Bringing home a newborn baby from the hospital can bring on many different emotions, especially if it is your first! You’ll be excited about your new life together, but things can seem pretty scary too. With all of the newness that you’ll have to conquer, one thing that you’ll want to master quickly is sleep!
Of course, in the first four weeks of your baby’s life or until they’ve gotten back up to their birth weight, you’ll want to feed your baby every 2-3 hours. Yes, that even means you might have to wake your sleeping baby to eat! Babies love to sleep, but feeding them is important too! Once your baby is showing good growth and weight gain, you can start to work towards longer stretches of sleep at night.
Most parents would KILL for 4 hour stretch of sleep, and it is possible! Here are our 7 tips to help your newborn sleep throughout the night.
Tip 1 – Put your baby in a swaddle!
If you haven’t tried to swaddle your babe for their nighttime sleep, it’s time you start! The swaddle for sleep time reminds your baby of the womb – tight, warm, and cozy. Also, the swaddle reduces the Moro reflex which can wake a baby up after they have fallen asleep.
Keeping the arms in and snug will help your baby not wake themselves up and they will sleep longer throughout the night. Also, your baby will start to associate the swaddle with sleep and will eventually know that once the swaddle is on, it’s time to sleep.
Tip 2 – Wake The Baby During the Day
If you get those calories in during the day, you’ll have better chances to get sleep in at night. Most people tell you, never wake a sleeping baby. However, we have different rules! If it has been longer than 3 hours since the last feeding, wake your baby during the day and feed them!
If you don’t wake them up during the day, they will wake you up at night! There are a certain amount of calories your baby needs in 24 hours and if you get more in during the day, you’ll have less at night.
Tip 3 – Let the sunshine in!
Daylight helps us as humans know the difference between day and night time. We rely on the day and sunlight between our days and nights, and your baby is the same. Get outside and get your baby in the sunlight.
A walk outside will expose your baby to light and they might sleep better at night time. During awake time, be sure to expose your baby to daylight. If you can’t get outside, turn the lights on!
Bonus tip – during night time feedings, don’t watch tv – you’ll keep your baby wide awake!
Tip 4 – Use a sound machine
Babies grew in your womb for 9-10 months and are used to the loud noises of your placenta, heartbeat, and blood rushing through the uterus. That is the equivalent of always hearing the vacuum on.
To soothe your baby and allow them to get a good rest, invest in a good sound machine, or two! Use the sound machine for day and night sleep.
Tip 5 – Practice Falling Asleep On Your Own
Laying your baby down twice a day for a nap is really beneficial for babies. This allows them to learn how to fall asleep alone. To put your baby to sleep, simply swaddle them, play the sound machine, rock them to settle, offer a pacifier and put the baby down when they are drowsy.
Try to put the baby down when they are not fully asleep, so they can learn how to fall asleep by themselves. Learning this skill is crucial to learning night sleep.
Tip 6 – Naps are your best friend
Naps are important and crucial for your baby’s development. Good sleep during the day will lead to better sleep at night! Understand that a newborn may nap from only 20 minutes up to 2 hours. Naps will become regular and consistent starting at five months. However, you should always offer you baby a nap throughout the day. The right length to offer a nap is every 60 – 90 minutes.
Don’t forget our tip above to get them to sleep! When babies are overtired, they get a rush of adrenaline and become difficult to put down. Don’t stress if naps aren’t perfect, but try to offer naps consistently.
If you work on these tips above consistently and with diligence, you’ll have yourself a great sleeper in no time!