like sleep issues are just something their toddler will outgrow. And, while this is true to an extent, certain things might call for your assistance. Here are a few common toddler sleep-related queries, answered.
1. Why Does My Toddler Wake Up At Night?
Sleepless nights for your toddler translate to stressful nights for yourself. And, although it might seem like there’s something wrong with your child, you don’t have to worry too much.
Babies are born with instincts that help them survive. Waking up is a part of these instincts and is normal. Here are a few things that might cause your toddler to wake up.
- Feeling too hot or cold: If your baby is sweating, he might be dressed too warmly. Alternatively, if your baby’s shivering he might not be covered enough. Waking up prevents your toddler from falling sick.
- Being sick: In continuation with the last point, if there are changes in the way your toddler sleeps or if he’s breathing too quickly, do a quick temperature check. And, if you’re concerned, contact a doctor immediately.
- Hunger: Babies’ stomachs are about the size of their fists and their stomachs can only hold a small amount each time they feed. This is why they wake up often, especially newborn babies who might feed about 12 times in 24 hours.
Hence, once you understand that babies wake up often to seek help, you’re less likely to worry about their sleep cycle. If you do notice any unusual behavior, however, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional.1
2. How Can I Avoid Sleep Accidents?
It’s impossible to be able to watch over your baby’s actions when they’re asleep, especially because you’re likely to doze off at some point as well. Here are a few things you should do to ensure that your toddler doesn’t hurt himself while sleeping.
- Ensure that you put your baby on his back, not the tummy or the side.
- Don’t cover their face and head with a blanket. This might suffocate them, causing them to have breathing problems.
- Keep pets out of the room that your toddler is asleep in. They might sleep too close to the toddler, causing them to change their position. Alternatively, they might unknowingly smother them, especially if their face is covered.
- Avoid keeping toys in your toddler’s crib since they might choke on them.
- Don’t expose your toddler to tobacco smoke at any point in time.
- For the first 12 months, let your toddler sleep in a crib next to your bed.
- Do not make the toddler sleep next to you. Studies state that this increases the risk of fatal sleeping accidents.
Additionally, if you are cuddling or playing with your toddler, make sure to place him in his crib before going back to bed. This is especially important if you tend to fall asleep easily or are stressed and tired.2
3. What To Do If My Toddler Can’t Sleep?
It can get extremely frustrating for you if your toddler can’t seem to be able to sleep. This is especially true if you haven’t had enough sleep for a long time. Here are a few things you can do to help your toddler relax.
- Give him a warm bath.
- Massage him with gently warmed olive oil.
- Play classical music quietly in the room with the lights dimmed. Repetitive songs can be very reassuring for toddlers.
- Cradle your toddler in your arms, rock him back and forth and talk softly to them.
- Sometimes, babies under the age of four months feel more secure and cozy if they are gently wrapped in a muslin cloth. This also prevents them from jerking themselves awake with random arm movements. However, when you do wrap them in a cloth, make sure that they have enough room to expand their chest and breathe. Additionally, allow their legs to bend at the hips.
- Gently pat them on their underside until they start dozing off.
In addition to these things, set a routine for your toddler and stick to it. This will help them get used to a sleeping pattern. Set out supplies like clean nappies, wipes, and a change of clothes before you head to bed, so you won’t have to search for them in the night.3
4. When Can I Replace The Crib With A Bed?
As a parent, you’ve probably kept track of all your little one’s milestones, right from the first time they walked to the first time they cracked a smile. One important milestone that most parents are confused about is when to move their toddler from a crib to a big bed.
Most toddlers get too big for a crib. This happens around the age of 2. Here are a few signs that you can watch out for to tell when your toddler is ready to make the shift.
- They are able to pull themselves up and over the crib.
- The height of the top rail is less than three-quarters of the child’s height when the mattress is at its lowest setting.
- They can put their leg on top of the rail, even if they haven’t climbed over yet.
- Your toddler is 35 inches tall.
Once you do make the shift from a crib to a bed, you can place guardrails to the bed to avoid falls. Ensure that you only give your child a pillow after the age of 2 and when you do, make sure that it’s a small and firm pillow.4
Keep an eye on your toddler for the first couple of months, to ensure that they aren’t facing any difficulties. And, when you’re in doubt or confused about what to do, reach out to a professional.