Tips on how to get baby to sleep!
A newborn may not sleep according to your schedule, but here are some useful tips on developing a healthy bedtime routine for your little bundle of joy.
Babies are easy to care for, since they only need love, food, sleep and play time.
However, balancing your own needs with that of your newborn can be complicated at first, and this is something many new mothers forget.
We are told to sleep when baby sleeps, but this is not always practical, particularly in the first two weeks and continuing up to 8 weeks.
Newborns can sleep for up to 18 hours a day, but most of those naps take place in 30-60 minute sprints, rather than several hours at a time. That means that if you’re settling down for a nap while baby sleeps, you’re bound to be woken the moment you actually relax.
After a few days of this, you may be left feeling tired and ratty. While a newborn will not eat and sleep according to your schedule, it is a good idea to develop a healthy bedtime routine that will last throughout his or her life.
Day-Night Confusion & Your Baby’s Sleep
Many babies are born with day-night confusion. They completely mix up daytime and nighttime, leading to frequent waking at night and sleepiness during the day.
Other babies are very sleepy during the first two weeks, only becoming more energetic by three weeks of age. However, all babies can benefit from being taught the difference between night and day.
It’s important to remember that no two babies are exactly the same, and while the average 2-8 week old newborn sleeps for an hour before waking up for a feed, your baby may have more unique needs.
That is perfectly fine. Just follow his or her needs and you should be fine.
Baby’s Sleepy Cues
Learning to understand baby’s cues will help you understand when it is time to put him down for a nap. Staring off into space, yawning and rubbing his eyes are signs that he is tired.
He may also stretch and flick his ear with his hand, or whine and cry easily.
If he is fussing, he is already overly tired. It may take a while to settle him down. Next time, put him down for a nap sooner.
Teach Baby the Difference Between Night and Day
Is your baby a little night owl, who wants to party well after your own bedtime? By the time baby reaches two weeks of age, you can start teaching him that darkness means sleepy-time.
Head on over to the next page to find out how to get baby to sleep.
In the daytime, when baby is awake:
- Dress him in daytime clothing to signal that it is a new day
- Sing and play with him
- Be social during feeds
- Keep the home, including his bedroom light and bright
- Don’t try to minimise daytime sounds, such as the radio, washing machine, and neighbourhoods noises
- Gently wake him, should he nod off during feeds
At nighttime, let your behaviour signal that it is time to sleep:
- Be quiet during feeds
- Keep the lights dim and the noise levels low
- Put him in pyjamas to signal that it is time to sleep
Ideally, you should teach baby to fall asleep on his own. The key is to put him down while he is still awake, but sleepy.
You can stay with him, but be sure to follow the same routine every time he wakes during the night. It’s all about how you settle him.
Experts advise against feeding or rocking your baby to sleep, and you will receive plenty of advice about sleep schedules from well-meaning friends and relatives, but at the end of the day, it is your decision to make as to how you will soothe baby to sleep.
Just remember that the routine you set now will be what baby expects as he grows older.
Mums and dads, are these tips useful to get baby to sleep and do you have more to share? Let us know by leaving a comment below!