Premature Baby Sleeping Problem

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Premature Baby Sleeping Problem

“The first time you bring your premature baby home from the hospital, it can be a bit of a challenge to figure out how they sleep. Do they need to be swaddled? Does their head need support? How do you know when they’re waking up or going back to sleep?”


As a new mom, one of the most difficult things to deal with is your baby’s sleep schedule. You want them to be as healthy as possible and you’ve been told that they need their sleep. Your baby is going through so much already being born premature, it can be hard for them to get into a sleeping pattern and have enough restful naps throughout the day. 

1. What is a premature baby sleeping problem

Generally speaking, the more premature your baby is (the earlier she was born before her due date), the higher the risk will be for sleep problems.

Your preemie or preterm baby probably will not start sleeping through the night as soon as other infants who were born full-term. Most infants will start to develop their own “circadian rhythm” (internal body clock that controls our sleep-wake cycle) by around 3 to 4 months of age, and this is the time when babies start distinguishing daytime from nighttime.

Just as preterm infants may take longer to meet other developmental milestones like walking or talking, it will likely also take longer for your preemie’s circadian rhythm to mature. If your baby was born 2 months early, for instance, she may not start trying to sleep through the night until 5- to 6-months, since this is when her “corrected age” would be 3-4 months.

2. How to deal with a premature baby sleeping problem

During this transition period, play with your baby during daytime awake periods. Keep night feedings as quiet and as businesslike as possible, with minimal or soft lighting. This will help your baby learn the difference between day and night and may help you get much-needed sleep at appropriate hours. But remember, it may take several weeks before your baby gets her days and nights straight! 

3. The importance of establishing a routine for your children from birth and how it can benefit them as they grow older

Bedtime routines are a consistent, repetitive set of activities that are carried out before bed every night. They help prepare your child for sleep by having them relax and wind down. A predictable routine also gives your child a sense of security and teaches them how to fall asleep on their own.

In addition to improving sleep, bedtime routines teach your child self-care and lay the ground for working memory, attention, and other cognitive skills. They also foster parent-child bonding and may help improve mood, stress levels, and behavior.

In the long term, these benefits translate to better readiness for school, as well as better academic performance and social skills. By contrast, those who don’t follow a bedtime routine in childhood are more likely to have sleep problems and be overweight during adolescence.

Setting a bedtime routine right from the beginning with your baby makes it easier to keep up healthy habits as your child grows.

4. Tips on how to establish good sleep habits at an early age 

Certain activities are counterproductive to sleep and may cause your child to form unhealthy habits. Of course, every child is different and you may find it takes some trial-and-error to find out what works best for your family. However, when crafting your child’s bedtime routine, try to stick to the following advice:

  • Do it every day: A nighttime routine for kids should consist of the same steps every night, or as many nights as possible. To get all the benefits, it’s important for both parents to participate in the bedtime routine where possible.
  • Keep it short and sweet: For most children, a bedtime routine should last around half an hour, or a little longer if there’s a bath included. Prolonging the routine can delay bedtime and makes it harder to implement on days when you’re short on time.
  • Keep it up during the day: Following a routine during the day, including setting clear limits, leads to increased sleep duration for young children. Getting lots of exercise, sunlight, and outdoor time during the day can also help them sleep better at night.
  • Listen to your child: Although you’re ultimately in charge, it’s not a bad thing to leave your child some liberty. If a part of the bedtime routine isn’t working for your child, listen to their concerns and adapt the routine if necessary.
  • Follow sleep hygiene rules: Keep the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet to promote sleep. If your child is scared of the dark, you can use a dim nightlight. Even after bedtime, noise levels in the rest of the house can keep young children awake, so try to transition to quieter activities once you’ve tucked the kids in.
  • Make gradual changes: Try not to introduce more than one change at a time to the bedtime routine, and consider delaying these if there are other changes going on, such as moving to a new house or starting school. As your child’s sleep needs change, shift bedtime by 15-minute increments each night.


Parents of premature babies may be dealing with a sleep problem, but there are many ways to help your child get the most out of their day. Establishing good habits at an early age can benefit them as they grow older and will promote healthy sleep patterns now which will carry over into adulthood. Hopefully we have provided some valuable tips that should help you through this difficult time in your life. 

Happy Parenting!