The Fourth Trimester And Babies
Since babies are technically born 3 months early, us moms should treat their first three months outside the womb as another trimester of pregnancy.
Do you ever wonder why your newborn needs to be held and will scream the second you put them down? They long to be close to you.
Do you wonder why your newborn doesnt sleep well in a quiet room? Contrary to what many people believe, the womb was actually quite a loud atmosphere for your baby .
Does your baby fare better in a room with a night light?Inside the womb isnt as dark as you may think streams of sunlight flow through our skin and uterine walls to our baby.
To make those first few months with your baby easier, think of your baby like they still need to be inside the womb, but they had to come out .
They need extra care and extra cuddles that first trimester outside the womb while they transition to life apart from everything theyre used to .
All this to say, if you get frustrated because your baby only wants to sleep in your arms, is waking up many times at night, and needs to constantly be nursing or just near you, give your little babe a bit of grace they should still be inside the womb, but they had to come out, so its up to you to help them feel safe and warm, just like they were when you were pregnant with them.
Some Baby Sleep Cues Include:
yawning zoning out/sleepy & glazed over eyes long blinks/heavy eyelids frowning making grunting noises
And, of course, once theyve shown some early signs of being tired, one of the most noticeable signs of tiredness is:
Try to get your baby into bed and asleep before they get to the crying stage of tired. Doing this will make your, and your babys, life so much easier.
Before you start ANY form of sleep training , you should have this on hand.
Dont Keep Your Baby Awake Too Long
I figured babies simply sleep when theyre tired, but I couldnt have been more wrong. In fact, the times when I kept my baby awake for far too long were some of the most challenging times. Being overtired meant he had a difficult time falling asleep.
I later learned that babies cant stay awake for too long. That once the window is up, then you really need to do whatever it takes to get them to sleep and reset their bodies.
One of the best ways to make sure your baby isnt awake too long is to pay attention to his baby tired signs. For instance, any more than three yawns is already a sign hes overtired, so put him to sleep once he yawns.
The other way to ensure hes not overtired is to simply watch the clock. Note when he woke up, and dont let him be awake after a certain time period.
How long exactly is too long? Well, it depends on your babys age. You can download this free resource where I share the age and sleep guidelines, as well as share more tips about your babys awake time. Youll also get my newsletters, which parents say they LOVE:
Recommended Reading: How To Make My Newborn Sleep Through The Night
Mixing Up Day And Night
What it looks like: Your baby sleeps all day, but then stays up all night long .
How to solve it: Your newborns nocturnal ways should correct themselves as she adjusts to life on the outside, but there are a few things you can do to help baby differentiate between day and night, including limiting daytime naps to three hours, and making clear distinctions between day and night .
Day : The Baby Settles In
Most babies get with the program in three to five days, so this could be your lucky night. If your child is still holding their own, lengthen your response time to 15 minutes. “Some babies need the frequent reassurance that you’re checking on them, but others find it a tease,” Lerner says.
“Checking on the baby is really for the parents’ benefit,” says Dr. High. “If you notice that you’re fueling your child’s reaction every time you go in and you can tolerate staying away, it’s fine to do so. Just peek at them through a crack in the door instead so they don’t actually see you.”
The other frequent problem at this point is night feedings. At about 12 pounds or 3 to 4 months, most infants are ready to give them upbut you can’t just stop cold turkey with a younger baby. You can, however, keep them as brief and quiet as possible: Cuddle your baby but don’t sing to them, keep the lights out even during diaper changes, and settle them in the crib as soon as they’re done.
Don’t fall for the myth that bigger babies wake up because they’re hungry. Heavier babies actually have less need for night feedings if they weigh more than about 12 pounds, so they’re likely to wake up out of habit. Bigger babies are sometimes night owls precisely because they’re being overfed, Dr. Givan points out. “Overfeeding means they’ll have wet diapers, which makes them wake up again.”
- RELATED:All About Baby Sleep Regression
Also Check: How Much Should A Newborn Poop
Getting Your Baby To Sleep
Some babies sleep much more than others. Some sleep for long periods, others in short bursts. Some soon sleep through the night and some dont for a long time. Your baby will have their own pattern of waking and sleeping, and its unlikely to be the same as other babies you know.
It’s also unlikely to fit in with your need for sleep. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps. If you’re breastfeeding, in the early weeks your baby is likely to doze off for short periods during a feed. Carry on feeding until you think your baby has finished or until they’re fully asleep. This is a good opportunity to try to get a bit of rest yourself.
If you’re not sleeping at the same time as your baby, don’t worry about keeping the house silent while they sleep. It’s good to get your baby used to sleeping through a certain amount of noise.
Use A Pacifier If Your Baby Fusses
As you set him down drowsy, you might notice that your baby starts to fuss. If he takes to a pacifier, this would be a good time to put one in his mouth to encourage sucking. Dont wait until hes crying hystericallyinstead, insert the pacifier if you see him starting to squirm or get upset.
Then, keep your hand on him so he still feels you as you hold the pacifier in his mouth. This will remind him that youre still there, while encouraging him to suck on the pacifier and fall asleep.
After youve left, keep the pacifier in his mouth. But if you notice him squirming once more , use the pacifier again:
- If the pacifier fell out, re-insert it into his mouth.
- If the pacifier is still in his mouth, give it a gentle tug. This will encourage him to suck harder and hopefully keep sleeping.
