How early bedtimes for your baby can boost its health for decades: Children who get into a good regime early on are half as likely to be overweight
· Study by researchers from the Penn State College of Medicine in the US
· Infants that pile on the pounds in the first year are more likely to be obese, but a good sleep is one thing that your baby need for that healthy growth
Putting your baby to bed early won’t just give you some precious free time, it could also boost your child’s health for decades to come.
Research shows that babies that get into a good bedtime routine are half as likely to be overweight at the age of one as other youngsters.
The finding is important because infants that pile on the pounds in the first year of life are more likely to be obese later in life, putting them at risk of heart disease, diabetes and a host of other ills.
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Putting your baby to bed early won’t just give you some precious free time, it could also boost your child’s health for decades to come and also ensure that your baby has a happy day.
“We, as parents, think our job is to make sure the baby is not crying,” says pediatric nurse Jennifer Walker, RN. “That’s because we associate crying with the fact that we are doing something wrong and we need to fix it,” she says. “Babies are designed to cry. They can be perfectly diapered and fed and still cry like you are pulling an arm off.” Because that’s the way babies communicate. It doesn’t mean you can’t console or cuddle them.
And while new parents may find it hard to process warnings about the long-term consequences of obesity, they are likely to welcome advice on getting a better night’s sleep with open arms.
Researchers from the Penn State College of Medicine in the US studied more than 250 first-time mothers and their babies.
The women received a series of home visits from nurses, with half given safety advice and the others information on sleep, including bedtime routines and feeding.
Tips included setting an early bedtime and letting the child cry themselves to sleep if they woke up, rather than giving them a feed.
Research says: ‘Feeding a baby can be an easy and fast way to quiet an upset baby.
‘But we don’t want parents to use feeding to soothe their baby if the baby isn’t hungry – crying is one of the last things a baby is likely to do if they are hungry.’
At nine months, babies who were put to bed by 8pm and left when they cried during the night slept almost an hour and a half longer than babies whose bedtimes were later.And by the age of one, they were half as likely to be overweight,
Study author Professor Ian Paul said: ‘A lot of parents try to keep their babies up longer, thinking that then they’ll sleep longer at night and they won’t wake up.
Research shows that babies that get into a good bedtime routine are half as likely to be overweight at the age of one as other youngsters ‘We found that’s not true. When parents keep babies up longer, they just sleep less.‘If you want your baby to sleep longer and better, put them to sleep earlier.
‘Regardless of what time you put babies to sleep, they wake overnight.
‘If we don’t set the expectation that they’re going to be picked up and fed, they learn to soothe themselves back to sleep.
‘It is important to establish good sleep habits early in life for health reasons, including obesity prevention, but also for the emotional health of parents and families.