What Should I Know About Helping My Newborn Sleep Well At Night
- Baby sleep patterns in the early months
- How to work with your baby to support their self-regulation
- Strategies for creating an optimal sleep environment
Its completely normal for your newborns sleep pattern to be unpredictable. Their circadian rhythm is not yet developed and likely wont mature until around 4 months of age. Until then, newborns average 14-17 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period with short bouts of wakefulness lasting only 45-90 minutes during their first 3 months.1 Your newborns need to sleep is driven by homeostatic pressure, where periods of wakefulness build a pressure that can only be alleviated by sleep.2
But fear not! At approximately 7 weeks of age, around the time your baby begins social smiling, their sleep pattern will begin to develop. Your babys bedtime will naturally start to drift earlier and sleep will begin to consolidate in the first third of the night with a predictable stretch of 2-3 hours. By the time your baby is around 12 weeks old, they will likely be ready for a consistent bedtime each night and will sleep for longer stretches .3
Read more: Sleep Patterns: Whats typical for a newborn?
When can I expect my baby to sleep better?
What can I do to encourage the development of the circadian rhythm?
Does daytime sleep affect nighttime sleep?
How do I create an optimal sleep environment?
Give your baby every advantage to sleep well at night by providing the following:
For more information: Setting up a safe sleep environment
Newborn Sleep Tips You Can Use Today
Lets start this article right off with the goods youre looking for newborn sleep tips! Keep reading for more in depth info related to newborn sleep and specific scenarios.
But this right here. These are my top 14 tips I wish Id known the first time around. Newborn sleep tips you maybe havent heard yet and can start implementing stat.
Don’t Worry If Naps Are A Hot Mess
“Yes, consistency is key, and the safest place for your baby to sleep is on her back in a crib. But many babies under 6 months don’t nap best there, so don’t beat yourself up if she falls asleep on your chest or in a carrier or a car seat , or if you wind up pushing a stroller around the block for 40 minutes so she’ll get some shut-eye. You’re not wrecking night sleep by letting naps be a little more haphazard in the first six months. Most babies don’t start developing a real nap schedule until 5 or 6 months, and even then, some nappers will put up a fight and others will be way more flexible about napping on the go.” Szmulewitz
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Dont Buy Those Cute Crib Bumper Sets You See On Blogs And In Catalogs
This ones pretty easy to follow: dont use crib bumpers. They are a SIDS risk, the sale of them is even banned in some US states, and doctors have been lobbying against crib bumpers for years. Yes, some babies flail around a lot in their sleep, especially when theyre on the verge of learning to roll, crawl, or walk. But they probably wont seriously injure themselves by bumping their heads on a crib rail. While those breathable mesh bumpers do a good job of keeping soothers from poking out of the crib slats, they are not recommended due to the risk of entanglement and strangulation. And while were at it, you shouldnt use a DockATot or infant lounger for unsupervised sleep inside the crib, either. Theyre technically no longer available in Canada, but similar products are still on the market.
You Can Help Your Newborn Sleep Better And We Can Help
There are many gentle, newborn-friendly ways that you can help your baby sleep longer stretches, and sleep more regularly and our expert sleep consultants are well-versed in all of them! Reach out to one of our consultants today, and she will craft a newborn-specific Personalized Sleep Plan with recommendations that are designed specifically for your unique baby.
Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers.
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Newborns really can sleep long stretches during the day and at night you simply have to use appropriate, gentle techniques to get there! Our newborn e-book, Essential Keys to Your Newborns Sleep, outlines a number of gentle, baby-centered ways you can encourage better sleep from your newborn. Learn how to create sleep-inducing routines and schedules, how to bond and communicate with your newborn, ad more!
Persistent nighttime struggles demand a more intensive approach. Check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
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Create A Sleep Routine
Beyond setting up the space, be sure to develop an ACTUAL routine by reading, singing, and/or cuddling your baby in a manner that is consistent every time babys headed to bed.
NOTHING is so important to your babys sleep as having a routine. NOTHING.
Well OK, maybe the environment is important too, but in most situations, a good routine can take the cake.
Why? Well, lets put it this way.
Can you sleep on command? If someone just walked up randomly in the middle of your day and dropped you into a bin from which you cant escape and said sleep now, how well would that work?
No, you need to either spend all your energy and attentional space so youre totally worn out or get lulled into it. As an adult, you have the benefit of practice and a little education on what to listen for and feel for in order to recognize when its time for a nap or a good nights sleep.
Why are baby sleep routines so important?
Babys been in a warm wet closet full of goo for 9 months. She hasnt the first idea about night time or nap time.
For this reason, you need to TEACH HER what to watch and listen AND feel for. Is there a particular quality of light that you can associate with sleepy time? Are there specific sounds you can make or words you can use? Do you only ever go to a specific chair when its time to start winding down?
An example routine that a friend of mine used was bathtime, jammies, a story, and a song. Every night. Her babies slept great.
Newborn Sleeping Feeding And Play: Letting Your Baby Lead The Routine
With newborn sleeping and feeding, the key is being flexible and following your babys lead. Your baby will let you know whether they want to sleep, feed or interact with you its OK to go with whatever feels right at the time.
Its also OK to try to do things in a similar order if that feels right for you and your baby. For example, you could trya simple routine of feed, play, sleep. Heres what this might look like:
If you try this kind of routine, its still important to watch your babys cues and respond.
