The babies in the circle all seem to stay asleep long ago. Only your own baby will not sleep forever, sleeps little or logs almost every hour, night after night. A crash course in baby sleep for overtired parents.

Individual sleep requirements: What's the "sleep through" baby?


Photo: © Fotolia / nd3000

share a dream probably all new parents: that their baby would soon please sleep through. Because everyday life with baby is often so exhausting that they are fast at the end of their forces when even at night does not come to rest. Incidentally, the topic of sleep for mothers usually even greater than for fathers, as a recent study suggests. Researchers have in fact found that women get with children in the household rarely enough sleep and feel tired during the day usually as childless. This is of course not yet really surprising result. The study results also showed that while children shortened the sleep of mothers in the household, however, had no impact on how long the men slept. Mom wakes up and snoring Papa? Maybe something yesterday's. But a tendency to poorer sleep the mother of course there are already - through nocturnal breastfeeding and hormonal characteristics. However, in many cases, the word sounds "by sleeping" safe for mothers and for fathers soon like a beautiful dream. And so arouses some unrealistic expectation. "Asleep does not mean that a child is already sleeping ten or twelve hours at a time, this is the exception. It means that a baby sleeping six to eight hours, "says psychologist Dr. Jörn Borke, head of the Baby Clinic at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Osnabrück in which parents, among others be advised to sleep problems in their babies. This means that if an infant by 20 o'clock in the evening put to sleep, it can already be rested between two and four o'clock in the morning, "Finn wacht currently every night around two o'clock and then sleeps two whipped hours not one. He also has not tired, "one mother describes this problem in an online forum for parents.

Sleep for the baby: Gentle redistribution of sleeping hours

"In such a case, parents can live a few days sleep diary and determine the average sleep needs of her child over 24 hours," advises Dr. Bark in Urbia conversation, "because the individual sleep needs of babies can be very different." The Swiss development researcher Prof. Remo H. Largo calculated here a range of between twelve and 20 hours in the first months of life. Using the sleep diary can then redistribute the sleep times of their child parents. "You can lie down at night their child later so that it wakes up later in the morning. You can also try to make it shorter sleep during the day to make it a total night asleep longer, "says Parents advisor bark. It is also important that the baby no variety is offered at night, but the light remains subdued and speak the parents quietly. Thus the child learns over time that the night peace and quiet means.

Sleeping baby bottles by better?

However, many parents may also have a baby who sleeps at night six hours at a stretch, only dream of. "My mouse was eleven months old and still breastfeeding. but they would currently drink each hour earlier it was only every three hours. I go on the gums, I can not! Should I stop breastfeeding and give her the evening Schmelzflocken? "Asks an overtired mother in an online forum. While making some parents actually experience that her baby with bottle feeding starch (from type 1) less often wakes up at night. But it does not work. Studies have demonstrated no association between the awakening of babies and the type or amount of food.

Short sleep times in the baby are innate

It is rather the legacy of ancient times, that brings babies to also be often awake at night "sleeping through the night is not part of the normal development of young children," says pediatrician Dr. Herbert Renz-pad. "The light sleeping has to do with the drinking readiness. Between three and four, the age at which children were previously usually weaned, it will automatically fixed, "said the scientists from the University of Heidelberg.

Swaddling - swaddled babies sleep better

Our ancestors observed: Eng wrapped in towels infants sleep better. In many regions of the world is wrapping babies still life, such as China, Russia, Eastern Europe or Latin America. For several years this "spitting" of babies is being rediscovered in the Western world. A study at the Carl-Thiem-Klinikum Cottbus, a teaching hospital of the Berlin Charité, revealed 2009: babies who slept in the used for the study Wickelkissen "Cosyme" that encloses the arms, woke up to half less often than babies in a conventional sleeping bag with little arms free. Other studies have observed that babies by the "Swaddling" (English. Wrapping) sleep better and longer overall. The proportion of the so-called. Non-REM sleep (deep sleep phase) is increased. That the baby is always placed in the supine position during Swaddling and could not swing itself, also is expected to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Spit in moderation

But the Swaddling among scientists is not without controversy. An English study from 2009 showed that there may still be a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: The risk of overheating is increased, especially if the baby has a feverish infection. Some studies also observed an increased risk for hip dysplasia, for respiratory infections and a delayed onset of crawling or walking. Also a frequent flattening of the back of the head of the baby through the long lying in the same position was observed. Swaddled babies also have less body contact with the mother, which makes their interaction with the baby. Parents who do not want to give up the benefits of Puckens should wrap her baby only at night (ie the duration limit) and plug it with infection in a light, regular sleeping bag with free arms.

Sleep - without the aid is not

But before they can think about sleeping through the night her baby, many mothers and fathers must first bring their child at all to sleep. Their efforts drive occasionally strange flowers. As you can see sighing mothers who carry the baby every night two hours. Or hollow-eyed fathers who turn lonely laps in the car, because the baby falls asleep only in the moving car. "Go the fuck to sleep" ( "! Fucking hell, sleep 'a') said the US author Adam Mansbach his daughter one day end up with the nerves - and made it summarily a book with the same title, which became a bestseller has been.

Why the baby does not come to sleep?

But why do many babies fall asleep so much support from their parents that sometimes come to the limit of their powers? "Fall asleep when it is tired, is a major regulatory challenge for a child's first year of life. How quickly this succeeds a baby is a little hit and miss for the parents. It depends on the personality and the temperament of the child. Some children need a lot of support in falling asleep, some less, "says psychologist Dr. Bark. But mothers and fathers should always look at how much support really need their child. "Parents do not have to go to extremes. You can also perform with gentle methods brought about a change.

