What Do Newborns Need To Sleep In

What About You Tips For Improving Your Own Sleep

How can I get my newborn to sleep at night?

Newborn sleep patterns take their toll on parents. In a study tracking the sleep patterns of mothers from pregnancy through the postpartum period, maternal sleep worsened after childbirth and continued to deteriorate until about 12 weeks postpartum -the time when newborn sleep patterns begin to show marked circadian rhythms .

Twelve weeks isnt forever, but it can seem like it when you are severely sleep restricted. As you struggle to cope with newborn sleep patterns, dont forget to look after yourself. Here are some tips to help you cope.

The Importance Of Routine In Reducing The Risk Of Sids

The best way to make sure your baby sleeps on their back is to do this from day one, and keep putting them to sleep on their backs for every day and night time sleep.

It is also important that you keep the same routine for your baby, as babies who are normally slept on their backs but sometimes slept on their fronts are at a great risk of sudden death.

If Your Baby Rolls Onto Their Tummy

Once your baby can move themselves from their back to their front and back again by themselves, they will be able to find their own sleeping position.

The first few times they roll onto their tummy, you might like to gently turn them back, but do not feel you have to get up all night to check. Give them some time to play on their tummy while they are awake to help their development, but make sure you supervise them while they are on their front.

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What Is Bedside Sleeping

Bedside sleeping is when your baby sleeps in a bedside cot. This allows you to be close to them without sharing the same bed.

The idea is that the bedside cot attaches securely to your bed, at the same level as your mattress with the side next to you open. Then you can reach out to your baby without the bother of getting out of bed.

Theres limited research on bedside cots but possible benefits include:

  • Making life easier when your movements are limited after a caesarean .
  • Closeness might help with bonding.
  • You can easily settle your baby back to sleep.
  • Your baby will be nearby for night feeds.
  • It might encourage breastfeeding if you had an intervention-free birth.

The same health and safety guidelines for bed-sharing apply if you use the bedside cot as they do for your baby sleeping in your bed. Check out our cot safety and safe co-sleeping pages for advice.

Breastfeeding And Safe Sleep

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Breast milk is the best food you can offer your baby. The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life.

Breastfeeding can help protect your baby from SIDS. Breastfeeding for at least 2 months will lower the risk of SIDS by about half. The longer you can breastfeed, the more protection your baby will have.

Young babies feed oftenincluding during the night. If you bring your baby into your bed to breastfeed, know which situations put babies at greatest risk when bed sharing so that you can avoid them . Put your baby back in their crib, cradle or bassinet after each feeding.

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Should I Wake Up With My Baby Every Time They Wake Up At Night

During the first 12 months, babies develop quickly, and their sleep patterns change rapidly. Its important to understand that all babies briefly awaken several times a night. Some babies are able to soothe themselves back to sleep after they wake up. Other babies learn to signal their parents for help to settle them back to sleep if they wake up in the middle of the night. However, it is best to let the newborn comfort himself or herself back to sleep rather than develop a need or association with a parent or guardian.

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

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What Are The Different Alert Phases Of A Newborn

Babies also have differences in how alert they are during the time they are awake. When a newborn awakens at the end of the sleep cycles, there is typically a quiet alert phase. This is a time when the baby is very still, but awake and taking in the environment. During the quiet alert time, babies may look or stare at objects, and respond to sounds and motion. This phase usually progresses to the active alert phase in which the baby is attentive to sounds and sights, and moves actively. After this phase is a crying phase. The baby’s body moves erratically, and he or she may cry loudly. Babies can easily be overstimulated during the crying phase. It is usually best to find a way of calming the baby and the environment. Holding a baby close or swaddling may help calm a crying baby.

It is usually best to feed babies before they reach the crying phase. During the crying phase, they can be so upset that they may refuse the breast or bottle. In newborns, crying is a late sign of hunger.

The Risks Of Bed Sharing

How do I get my newborn to sleep in a crib?

The safest place for your baby to sleep for the first 6 to 12 months is their own safe space in a room with you. Don’t share a bed with your baby, particularly if you or your partner:

  • are smokers
  • have recently drunk alcohol

The risks of bed sharing are also increased if your baby:

  • was premature , or
  • weighed less than 2.5kg when they were born

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The Risks Of Different Baby Sleeping Options

Furniture: Studies from all around the world agree: Sleeping on living room furniture is a huge risk! Scottish researchers found the risk of SIDS is 67 times higher among babies who were allowed to sleep on a couch. The risk is also high for babies sleeping on recliners, armchairs, cushions, beanbag chairs, and air mattresses.

Car Seats: The car seat is another unsafe place for your baby to snooze, with the exception of the little naps they take on short car trips. During the first 6 months of life, a babys heavy head can fall forward when she is seated, causing difficulty breathing and asphyxiation.

Slings: And how about slings? Slings are terrific. They offer a delicious flow of touch, movement and sound, along with the continuous reassurance of your scent. On top of that, they leave your hands free for other jobs. These simple folds of cloth are so helpful to new moms I suspect they may have been one of the first bits of clothing ever invented.

However, babies frequently fall asleep in their cozy slings, and there are a few things to know to keep your baby safe. Make sure your sling:

And one more sling rule: Never carry your baby in a sling when youre handling very hot food or liquids.

