Nurturing Our Newborn’s Sleep
Posted: April 15, 2019
Congratulations on the birth of your precious baby! Bringing home your brand-new bundle is both incredibly exciting and utterly nerve-wrecking at all the same time.
Top tips for all things regarding newborn sleep…
Some advice you may not have received from your healthcare professionals however, is in regards to your little ones’ sleep.
How should you get your baby to sleep?
What is the perfect sleep environment for my baby?
How do you encourage healthy sleep habits for your newborn from the very beginning?
If you’re asking yourself any of these questions, good on you for making sleep for your newborn baby a priority.
We know that quality sleep is a fundamental element in the healthy development of our babies as so much growth and development occurs during good quality sleep.
Therefore, creating healthy sleep habits from the beginning makes perfect sense then as our babies only know what we teach them, right?
Go Easy On Yourself
Go easy on yourselves. The first 6 weeks of your baby’s life is all about bonding with them, allowing them time to adjust to life outside the womb and establishing breastfeeding, if this is something you choose to pursue. Don’t put too much pressure on anything else.
Set Feed Structure
Once you’re confident your milk supply is fully established and your little one is putting on an optimal amount of weight regularly, try to get on top of a more set feed structure and keep your babe more alert to encourage better feeds, This will minimise snack feeding and snack sleeping as this can often leave parents questioning if they are upset because of hunger or tiredness.
Set Sleep Space
Allow plenty of opportunity for your little one to sleep in their intended sleep space. We would all agree that those sleepy, snuggly newborn cuddles are totally irresistible – however, if you wish for your baby to one day sleep well in their bassinet or cot, then it’s important to allow them an opportunity to become familiar with their own sleep space.
Optimial Sleep Conditions
Try to create an optimal environment for sleep for your little one: a really dark room, white noise and being dressed appropriately for the temperature of the room are great starting points.
Swaddles can be really effective for little ones up until the age of 16 weeks. This is because until then, their Moro (startle) reflex is still quite immature and they startle easily.
Offer naps regularly. Newborns commonly only tolerate around 45mins of awake time between sleep. Not pushing them past this and avoiding them becoming over-tired is really important.
Bed Time Routine
Commence a pre-nap/bed time routine. Our babies love consistency and routines. This could be something as simple as: nappy change, song, kiss and down into bed. If your newborn is getting remotely lulled or drowsy on their feeds they will think their upcoming sleep is done, this will leave you in a position where you feel your babe is fighting sleep but in their mind they feel they are done.
Stick to a Routine
Decide how much of a role you wish to play come sleep time for your baby. Feeding, dummies, patting, rocking etc. can all be really effective ways in which to assist your baby to fall asleep. Just keep in mind that once past the newborn phase, the role in which you play at sleep time, time and time again for you baby, is often what they associate with sleep and there is a chance they may begin to wake more frequently looking for that same intervention to come back into play to be able to settle/resettle. If the way you get your baby to sleep at the moment isn’t something that you see as being sustainable for the future, you might like to adjust or work on your settling style early on.
Allow Them to Settle
If your little one wakes from a short sleep, allow them the opportunity to try and resettle themselves and move into another sleep cycle – unless of course they are crying or you are worried, then tend to them right away.
Stay Relaxed & Positive
Stay calm and confident when it comes to your baby’s sleep, try not to over schedule where possible. Newborn sleep can be unpredictable at the best of times and some days may not go as planned. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Staying relaxed and positive when it comes to your newborn’s sleep will enable a more satisfying experience for all.
I hope that helps – enjoy your beautiful babies!
Newborn Sleep FAQ’s
How long should my baby sleep?
After the initial 12 weeks of the baby developing a sense of day and night, babies average at 14 hours of sleep a day. This can range between 10 to 18 in a 24-hour day.
What is a dreamfeed?
The practice of feeding a sleeping infant. This method of feeding is used to stimulate a longer sleep in babies.
Why you should never wake a sleeping baby?
Apart from receiving the same reaction as awaking a dragon. Babies who tend to sleep longer during the day should be awakened for feeds, This will also encourage more sleep at night.