Sunday, 23 November 2014
How to settle your newborn baby to sleep
Your first few days with your newborn could have you under the false pretence that all your baby does is sleep, with newborns sleeping up to an incredible 18 hours in a 24 hour period in his first weeks.
Do not let this sweet, innocent sleeping angel fool you though. Your new baby may soon have other ideas about sleeping at night.
When your baby hits about six weeks, you may start to notice a change in his sleep patterns and may be the start of those sleep-deprived nights that seem to go on for eternity.
The most important thing to remember is that this phase shouldn't last that long and you will, yes you will, get a full night's sleep soon.
Your baby has shorter sleep cycles than you, as he is likely to nap regularly through the day and perhaps go longer periods at night, but of course, still waking for his feed.
The reality is that due to your baby's early brain development, this period of erratic sleep could continue for a few months of his early life. You may find some nights you don't even get disturbed, but remember, one night sleeping through doesn't mean you are quite out of the woods yet!
There are some easy tips you can follow to help your baby into a good sleeping pattern.
Know when to put him down for sleep
You will quickly recognise when your baby is tired, rubbing his eyes, or yawning and stretching a lot. If you leave it too long after he appears tired, you could run the risk of him becoming over tired and this will make it harder for him to nod off. A good yard stick is that babies around six weeks old can't usually stay awake for much more than two hours at a time.
Help him know the difference between night and day
There are a few ways you can help your newborn recognise when it's time to be up and when it's time to get ready to go to bed for the night.
When you are getting him up for the day, change his clothes, the stimulation will help him wake up. Get out some of his stimulating toys and play as much as you can.
Talk and sing to him while feeding you may get sick of the Wheels on the Bus or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star but if it helps your baby know when it's time to be awake and time to go to sleep, it will all be worth it!
Simply applying the opposite to night times can help your baby learn the difference. Keep things as calm and quiet as you can at night, no talking or singing during feed times, keep the lighting low and put your baby into pyjamas.
Lay your baby down awake
How your baby falls to sleep can be key to getting him into the right sleeping pattern. Remember, if you rock your baby to sleep every night, that's what he'll get used to for falling asleep. Laying your baby down calm but awake will get him used to falling asleep on his own.
These tips can only work if you repeat them daily, remember your baby is a creature of habit, you need to help him establish the routine that works for both of you, after all, your baby needs his sleep, but so do you!
What tips work best for you? How long does your baby sleep at night? Share your experiences with our friendly mums and help another mum by sharing your tried and tested tips! Chat in our forum or our Facebook page or via Twitter.