Read Also: How Much Formula Milk For Newborn
Newborn Sleep Cycles: Why Newborns Are Light Sleepers
When adults first fall asleep, we pass through a couple of light sleep stages, and then plunge into a bout of deep sleep.
Afterwards, we switch into REM, or rapid eye movement sleep, a sleep stage famous for its association with dreaming, and the loss of muscle tone. We dont move much during REM.
When REM is over, we either awaken, or return to light sleep and begin the cycle again. For the average adult, a single sleep cycle lasts about 90-100 minutes. We may partially awaken many times during the night. But were more likely to wake up all the way during transitions between stages, during light sleep, and during REM.
Newborn sleep is also characterized by sleep stages and cycles, but there are crucial differences.
First, babies typically begin their sleep bouts in the newborn equivalent of REM .
Second, newborns in REM dont usually experience muscle atonia.
Unlike us, they may thrash around, stretch, twitch, and even vocalize. The results can fool parents into thinking their babies are waking up, when they are actually experiencing normal REM sleep.
Third, newborn sleep cycles are shorter around 50-55 minutes for the average infant and REM makes up a much bigger proportion of sleep.
Its not unusual for newborns to spend more than half their total sleep time in REM . Indeed, several studies suggest that, over the course of a 24 hour day, some newborns spent may spend as much as 75% of their sleep time in active sleep .
Place A Heating Pad Or Warm Water Bottle On The Crib
To go from your warm, cozy arms to a cold, hard crib can be a difficult transition for your baby. To make the bed just as inviting, try this trick:
Place a heating pad or a warm water bottle on the crib a few minutes before you plan to set him down. For instance, you might heat the bed while he nurses before bedtime. That way, easing him out of your arms can still feel cozy when the bed feels just as nice and warm.
You might even leave the pad or bottle nearby for a few minutes, so he can still feel it next to him, before removing it. And make sure to test the bed first to check it isnt too hot for your baby.
Read Also: What Can You Put On A Newborn’s Dry Skin
How To Get Your Baby To Sleep Tip : Don’t Try To Do It All
Moms always want to do it all – it’s part of our nature. But when you’ve just had a baby, “doing it all” is more exhausting than it normally is…and somewhat impossible. This tip is mainly to help you get the rest you need but is also a reminder that your attitude and exhaustion can rub off on your baby.
If you’re cranky and tired and you’re trying to soothe your baby to sleep, they’re going to pick up on that. That’s why it’s sometimes a good idea to pass baby off to someone a little calmer and more relaxed when trying to get your baby to sleep. If you are calm, your baby will clam easier as well.
Since stretching yourself too thin doesn’t do any good for you or your baby, don’t feel like everything is up to you! Ask a friend or family member to babysit for a few hours so you can go take a nap or get out of the house.
If you don’t feel comfortable handing off any newborn duties quite yet, let go of some of the other things on your plate and delegate them out. The laundry, vacuuming, cooking, walking the dog…these are all things you can either ask a friend or family member for help with, or hire someone to do for you. While you might not normally spend money on these types of services, with a new baby at home it will save you time and your sanity.
Friends and family are always looking for ways to help new moms. So tell them what you REALLY need when they offer.
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
You May Like: How Often Should A Newborn Feed On Formula
The 3 Keys To Creating A Calming Environment
Make it Dark: You want to get your baby to associate nights with sleep, so keeping the room as dark as possible helps. The darkness will also prevent distraction and keep your baby calmer.
Add White Noise: White noise helps mask other distracting noises in the environment around them. It also mimics the noises your baby was used to in the womb to help them relax.
Take Note of the Temp: Temperature can have a surprisingly large impact on your baby’s sleep. Too cold and they might wake up often, too hot and their risk of SIDS increases. Keeping the room at 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit is a good rule of thumb.
I strongly recommend adding white noise to your baby’s sleep environment as a positive sleep association.
What is White Noise?
Technically white noise is a sound produced by combining different frequencies with equal intensities together. White noise may be technically produced and may sound like a hum, a drone, a radio station on static, a fan, washing machine or even the sound of rain among others. Why do babies love white noise? Well they have spent 9 months in mothers womb, a place not known to be quiet. In fact it is deafeningly loud in there.
What is sleep drive?
Helping your baby sleep through mid-sleep arousal
Ways To Make A Baby Sleep
December 11, 2012 by getbabytosleep
Getting a baby to fall asleep sometimes seems like the easiest thing in the world. At the newborn stage, when they sleep about 18 hours a day, you have trouble keeping them awake. Its eat, sleep, diaper, repeat. Then they start to grow up and everything changes.
At some point babies realize that theres a whole wide world of things to see and touch and eat out there. They dont want to miss anything! And so they start staying awake longer, fighting sleep with ever-louder cries.
To help you, the frazzled sleep-deprived parent, weve put together this list of tips and techniques for making a baby go to sleep. The quick and easy ways are listed first, followed by more advanced strategies for when your baby still wont fall asleep.
Also Check: How Do I Add My Newborn To My Medicaid
Master The Four B’s: Bath Book Bed Bottle
“A consistent bedtime routine can work wonders. The order is up to you, but it usually involves a soothing bath, a story, and one last feeding. I also like to add a quick massage with lotion, gently squeezing and releasing the baby’s knees, wrist, elbows, and shoulders, wherever there’s a joint. Then you might do a final ‘closing up’ of the nursery: Now we turn out the light, now we start the white-noise machine, now we sway beside the crib, now I lay you downand that’s the signal that it’s time to sleep.” Nalle