Parenting can be exhausting and if your newborn baby isn’t sleeping properly day after day, chances are that you won’t be either.
Every individual baby has their own unique needs for sleep. Always remember that your baby’s age, personality and temperament will play a big part in their sleep patterns and behaviours.
Babies often need their parents’ help to learn how to go to sleep and then stay asleep for a reasonable length of time. Well-rested babies, who have regular routines of sleep and wakefulness, tend to be more content and easier to care for.
Here are 5 tips to make bedtime easier for both you and your baby:
- Encourage your baby to feed well. During the day, use up to an hour to encourage him to feed. Wake him up if he is sleepy and put him back to the breast with 5-10 minute breaks when necessary. Encourage long feeds so you’re reassured that he is not hungry. Sleeping after a short feed may result in him not settling or waking too early and snack feeding will become a habit.
- Hold your baby upright over your shoulder for a few minutes. This position helps babies relax and brings up any wind he may have. At the same time, you will give him the reassurance he needs to settle down.
- Wrap baby firmly with his hands away from his face. This helps eliminate insecurities and assists him in settling down. Newborn babies cannot control their movements so, if not swaddled, he will keep himself awake by flapping his hands around.
- Play some music in your baby’s room. This music within the bedroom helps your baby switch off from other stimuli and also stops him feeling alone and vulnerable. Make sure the sound is playing the entire duration that your baby is in bed.
- Swaddle and put him down. There are several resources online to show you how to properly swaddle your infant. Remember swaddles are discouraged after six weeks. You can also try out a sleep sack for safe sleep.
Encouraging your newborn baby to sleep is a process of elimination, and finding out what works best for your little on can be trial and error in the early stages. Remember it can take a newborn sometimes up to 30 to 60 minutes to achieve deep sleep so perservance is often key to finding a routine that works for you.
As your baby gets older, he will become familiar with bedtime if you consistently use these same techniques and as he matures, he will begin to settle down with less assistance.