How Long Will My Newborn Sleep

Newborns should get 1417 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, says the National Sleep Foundation. Some newborns may sleep up to 1819 hours a day.

Newborns wake every couple of hours to eat. Breastfed babies feed often, about every 23 hours. Bottle-fed babies tend to feed less often, about every 34 hours.

Newborns who sleep for longer stretches should be awakened to feed. Wake your baby every 34 hours to eat until he or she shows good weight gain, which usually happens within the first couple of weeks. After that, it’s OK to let your baby sleep for longer periods of time at night.

The first months of a baby’s life can be the hardest for parents, who might get up many times at night to tend to the baby. Each baby has a different sleep pattern. Some start to sleep “through the night” by 23 months of age, but some don’t.

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Why Does My Baby Keep Waking Up At Night

We know it’s exhausting for new parents but night waking is completely normal for babies. Especially in the early months.

Most babies actually cant sleep through the night especially those younger than three months old . But by the time they’re about three months old, they might manage to sleep for about five hours during the night .

Newborn babies sleep for around two to four hours at a time . Babies are lighter sleepers than adults so theyll wake more easily. Theyve also got tiny tummies so they need to feed often too .

As they get a bit bigger though, youll notice that their sleep time will decrease to around 15 hours . Theyll also hurrah start sleeping for longer stretches at night .

Things A Newborn Should Sleep In

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There are basically four to six things you should put your newborn in for sleep. Top to bottom, they generally include a set of soft pajamas, a tightly-wrapped swaddler or sleep sack, and possibly a light blanket. Very young newborns might also benefit from a sleep hat to conserve body heat and mittens to prevent scratches during sleep. For safety and sleep training purposes, newborns should also do most of their sleeping in a baby crib or bassinet.

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What About Flat Head Syndrome

Plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, is a common concern for parents who put their babies to sleep on their backs. The idea is that if you allow a baby to rest their head in the same way for too long, it can cause a flat spot to develop, since a babys skull is soft after birth.

The truth is, most cases of plagiocephaly are harmless, and have more of a cosmetic effect than anything else. Its unlikely to affect brain development. Your doctor will be able to tell you if its something to worry about.

The syndrome can also be treated, often with the use of a molded helmet that reshapes the skull.

Of course, there are also things you can do to prevent plagiocephaly. Encourage your baby to turn their head to the side when lying on their back in the crib. You might want to put a brightly-colored or music-making toy outside their crib, for example, to attract their attention. You can switch the direction you lay your baby down each night , so that hell turn his head the other way to keep looking into the room.

Supervised tummy time during the day is another way to help prevent plagiocephaly.

Your Baby’s Sleeping Position

Always put your baby to sleep on their back with their feet touching the end of the cot.

Do not let your baby sleep while lying on their tummy. Babies who sleep on their tummies have a higher risk of cot death. You can give your baby some tummy time when they are awake.

If your baby always lies with their head in the same position they might develop a flat head. This is called plagiocephaly.

You can help prevent this when putting your baby down to sleep on their back. When they are lying flat, you can alternate their head position so that sometimes they face left and sometimes they face right.

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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.

How Can You Help Your Baby Fall Asleep

How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?

Not all babies know how to put themselves to sleep. When it is time for bed, many parents want to rock their baby to sleep. Newborns and younger infants will fall asleep while breastfeeding. Having a routine at bedtime is a good idea. But if an older baby falls asleep while eating or in your arms, this may become a pattern. Your baby may then begin to expect to be in your arms in order to fall asleep. When your baby briefly awakens during a sleep cycle, he or she may not be able to go back to sleep on his or her own.

After the newborn period, most experts recommend allowing your baby to become sleepy in your arms, then placing him or her in the bed while still awake. This way your baby learns how to go to sleep on his or her own. Playing soft music while your baby is getting sleepy is also a good way to help create a bedtime routine.

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When Can The Baby Be On Its Stomach

The baby may be put on the stomach, but under supervision, when awake. Giving tummy time for babies is a good way to strengthen their stomach, back, and neck muscles.

According to Dr. Karen Sokal-Gutierrez, clinical professor, community health and human development, University of California Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, SIDS risk is lowered with babies spending more tummy time when they are awake . Moreover, the baby would develop upper body strength needed to lift the head and roll over in sleep.

How Much Sleep Does Your Baby Really Need

Sleep needs vary with age, but generally speaking, young children need around 11 to 12 hours each night, teens need between 8.5 and 9.25 hours and the average adult needs only between seven and nine hours per night. Of course, getting your child to enjoy the recommended hours of sleep each evening is often difficult.

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What If The Baby Rolls Onto The Stomach While Sleeping

Around four to five months of age, babies begin to roll over onto their stomach from their back . This can be alright as the SIDS risk generally lowers by this time. Let the baby find a comfortable sleeping position they may be able to turn the face to the side to keep the mouth and nose free for breathing when sleeping on the stomach. In any case, always place the baby on the back when you put them down on the bed to sleep.

Note that the SIDS risk is at a peak between one and four months of age, but it remains a threat until babies are 12 months old. So, follow other precautions to reduce the risk of SIDS all through your babys first year.

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