Bringing their bundle of joy from the hospital is one of the most magical moments in the life of all parents. However, this magical moment can soon bring chaos. You will be driven to your wit’s end if your baby is unable to get a good night sleep. Consider yourself lucky if you can even manage six hours of uninterrupted sleep during this stressful time. As a new parent, you may probably experience an erratic sleep schedule, mirroring your newborn’s sleep cycle or lack thereof, that includes waking up at odd hours to feed or to comfort the Baby.
We present to you a few suggestions and tactics that may help your newborn sleep better. When your baby sleeps better, you sleep better. Read on for some amazing baby sleeping tips and up your chances of catching some ZZZ’s.
Subtly Introduce Bedtime Cues:
“Infants aren’t wired well neurologically. They have what we call disorganized, or fragmented sleep”, says Charles Pohl, M.D., director of the Network of Apnea and Pediatric Sleep Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, in Philadelphia. This means that infants are unable to or cannot sleep for extended longer periods like their parents or the other adults do. They may sleep for 17 to 18 hours in a day, but most newborns don’t stay asleep for more than two to four hours at a stretch in their first few initial weeks.
Following set patterns or routines can go a long way into bringing order to your haywire schedule. A bedtime routine can include a bath, a massage, a bedtime story, singing a lullaby, or even a few cuddles or kisses to put your baby to sleep. Once you follow a routine consistently, the baby will eventually learn that it is time to go to sleep.
Wear Your Baby:
Not all babies are alike. Some are angels, some are not. while some are a little fussier and require constant attention. Wearing your baby, using a sling, works like a charm. Not only can you comfort the baby, but your hands are free to look after the household work. A sling mimics the womb and the newborns grow an instant liking to it. It is truly one of the most effective ways to put your baby to sleep.
Bring Back Familiar Sounds:
White noise can include the sounds of a vacuum cleaner, a hair dryer, or, say, a fan whirring. When the baby is inside a mother’s womb, he is exposed to white noises; for instance, like the sound of the mother’s heart beating. So, the use of a white noise can serves as a cue for the baby to go to sleep. The baby learns to associate the whooshing white noise as the nap time.
Day Vs. Night:
As a new parent, it is natural for you to want your baby to get a perfect and quiet sleep by keeping the room dark. But in the long run, this is not an ideal solution for making your newborn sleep. From an early stage, you need to make your baby to be aware of his surroundings, so he can associate bright lights with daytime, and dim lights or the darkness with night time – the time to sleep. Make the daytime more lively and social and evenings/the night time quiet and calm.
Limit Naps During the Day:
Sleeping for too long in the daytime means that the baby will most definitely be up for a longer time periods in the night. So as a new parent, you must make sure you limit baby’s nap time of your baby during the day to not more than 3 to 4 hours at a stretch. This is easier said than done, right? After all, no one wants to wake up a peacefully sleeping baby. And we definitely don’t recommend that. Let the baby be the boss. However, don’t extend daytime naps by rocking him more or keeping the room dark. The baby will naturally start shedding daytime sleep and the mother must let him. The “me-time” mommies get during the day is precious, yes, but letting go of it will be in your best long-term interest eventually.
Keep Your Baby Cozy:
Infants sleep best when the room temperature is consistent and cozy. The ideal room temperature is between 69 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Swaddling works brilliantly. The baby is kept warm and does not get startled by his own reflexes. That said, the baby should not be over-bundled with too many layers of clothes that might make him uncomfortable.
Opt for a Clutter-Free Crib:
“Crib distractions confuse baby”, says Conner Herman, a co-founder of Dream Team Baby. “They’ll make her wonder, ‘Is this a playpen, or is it a place to sleep?’” Keep the area around the crib free of any toys or other knick-knacks. When you put the baby down in his crib, the baby should know it is strictly a time to sleep.
Newborns need a feed every two to three hours. Their stomachs are so tiny that they cannot have more intake in one go. So, don’t try to do a breakfast-lunch-snacks-dinner kind of rigid routine for him. Feed in every single break if the baby demands. If you restrict feeds, the baby will sleep hungry and wake up cranky more often. ‘Demand feeding’ is more scientific as compared to timed feeds. The baby knows when he needs a refill and he will demand it. Simply follow his cues and give him a full feed, as often as he likes. A full tummy correlates to a good sleep.
End on a Low Note:
As the day comes to an end, start calming the baby down. Read books, build blocks or paint – do something less exciting. An overstimulated or tired baby will find sleeping difficult. Some parents prefer to give a warm water bath or a massage before bedtime. It relaxes the overactive babies.
We hope these tips will help your newborn get a good night sleep. Parenting is a continuous process. After few initial hiccups, you will begin to understand your baby and be in tune with his needs. Happy parenting!