For example, your baby might show tired signs soon after a feed. This means that its time for your baby to sleep, even if you and baby havent had much time to play.
Or your baby might show signs of being hungry after a play. In this situation, just give your baby another feed before settling baby for sleep. Your baby will sleep better with a full tummy.
Or your baby might have an extra-long sleep every now and then. Thats OK too. Unless your doctor or child and family health nurse has told you otherwise, theres no need to wake your baby for feeds.
And at night, a good option might be settling your baby straight back to sleep after feeds, rather than trying to play.
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Reasons Newborn Babies Cry
- They are hungry and need to feed
- They are tired and need to nap. Essentially newborns nap between each feeding. If baby has been up more than 1.5 hours then they are tired, and likely overtired.
- They are physicallyuncomfortable. Baby may have a wet diaper, dirty diaper or be too hot or cold. Generally, newborns need about one more layer than we do!
- They have reflux and its uncomfortable. You will see your pediatrician, of course, for this, then use the information here to keep baby as comfortable as possible until they outgrow this.
- They have colic and/or are letting off steam. Newborns dont usually develop colic until around 6 weeks or so, but some crying is normal with newborns. Its the only way they can communicate. Our job is not to stop their crying as quickly as humanly possible, but to learn to decipher their cries so we can meet their needs appropriately and promptly.
Baby Sleep Myth 1: Putting Babies To Sleep On Their Back Has Solved Sids
While the Back to Sleep campaign quickly reduced sleep deaths from 5,500 in 1994 to 3,500 in 1999, for the past two decades, SIDS progress has completely stalled. The tragic truth is that about 3,500 infants die during their sleep every year. Despite the fact that more babies are sleeping on their backs, the rate of accidental suffocation and strangulation deaths among infants has quadrupledsince the mid-1990s. Whats to blame for this alarming trend?
Unsafe sleeping practices. Seventy percent of all sudden unexplained infant death victims are found in adult beds, sofas and other risky locations. One study found that even though most parents plan to follow the ABCs of safe sleep , less than half actually do it. By the end of the night, about 60% of babies have migrated from their bassinet to their parents’ bed, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Lactation.
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.
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Newborn Sleep: How Much And When
Babies need sleep to grow and develop well. For newborns this is usually 14-17 hours in every 24 hours. But sleep patterns can vary a lot.
Newborns usually sleep in short bursts of 2-3 hours each. Some newborns sleep for up to four hours at a time. Newborns wake frequently to feed because they have tiny tummies. Your newborn might go straight back to sleep after feeding or they might stay awake long enough for a short play.
Some newborns get tired after being awake for 1-1½ hours. Some stay awake and alert longer.
Newborns sleep during the day and night. They dont know that people sleep at night. The parts of their brains that control day-night sleep cycles havent matured yet.
Newborn play might just be a quiet cuddle or some time stretching out and kicking on a blanket. You might find that 10-20 minutes of play is enough for your newborn. You can increase playtime as your baby gets older and stays awake for longer.
Recalls Of Baby Swings
In the past, some baby swings have been recalled for their connection to infant death or injury. For example, Graco recalled millions of swings back in 2000 because of issues with the restraint belts and trays.
Almost two decades later, they began issuing recalls for their rocking sleepers due to suffocation risks for babies who could roll over onto their sides or stomachs.
Meanwhile, Fisher-Price recalled three models of swings in 2016 after consumers reported that a peg meant to hold the swing seat in place popped out .
In spite of these recalls, its worth remembering that theres never been a broad ban on all baby swings and that most swings are generally safe when you use them correctly.
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How To Get A Newborn To Sleep Without Being Held
Getting your baby to sleep without holding them and rocking them can be a HUGE STRUGGLE.
Ill be honest, mama, I think most of us end up caving on this some of the time. Not only does it make for great snuggletime, but its just easier and blends well with goodnight feeding and/or dream feeding your baby.
When it boils down to it, though, if youre rocking or holding or feeding your baby to sleep, what you ACTUALLY want to do is rock or hold or feed them until theyre sleepFUL. Sleepy. If theyre falling asleep before you are ready to put them down, you are waiting too long.
- The trick is to pay close attention to breathing
- You will start to notice a definite change in the little ones breathing rhythms if you pay close attention. If you think she hasnt got enough milk yet , gently rub her body until she snaps back o
- Change her position or talk to her until youre pretty sure its time to hand her over to Mr. Sandman
- Once youve got her SLEEPY but AWAKE, lay her down gently and keep your hands on her body for a few seconds to see if she stirs awake or cries
- If not, slowly move your hands away and then quickly exit the room
- Ive found that this is a little like pulling a bandaid. If you go slow to be quiet, you tend to make more noise. If you make a minimum of noise but make it quickly, its less disruptive than making almost no noise but making it again and again over several seconds
Separate Eating From Sleeping
After the first month, you dont want to let your baby fall asleep while youre feeding or rocking them, because you want them 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. If they go to sleep and keep sleeping when youre feeding them, stop and put them to bed.
Some parents try to push more formula, breast milk, or baby food to try to make a baby sleep on schedule or sleep longer. This isnt good for your baby. Just like you when youve eaten too much, your overfed baby wont be comfortable enough to rest well.
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