What to expect from my newborn’s sleep habits?
Most new mums have many concerns about their newborn’s sleep, and sometimes they forget that babies aren’t adults and they still need time to adjust to the world around them. So, the first thing to expect is that your baby will not follow a sleeping schedule especially for the first few months. That is because newborns need time to develop their internal clock.
In general, newborns sleep around 16 to 20 hours divided between day and night. Once they reach the age of 8 weeks, they are more likely to obtain a bedtime routine which ultimately leads to falling asleep. Of course, they need your help to do so.
How to introduce night and day?
Obviously, babies cannot tell night and day. As their internal clock isn’t fully developed yet, so is their senses on timings. You need to introduce the two to your baby in order to help their sleeping habits. But how can that be done?
-When your baby wakes up in the morning, open the curtains and introduce daylight.
– Go on morning walks to energize your baby.
-During the day, stimulate your newborn with lively music, toys, and conversation.
-At night time, create a relaxing bedtime routine to signal that it’s time to sleep.
– Give your baby a warm bath.
-Keep all lights dimmed, and all noises low.
-Repeat this daily until it becomes a consistent routine for your baby.
In other words, encourage a sense of “awake time” and “sleep time”.
Use sleeping habits to plan a sleeping routine
Establishing the difference between night and day for the baby is the first step to plan your baby’s sleep routine. Here are some other sleep habits that are also helpful in planning it:
1- Nap time
Putting the baby down for frequent naps helps improve his sleep routine. Newborns need nap time every 2 hours approximately. Waiting longer to put your baby down for a nap might make him overtired and have trouble falling asleep.
Identify those signals because they are your baby’s way of telling you “I need to sleep”. Such signals can be eye rubbing, pulling ears, or crying more than usual.
3- Use sleep aids
Now that the habits are known, you can start planning the sleeping routine. Here is a simple suggestion for it:
-Give a warm bath
-Change into a clear diaper and fresh pjs
– Put them to bed
– Cuddle and kiss
– Dim the lights
-If your baby is teething, you can add brushing teeth to the routine
These steps will definitely earn your baby a good night’s sleep.
As your baby gets older, more efforts can be put to get them to sleep for longer hours at night. Sleep consultant Claudine Gillard talks all about how to get your baby to sleep later. She focuses on three main things to get your baby to sleep for longer hours:
Another main topic that Claudine discusses is the importance of keeping the routine’s consistency even during travels and holidays. Keep in mind that consistency is important along with waiting for your baby to get used to the new environment and make sure to have your baby’s blanket or favorite toy at all times. Finally, just because your baby is in a new place, it does not mean that you should introduce him to new habits such as co-sleeping.
Sleep aids for babies
Sleeping aids help you achieve your baby’s sleep routine. They create the soothing environment that your baby needs to sleep through the night. Here are some of the best sleeping aids for your baby:
Many mums agree that swaddling works wonders. That is because it nearly replicates the womb-like experience so the baby feels safe and comfortable and falls asleep peacefully. That is why we love JoJo Maman Bebe – 2-Pack Jersey Swaddles! It has a secure design creates a cozy feeling for your baby and the hooks and loops attachments help creating the perfect fit.
Every child has a cherished stuffed animal, and the reason is that stuffed animals like FlatOut – Baby Bear provide comfort and prevent feelings of loneliness. It is one of the best sleeping aids for toddlers moving from cribs to beds and sleep in separate rooms.
Claudine Gillard finds white noise machines very helpful when it comes to babies falling asleep and staying asleep. You can start using white noise and gradually turn the volume down a little every night until you’re not using the sound at all. Some of these machines come in the shape of stuffed animals like Cry Activated Soother from SkipHop.
One of the tips to make your child wake up a little later is to ensure that the room stays dark longer. Install dark shade blinds like Baby Sleeping Curtain to help you with that.
5- Swings or rocking chairs
Swings are perfect for nap time, and help your baby doze off. They work because the mimic parents’ rocking motion. Bumble & Bird’s Musical Baby Swing
offers a timer, 8 musical tunes and 5 swing speeds with indicator lights.. The seat has two positions to soothe or engage.
Singing lullabies are great to soothe down your baby. Whether you sing “twinkle, twinkle, little star” or you play the melody using Infantino’s Musical Mobile, it is guaranteed that your baby will be relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep.
7- Night lights
As babies grow and their sleep patterns change, a completely dark environment can cause fear and stress. That is why night lights such as Wom Soothing Light are very helpful getting children through the night. They’re also very good for late night feedings or quick checkups.
All these aids are really helpful putting your baby and toddler to sleep. However, some mums still find trouble putting their babies to sleep even after planning the routine and these aids. In this case, you can always consider visiting a sleep consultant.
How to move toddlers to sleep from cribs to beds?
Toddlers usually stick to the same sleeping routine they learnt as babies. Moving to a bed happens around the same time as potty training and eating solid food- but it does not come as naturally. So, how to make the transition?
1-Choose the best toddler bed.
2-Use the previously mentioned sleeping aids
3-Have a flexible routine
If your toddler is an early riser, you need to adjust the routine. Do not force a change in wakeup time or sleep time, rather adjust yourself to your toddle.
Finally, do not expect that the transition is going to be easy. Your toddler might refuse to fall asleep or come to you so many times a night, all you got to do is put them back to bed to return to yours quickly. Be patient and your toddler will get used to the big bed before you know it.
Plan the perfect nursery or bedroom
One way to get your baby or toddler is to plan the nursery or bedroom room perfectly and make it a safe and comfy environment that they can easily fall asleep in. You can get a foldable bed to store when your toddle move to a big bed, or get a convertible crib which can be used later on as a bed. Start by the room colors and decors, choose the perfect crib, bed, and mattress. Add blinds and curtains, and plan a play corner with your child’s favorite toys, dollhouse, floor seating, or teepees.
Mommy sleep is important too
There is no doubt your sleep is just as important for some many reasons. First, earning a good quality rest helps staying healthy postpartum, especially in the first few months. Also, being on the same sleep-wake cycle during the first months helps to establish a trusting bond between you and your child. You can do that by having your baby’s crib next to your bed, or sleep alongside your baby every now and then. Finally, establishing a sleep routine for your baby will help you get the rest you need as a new mum. Earn a good amount of sleep and rest by:
1- Sharing nighttime duties with your spouse
2- Do not prioritize house chores or work over your own rest
3- Avoid caffeine, electronics, and anything that will affect your sleep
While co-sleeping might be debatable, it does not mean you cannot achieve sleeping with your newborn safely. Another tip for you as a mum is to manage your expectations, be patient, and know what is right and what is just a myth.
Remember, a good night’s sleep is important for you just as your baby. And trust us, you are not alone in this!