As infant and Child Sleep Consultants, we often get parents asking what they can do to establish healthy sleep for their infants. There are many things that can be done and we have put together our top 3 newborn sleep tips.
This is probably the hardest part to follow as new babies have very short awake times. They really only need to be awake for a feed, a diaper change and a few kisses, coos and hugs. Ensuring that your newborn is going to sleep at the right times can really help with how much of a battle there is to get them to sleep, how well they sleep and also how overtired they become as the day goes on. Sometimes, being overtired can be a contributing factor to that dreaded witching hour! Some babies will naturally fall asleep within their window while others need a little more help and convincing. Will you always be able to follow the timing for their exact wake windows? No, probably not. Getting your baby to bed within such a short time frame can be a source of stress for parents so do what you can, when you can!
Tip: Even if you are out and about with your little peanut, you can still be aware of their wake windows and actively try to get them to sleep at relatively the right times by:
- Wearing them in a carrier and bouncing them to sleep
- Rolling the stroller around while you are shopping to lull them to sleep
- Sleep Sheeps are a great tool to help soothe them to sleep while you are out and about!
Sleep is sleep
Newborns are so used to being in the womb that when they come out, it is a HUGE change for them. This causes most newborns to want and need closeness to get to sleep. This may mean that they will sleep much better on you than in their own sleep space. At this age, we are more concerned that they are sleeping and not necessarily how or where they are sleeping in the beginning days.
Try not to worry too much about creating associations in the first couple of months. It is pretty hard to avoid having a newborn baby falling asleep while feeding!
However, once they become a little older, it is beneficial to attempt to keep them awake for some of their feedings so that they don’t get too used to feeding to sleep all of the time. (for later) the easy routine works well for some families.) It is also a good idea to try to attempt to put them down to sleep in their own space for some naps and for some of the night.
Tip: It is easier to make sleep changes with a well-rested baby than with an overtired, exhausted one.
Try, try again!
When you are working on transferring them to their own beds or working on some of the sleep associations that they may have developed within the first 3 months, it is important to note that they may not welcome the change the first time or even the first few times you attempt it! Just because they did not like it the first time that you tried to transfer them into their own bed, does not mean that they will never become comfortable in there. Try not to get discouraged if it doesn’t seem to be working at first, the more you do it, the more comfortable they will become with it. Some of us adults don’t even like change until we have experienced something a few times!
Tip: Most babies are more receptive to sleep for their first nap of the day. This is usually a great time to attempt making any changes. When trying to get them used to their own sleep space, start with once per day and move up from there.