How To Sleep When You Have A Newborn

Are There Other Ways To Help Reduce Your Babys Risk Of Sleep Dangers Including Sids

How to Get Some Sleep When You Have a Newborn

Yes. Heres what you can do:

  • Make sure your baby gets all her vaccinations. These shots help protect her from serious childhood diseases and may help prevent SIDS. All children should be vaccinated for their own health and so they dont spread infections to others.
  • Dont smoke and keep your baby away from other smokers and secondhand smoke . Babies who live with smokers are at increased risk of SIDS. Keep your home and your car smoke-free.
  • Dont smoke, drink alcohol or use harmful drugs during pregnancy. Babies of mothers who do these things are at increased risk of SIDS.
  • Go to all your prenatal care checkups during pregnancy. Babies of mothers who dont get regular prenatal care are at increased risk of SIDS.

When To Stop Using A Crib

To ensure the crib is safe during both babyhood and toddlerhood, you will need to lower the mattress height from time to time so that your child canât climb out or launch himself over the rails.

Before your child gets to the point where he can climb out of his crib, even with the mattress at the lowest setting, itâs a good idea to transition him to a toddler bed, or to a firm mattress placed on the floor.

There are toddler bed rails you can add to the bed, but some parents prefer to place a mattress next to the bed to prevent their toddler or preschooler from rolling out accidentally .

Some parents also choose to transition their toddler to a bed once they have a new addition on the way because the crib is needed for the newborn.

In this case, making the switch at least six to eight weeks before the new baby is due is a good plan that way, your toddler has to adjust to only one big change at a time.

How Much Will My Baby Sleep In The First Year

Over the first year of life, your baby will sleep and nap a lot from 12 up to 18 hours a day. The amount of sleep an infant gets at any one stretch of time is mostly ruled by hunger. Newborns will wake up and want to be fed about every three to four hours at first. Do not let your newborn sleep longer than five hours at a time in the first five to six weeks. Thereafter, you can keep the following general milestones in mind:

  • By six months, many babies can go for five to six hours or more without the need to feed and will begin to “sleep through the night.”
  • Daytime naps reduce in number as the baby grows. A 2-month-old may nap up to four times a day, whereas an older infant may nap only one to two times a day.

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How To Change A Newborns Sleep Patterns

Your newborns sleeping patterns are difficult to change, but theres a lot you can do to make her environment more conducive to sleep, including making sure shes fed with a clean, dry diaper, checking that her room is the right temperature and she’s not overdressed for sleep, and avoiding any distracting lights or sounds that could keep or wake her up.

In the meantime, you might need to adjust your own sleep schedule to get the rest you need. When your baby is around 3 months old, you can try getting her on a sleep schedule, and when she’s between 4 and 6 months old, you can try sleep training if you want to.

Parenting is full of surprises, and your babys sleep schedule is no exception. Your little one likely wont start to establish a regular sleep routine until around 8 to 12 weeks of age, and even then her sleep schedule will probably change, thanks to developmental milestones, travel and other common sleep routine disruptions.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

Dont Buy Those Cute Crib Bumper Sets You See On Blogs And In Catalogs

Ways to help your baby sleep

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.

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Week : Show Your Newborn The Difference Between Night And Day

Newborns dont know the difference between night and day when they are born. Thats one of the reasons why they are up and down at all hours. To acclimate their body clocks to the rhythms of your day introduce your newborn to the concept of night and day.

This important newborn sleep tip will help them set their internal clocks to be awake more during the day and sleep for longer stretches at night eventually.

To do this create a stark contrast to day and night in your home.

During the day keep lighting and noise at a normal level. Where ever baby naps keep the room from being pitch black. Play music in the background. Do most of your activities during the day.

At night soften the environment. Turn down the lights and the volume. Slow down the pace of life. When putting baby down at night draw the shades closed and make the room dark.

Over time your newborn will adjust and with it adjust their awake and sleep hours.

Dont Put Off Sleep Training Because The Baby Is Teething

Newsflash: Your baby is always teething. Or sick with a cold. Or coming down with something. Or recovering from something. Or over-tired. Or suffering from Unexplained Fussy Baby Syndrome. If youre hoping to sleep trainplenty of parents dontits important to know that it may never feel like the right time. Experts say its easiest to sleep train a baby between the ages of six and 12 months, but use your judgment and listen to your gut. If youre not fully committed to sleep training before you start, you wont stick to it.

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Take Advantage Of Parental Leave

Employer policies on parental leave vary, but sometimes both parents can take time off from work, allowing them to more easily juggle baby care and leading to more sleep. For example, Mom might take time off from work right after the baby is born, and her spouse can take leave several weeks later, helping mom to get some sleep as she transitions back to work, says Pien.

How To Keep Your Light Sleeper From Waking Up All The Way

What expectations should I have about my newborn’s sleep patterns?

1. Dont rush in the moment you think your baby has awakened.

As noted above, babies experience frequent arousals, but that doesnt mean they are doomed to wake up all the way every few minutes. Babies often jerk, sigh, or vocalize during partial arousals. If you avoid stimulating them during these moments, they may go back to sleep on their own.

2. Tank up the baby before you go to sleep.

Whether you breastfeed or bottle-fed, try to give the baby an especially large meal before your own bedtime. This will encourage your baby to sleep longer. To learn more about this approach, see this Parenting Science guide to opens in a new windowDream feeding.