Newborn babies like it monotonous

But how can look like a gentle change? "Parents can the child who is perhaps far fallen asleep only on the arm, first carry around something, but then lie there awake, stroke it a little and sing him something," said bark. Of course, parents would face protest of the babies when they handle the Einschlafritual suddenly different. "You have even often initially set to even more strenuous nights until success finally rewarded the effort." The fact that a child protesting here is quite normal, parents should bear this quiet. "It is important that they do not leave the child alone, so more comforting act on it and are just there."

the baby will then succumb to what the Regensburger psychologist and sleep expert Professor in the long run Jürgen Zulley called "monotonous stimulation". Namely the deliberately dull uniformity and reliability of a bedtime ritual. These include for Zulley as soothing, quiet lullabies, "but even better are rhythmic movements as in the good old cradle. Many parents use a jumping ball on which it "rocking gently with the little ones, the President of the German Academy for health and sleep (DAGS).

Often the baby is not tired enough

If a child but despite all the help from the parents for a long time needs to fall asleep, it is often simply not tired enough. "Again, it helps if parents a few days lead a sleep diary for the baby," advises Dr. Bark. Parents could this total sleep requirement then distribute differently: So, for example, the child lie down in the evening later, or put to sleep during the shorter it, that it may be sooner tired in the evening. "If we want to change something on the sleep patterns of a child, then we must have patience and for seven to 14 days to be consistent with our policies," to stresses Professor Remo Largo. For as long as needed, the body functions of the child to adapt to the new rhythm.

When the young leave the patience

But sometimes the baby does not sleep, even though it looks very tired. It then sometimes looks almost as if the young defend against sleep. But this is deceptive: "No infant resists falling asleep. Since he can not imagine missing equal something, there is no reason for him to fight any physical need, "says pediatrician Dr. Rüdiger Posth from Bergisch Gladbach in its advisory forum. The problem is another: "For the sleep a person needs sufficient fatigue. but the u. a. caused by the sleep hormone melatonin. In the brain enough receiver sites for this hormone must be available at specific receptors. but these are only formed during the first years out. "

Too tired to fall asleep

It could happen, therefore, that a baby can not sleep, even though he felt a pressing need for it. "And then he's just like us adults too, when we are extremely tired, but not allowed to sleep (for example, during a boring lecture.). We are very jittery and nervous" Posth recommends here "patient carrying around, as well as On long-bed seats and songs singing. "Even music calm, and that certainly not only the slow pieces. With time so ripe for sleep behavior, if not quite take place by itself in the first year.

Small course in baby talk

So a baby falling eyes, but also the "bilateral agreement" between the child and parents must work. Otherwise it could happen that although the baby signaled: "I'm tired!", But the parents do not respond appropriately to it because they see the signs, or believe that it is the wrong time to sleep.

Newborns and Sleep

Newborns are about every hour and a half tired. Older babies have certain times ( "sleep window") to which they can fall asleep. If the time is exceeded, they will perk up again to again be tired after 50 to 60 minutes. So, it helps if parents recognize this time window. And these are the typical signals of a tired baby: stare, frowning or grimacing, yawning, eye or ear rubbing, crying or whining, jerky movements, clenching of the fists, is stiff making, fewer movements, averting the face, short and rhythmic sucking. But there are also babies (ie in the next time window) are tired enough at the second attempt to actually fall asleep. Here, parents need to gain experience with their child and learn to trust their observations.

Has our child a sleep disorder?

But when her baby despite all efforts continue to wake up six times a night, or can be put to sleep at night with only two hours at the bed-seats, parents often suspect a sleep disorder. But babies can really already have insomnia? "When babies under six months, it is assumed that there are natural and normal adjustment disorders when they have a quite irregular sleep patterns," said Dr. Bark of the Baby Clinic at the University of Osnabrück. But even with older babies who were still asleep quite rough, applies: "Usually it is the child quite well with his sleep pattern, it is rather the parents who - due to fatigue - have the problem."

Ancient needs in a modern world

It is therefore helpful to ask yourself: What can already and what is not our child at this age - "So to normalize sooner rather than problematize" said bark. "In the Western world, we place great emphasis on self-reliance in our children, in a private room and a bed for the baby. Sometimes we overestimate while his skills to independently asleep or staying asleep. however, among primitive peoples, it is considered normal that the children do not sleep alone at night and wake up still quite a long time and be satisfied. "Even pediatrician and author Dr. Herbert Renz-cushion stresses: "If a child were poled out, happy to sleep alone, it would not have survived his childhood in most of human history. To be safe and secure, it had to close by adults seek and demand for emergency emphatically. "Therefore, many babies sleep better when they are in a bed (" Baby balcony ") may lie next to the parents' bed.

When he finally comes - the fixed sleep schedule?

It can relieve So, let go to rigid ideas about how should a baby sleep. Parents should also be careful with statements of their own mothers or girlfriends at this age but had the baby but "sleep through long". "The statistics say that half of all children still wake up at least once a night during the first five years of life, one fifth of them even several times. In babies which is of course much more often the case, "says Dr. Bark. Mothers and fathers thus have to be patient, the sleep pattern develops - sooner or later -. By itself "but parents can support this natural development by the baby a regular, structured create daily routine, make recurring everyday things at set times and create an evening ritual. The baby then knows the corresponding signals and can be prepared. "

but if one is through the sleeping behavior of his young physically or psychologically at the end, relief must be found. Parents should take turns into bed Bring the baby or the night getting up, give each other time out, (perhaps the grandmother) A babysitting to complete. And of course, parents can bring in this case, help from a counseling center.


Counseling centers, advised parents in rough baby sleep: (postal codes).

Mediation by pediatricians with sleeping medical training by calling 0941/94 28 271.