Establishing good sleep habits for you and your newborn

Establishing good sleep habits for you and your newborn

Posted by Kerry Nevins on

Caring for your newborn brings great excitement and joy, but with it also comes less sleep. The effect of broken sleep goes beyond a tired body -- it also affects how you think and cope and we know that after having a baby, you’ll probably need more sleep than ever before. The good news is that it's never too late to promote invaluable sleep habits in a baby, and subsequently get the much-needed rest you need yourself.

You can establish a positive sleep pattern for your newborn  by following these simple steps

1.Teach your baby the difference between day and night. 

Some newborns are night birds and will be wide awake just when you want to go to sleep. Once your baby is about 2 weeks old, you can start teaching them to know the difference between night from day. During the daytime, keep things stimulating and active for your baby. Interact and play with them as much as you can and keep the house and their room light and bright.

At night, don't play with your baby when they wake up. Cut down an all stimulations by keeping the lights and noise level low and if possible feed them in a semi-darkened room. Gradually they should begin to figure out that daytime is fun time and nighttime is for sleeping.

2. Look for signs that your baby's tired.

Your baby will let you know if they need sleep. Look out for these common signs of tiredness: rubbing their eyes, pulling on their ears, looking away from you or fussing. If you spot these or any other signs of sleepiness, you’ll be a step ahead so try putting your baby down to sleep before they get cranky or fussy. You'll soon get to know your baby's daily rhythms and patterns, and as a result you'll know instinctively when they’re ready for a nap.

3. Consider a bedtime routine for your baby. 

It's never too early to start trying to follow a bedtime routine. Getting them into a simple, soothing bedtime routine can be helpful for everyone and help prevent sleeping problems at a later stage. The routine could consist of some of the following:

  • bathing your baby
  • changing into night clothes and a fresh nappy
  • dimming the lights in the room to create a calm atmosphere
  • singing a lullaby or having a wind-up musical mobile you can turn on when you've put your baby to bed
  • giving a goodnight kiss and cuddle

4. Separate Eating from Sleeping

After the first month, you should try to avoid letting your baby fall asleep while you're feeding or rocking, as you want then to figure out how to put themselves to sleep.

They may eat a little, doze a little, and eat some more, a couple of times. But if they go to sleep and continue sleeping when you’re feeding them, stop and put your baby to bed.

Newborn babies invariably wake up repeatedly in the night for the first few months, and disturbed nights can be very hard to cope with. But it's never too late to foster excellent sleep habits in a baby, and ultimately help yourself get some much-needed rest as well. And try to remember that these tiring nights do eventually come to an end.

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