3. If you feed your baby formula, try to find one that includes DHA.

DHA is a fatty acid found in fish oil and other dietary sources. Its important for brain development, and may play a role in shaping sleep patterns as well.

In one study, children who consumed low levels of DHA had reduced amount of slow-wave sleep . In another study, pregnant women with higher blood levels of DHA gave birth to babies who spent more time in quiet sleep .

DHA is found in breast milk, so its plausible that boosting a nursing mothers DHA intake could improve a newborns sleep patterns. If you use formula, it seems like a good idea to find a baby formula that contains DHA.

4. Check out my article on opens in a new windowbaby sleep aids.

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Factors That Increase Co

Co-sleeping always increases the risk of SUDI including SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents.

Co-sleeping increases SUDI risk even more in the following situations:

  • Youre very tired or youre unwell.
  • You or your partner uses drugs, alcohol or any type of sedative medication that causes heavy sleep or make you feel less aware. This includes prescription medication.
  • You or your partner smoke.
  • Your baby is unwell.
  • Your baby is less than 3 months old or was premature or smaller than most babies at birth.

Sleeping with a baby on a couch or chair is always unsafe. Move your baby to a safe sleep environment if you think you might fall asleep in a chair or couch while holding your baby.

When To Start Using A Crib

Your child will get lots of use out of her crib! Many parents start using one the moment they bring their newborn home from the hospital.Other parents prefer to have their baby sleep in a bassinet for a few weeks, which can be very convenient since itâs more portable than a crib. However, keep in mind that a baby will outgrow a bassinet quickly, often in the first month, so you may prefer to skip this item altogether and have your baby sleep in a crib from the get-go.

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Understanding Baby Sleep Cycles

Adults have four sleep stages that they cycle through during the night. Newborn babies, between the ages of 0 to 3 months, only experience two of the four stages of sleep: stage 3 and stage 4.

  • Stage 3: This stage is deep, regenerative sleep. Your body repairs and rejuvenates the immune system, muscle tissue, and sparks growth.
  • Stage 4: Stage four is REM rapid eye movement sleep. Your brain kicks in to consolidate information and memories throughout the day. REM is when you dream.

Once asleep, your newborn can be put down without waking most of the time after you rock him because he jumps right into a deep sleep stage. Around four months old, babies transition through all four stages rather than just two sleep stages.

These cycles last 30 to 45 minutes each, on average, for your baby. So, naps can last for an hour to two hours as he cycles through the two stages.

Breaking Bad Sleep Habits

6 secrets to help your newborn sleep longer stretches at night. Sleep ...

Being your babys sleep aid is fun and cuddly, and Im all in favor of it as long as youre happy with it and always put your baby to sleep in a safe location. But if youre tired and frustrated, this is the right moment to help your infant learn some new healthy sleep habits. Here are clues that its time for a change:

  • Youre exhausted: Youre overeating short-tempered with your toddler or husband spacing out at work driving dangerously because youre so tired feeling depressed or considering smoking cigarettes again.
  • Youre frustrated: You dont know what to do about your infants sleep resistance, night waking, dependence on bed-sharing and frequent night nursing. And you are bickering a lot with your spouse.
  • Your childs unhappy: Shes extra cranky cries at everything has no patience seems overtired gets super irritable at bedtime or wakes crying during the night.

If youre seeing these signs, its time to swap your problematic sleep cues for ones that boost sleep and nurture your tots calm, confidence and competence. Dont get me wrongyou should give your little lovebug tons of holding, rocking, patting and suckling. But to avoid sleep problems later, you need to develop healthy sleep habits and routines now that will teach her to self-soothe.

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Important Things To Remember

  • You should always place your baby on their back to sleep and not on their front or side
  • Sleeping a baby on their front or side greatly increases the chance of SIDS
  • It is important that you always put your baby on their back as part of their regular sleep routine the chance of SIDS is particularly high for babies who are sometimes placed on their front or side

Where Should Your Baby Sleep

The safest place for your baby to sleep is by herself in a bassinet or crib. If you have multiples , put each baby in his own bassinet or crib. Here are some dos and donts about making your babys sleep space safe:



  • Dont use sleep positioners. These sometimes are called nests or anti-roll pillows. They often are mats or wedges with pillows on either side to help keep your baby in place. The Food and Drug Administration warns that sleep positioners can cause babies to die because of suffocation.
  • Dont let your baby sleep in a carrier, sling, car seat or stroller. Babies who sleep in these items can suffocate. If your baby falls asleep in one, take her out and put her in her crib as soon as you can.
  • Dont put your baby to sleep on soft surfaces, like a waterbed, sofa, soft mattress or cushion.
  • Dont keep crib bumpers, loose bedding, toys or other soft objects in your babys crib. They put your baby in danger of being trapped, strangled or suffocated.
  • Dont use cribs with drop-side rails. Dont put portable bed rails on a regular bed. Babies can get stuck in rails and choke. Dont try to fix a crib that has broken or missing parts.

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Get Sunlight And Avoid Artificial Lighting At Night

Make sure you expose yourself and your baby to bright light during the day. And keep lights outor at least dimmedafter sunset.

As noted above, natural lighting helps influence newborn sleep patterns. But it also helps you keep your own circadian rhythms from drifting, which is important if you are going avoid insomnia and be a source of daytime cues for your newborn.

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