8 months old
Common Sleep Problems
While you’re most likely past the up-every-three-hour phase (hopefully!), having a child means there’s always a chance that you could unexpectedly have a sleep-less night. It’s not because your baby isn’t a good sleeper or that sleep training was a failure, but there are certain instances that naturally cause everyone in the house to get a little less shut-eye:
- Whether your baby’s first tooth is just popping through or he or she already has a few whites to shine, the gum inflammation and associated pain can make sleeping uncomfortable.
- While it’s true that those first few teeth usually cause the most discomfort, don’t assume that you’re in the clear. Understand that any tooth cutting through your baby’s gums is going to be painful.
- We know that it can feel frustrating to regress back to the all-night rocking and shushing reminiscent of the newborn era, but your baby needs your comfort and soothing techniques
- If you suspect that teething could be the problem, this isn’t the time for “tough love” or even sleep-training strategies.
- If this is your first foray into the world of teething, read up on what to expect and how to soothe your baby.
Colds and other illnesses
- If your baby is consistently having a hard time sleeping, check in with your doctor. Sometimes chronic conditions like ear infections, sinus issues and digestive problems like reflux can keep a baby up.
- Illnesses like colds and stomach bugs can definitely cause sleepless nights as well, but those are usually easier to identify and anticipate.
- If your baby has a cold, here are a few things you can do:
- Put a pillow, towel or blanket under your baby’s mattress to slightly elevate one side. Even though your baby is older, you still shouldn’t prop him or her with a pillow or loose blankets, as it can be a suffocation risk.
- A humidifier in your baby’s room can help ease congestion and coughing.
- Make sure you have a nasal aspirator (for mucous sucking), saline drops (for clogged noses), petroleum jelly (for chapped noses), and infant acetaminophen (for fever reducing) on hand. Never give your baby cold medicine or aspirin.
- Increase your baby’s fluid intake during the day, which includes water and possibly a little juice. (Here’s a good chance to practice those cup-drinking skills!)
- If you suspect your baby has an ear infection, call your doctor immediately. You might know your baby has an ear infection if he or she:
- Grabs at his or her ears, seemingly in pain.
- Starts running a fever – even if it’s only slight.
- Has a sudden change in sleeping, eating and behavioral habits.
- Has any type of fluid draining from his or her ear – which indicates a more serious infection.
- If your baby is up all night vomiting or has diarrhea, you’ll need to prevent your baby from becoming dehydrated with an over-the-counter rehydration fluid like Pedialyte. Find out more on what to do here. Like all other illnesses, it’s important to be there for your baby – which means a little less sleep all around.
- Daylight Savings Time is almost always frustrating for parents, especially those who are finally settling into a consistent routine. While it’s true that “springing ahead” and “falling back” can cause slight disruptions in your baby’s wake-up and bed times, it’s usually a very short adjustment period.
- You can ease the transition by slowly moving your baby’s bedtime in 15 minutes increments, which would be earlier in the spring and later in the fall.
- Sometimes a baby’s schedule will slightly change after a time change, in which you should just follow your baby’s lead.
- Here are some tips for the dreaded “fall back” time change.
- One of the biggest sleep schedule disruptions can be traveling to a different time zone. To help lessen your baby’s confusion:
- If you’re going for a week or less, consider keeping your baby on his or her old time zone. For example, if you’re going west to east coast, think about putting your baby to bed at 10:00 p.m. and make the room as dark as possible to encourage sleeping in the next day. If that’s your approach, set nap times the same way.
- If it’s longer than a week, or keeping the old time zone would be inconvenient (causing a 5:00 p.m. bedtime, for example), move to the new time gradually.
- Try putting your baby to bed 15 minutes earlier or later (depending on where you’re traveling) for about a week before and after your trip.
- When you get to your destination, try and spend as much time outdoors in the sunlight to indicate daytime, and then head indoors to a darker, cozier environment once bedtime rolls around.
- For more information on traveling with babies and kids, read our Travel Safety Guide.
- Even traveling in the same time zone has the potential to cause sleep problems. Any change in your baby’s sleep surroundings and daily routine can be a bit unsettling, especially for parents who follow a strict parent-led schedule. While traveling:
- Try and keep your baby’s feeding, sleeping and eating schedules as consistent as possible.
- If you’re planning on spending a large chunk of time traveling in the car, try to do so during your baby’s nap. On the other hand, if your baby refuses to sleep while in motion, plan to drive during his or her playtime.
- Your baby will also find familiarity and comfort if you continue your consistent bedtime routine. Have your baby’s creature comforts in tow, but travel is one reason to consider having two lovies – if you lose one, it could mean disaster.
- If you’re nursing and your baby is sleeping a full 10 to 12 hours without eating, you may want to pump before you go to bed, or “dream feed” your baby (meaning you gently pick him or her up without waking, and feed in the dark) to protect your supply. Some moms can go the full 12 hours without compromising daytime production, but for some the full time span without expressing breast milk leads to a decrease during the day.