Top Baby Sleep Tips
Sleep. I know it’s an issue that can drive parents totally insane and to help you, I want to share some of my top baby sleep tips.
Some of these top baby sleep tips may seem obvious, but in my experience, with all the newness of the baby and your ‘whole world as you know it is totally turned upside down’ effect, it can be hard to be clear-headed and focus on simple thoughts! Your baby will cry. A lot. This is normal. It’s ok. It’s your babies way of talking; expressing their needs.
So many parents get in a panic when their baby cries, feeling they are doing something wrong. Nope, probably not. Over time you will learn to differentiate their cries for food, sleep etc and understand their needs better. In these early months, listen and tune into them. They really do spend a lot of time sleeping and feeding and I guess a lot of these top baby sleep tips that follow are to help pave the way for the future of good sleeping not only for your baby as they grow into a toddler then a child, but for your whole family.
To start with, it’s pretty clear to say how hard the early weeks and months can be. There might be other reasons that make it even more challenging such as reflux, colic, issues with breastfeeding. What’s so important to remember and always keep in mind (it’s tricky but please try, a sleep-deprived person does not always think rationally!) is that things will not always be like this, I promise! Here are some key points:
They sleep a lot!
Though new babies do need a lot of sleep; up to 18 hours out of 24, this will never be for more than 2 – 3 hours at a time. Usually, this is because their natural sleep cycle is broken or they are hungry. Their brains are developing at a very fast rate and they need lots of sleep to support this! Their sleep cycle runs in bouts of approximately 50 minutes and can be made up of light and deep sleep (light sleep will mean you can see movements in the baby that may seem as if they are awake). They cannot differentiate between day and night so will wake during the night for feeds in the early months.
If the baby is rocked, comforted or fed to sleep they may come to associate sleeping with these things. Try to encourage a little independence to help them learn to fall asleep on their own (I know it may seem harsh but trust me, if you don’t want baby waking through the night for months on end and then as a toddler, climbing into your bed, start early with this!).
Don’t intervene too early!
If you jump up at the first murmur, you might be missing a chance to allow baby to learn how to resettle themselves and possibly go back to sleep, helping them (and the family!) get a better sleep. If they don’t go back to sleep, letting them become accustomed to being content by themselves is also helpful (yes please to a lie in past 5 am I hear you say!).
Swaddling is something I highly recommend. It really helps them feel safe and secure in the early months. Also, a newborn has a reflex which means they have zero control over their little limbs and it can cause their flailing arms to scratch themselves.