Hey there exhausted new parent! Read on for some simple tips on helping your newborn baby sleep better...
Don't worry though, I'm a firm believer in a gentle approach so you won't find any recommendations for leaving your new little one to cry, just gentle little tips and tricks to help you both along the journey to a good night's rest...
As a new parent, getting your newborn to sleep can be a challenge. However, establishing healthy sleep patterns early on can benefit both you and your baby in the long run. This guide offers practical tips and tricks to help your little one sleep soundly, from creating a calming sleep environment to establishing a consistent bedtime routine.
My top tips for helping your baby sleep
Understand Normal Newborn Sleep Patterns
Newborns typically sleep for 16-17 hours a day, but they do so in short bursts of 2-4 hours at a time. This means that they will wake up frequently throughout the day and night, and it's normal for them to have irregular sleep patterns.
As they grow, their sleep patterns will become more regular and they will start to sleep for longer stretches at night. This can be a hard adjustment to make when you're used to a solid 8 hours a night. I remember when my little sleep-thief was born, I thought I had a 'broken' baby until I did lots of reading and realised that this was normal! This is itself was comforting.
Create a Consistent Sleep Environment
A calm and comfortable sleep environment is essential for helping your baby sleep better. Make sure the room is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Use blackout curtains or shades to block out any light, and consider using a white noise machine to drown out any background noise. If you've had a session with me you'll know I'm a big advocate of white noise, it can work wonders! To help with the transition from your warm arms to their bed surface, lay a warm hot water bottle to lessen the chance they'll be startled and woken by the cold surface.
Establish a Bedtime Routine or rhythm
Establishing a consistent bedtime routine is crucial for helping your newborn develop healthy sleep habits. I actually love the term rhythm over routine, it feels less rigid and more realistic. It's about creating a familiar and consistent flow when it comes to bedtime (as opposed to a set timeframe of tasks) so that your little one comes to know what to expect at the end of their day.
This routine or rhythm should be calming and predictable, and can include activities such as a warm bath, a story or lullaby, and some quiet time before bed. By following the same flow every night, your baby will learn to associate these activities with sleep, and will be more likely to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep longer. Remember to keep the routine simple and consistent, and to start it at roughly the same time every night when you can.
You've got this! It really does get easier
Oh my goodness, motherhood is not easy!
The adjustment to sleep deprivation really has to be one of the hardest parts of becoming a new parent. My son was a serious non-sleeper and I honestly wasn't sure how I'd cope at points. Some days and weeks are purely about survival and that's ok!
I hope that by trying some of these simple approaches it'll help you get through this first phase of newborn sleep...
You've got this! Even if some days it doesn't feel like it.
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