Newborn babies sleep a lot
It’s hard to believe, but they’re asleep approximately 18 hours a day with 2-3 hours of sleep intervals. That’s all they did while in the womb and the routine continues for quite a few weeks after birth.
However, these 18 hours of sleep are not continuous. The child will take breaks in between to feed, socialise, play then fall right back to sleep.
Creating a sleep routine is important for any new mum. You will be really tired and need rest too. Your partner and other family members might be available to help take care of the new addition sometimes, but they won’t always be around, hence the need for a good sleep routine. If you want to establish a solid sleep routine, it’s good to start when your baby is a few weeks old.
Once they get to the stage where they dictate their own routines, it will be difficult to get them out of it. However, as much as you need to establish a sleep schedule, it is important to note that adequate sleep is an important phase for newborns so do not reduce or interfere with their sleeping hours.
1. Note when they are tired
During the first eight weeks, you will notice that your baby won’t be able to stay awake for more than about two hours at a time. You need to note your baby’s sleep signals such as; rubbing the eyes, fussiness, flicking the ears, yawning and stretching, loss of interest in toys and persons and grizzling. Your baby may also refuse to feed but bury their head into your chest instead. When you notice these signs, immediately put your baby in their cot before they fall asleep in your arms. The baby will learn that they do not need to be held or cuddled every single time in order to fall asleep. In the future, they will fall asleep wherever they are without making a fuss or needing a cuddle.
2. Differentiate between night and day
Most babies tend to stay awake all night and sleep during the day! This reverse technique can disrupt everybody’s routine and interfere with your own sleep and rest. Your baby is new to the world and doesn’t know how things work -. so they will need assistance in differentiating between night and day. Perform some activities to help get the message through, such as having them sleep in the lounge room in a pram or bassinet during the day, and only putting them in their cot at night. Most babies get the drift after a few days and will adjust to the change. This will however depend on your consistency in making the routine stick.
3. Make them as comfortable as possible
Newborn babies can be restless during bedtime and often wake up at night due to discomfort. For a successful night’s sleep, ensure that your baby is comfortable enough. Dress them in clothes that are warm or cool enough depending on the temperature, dry nappies, comfortable mattress and bedding, and a peaceful environment. Giving the baby a bath and a soft massage may add to the comfort and relax you and your baby.
4. Ensure that baby is well fed
Babies will wake up at night if they are hungry. In this case, ensure that they have had the right amount of breastmilk or formula to last them for more than 2 hours depending on their feeding habits. Overfeeding and underfeeding them will cause issues with settling, so be accurate on the amount of food that fills them up.
5. No stimulating activities before bedtime
Stimulating a child with toys will keep them awake longer than they need to, and lead to over-stimulation. Attempts to make the baby fall asleep will not work because the brain is activated. Get rid of all toys and other stimulating items away from baby’s cot and bedroom. Make it as calm an environment as possible.