Newborns and sleep!

20120511_175328Remember when you were pregnant? Every second person you spoke to told you to get as much sleep as you could, whilst you still could? You smiled politely and thought ‘It can’t be that bad!’.

Then you gave birth. Suddenly, nearly every waking moment (and there are lots) is taken up with questions of sleep!

When should they sleep? Why won’t they sleep? How do I get them to sleep? How long should they sleep for? They have finally fallen asleep but are due a feed, do I wake them??

So, the good news: healthy babies need lots of sleep, and they generally can’t sleep too much!

The bad news: up until roughly six weeks, they’ll sleep to their own rhythm, not necessarily the one we as parents desire, mores the pity!

The Dos:

  • Let them fall asleep in your arms
  • Cuddle them and walk around the room with a gentle rocking, bouncing motion
  • When they fall asleep, transfer them into the moses basket, slowly and gently, maintaining contact until you know they are settled (hint: pre-warming the moses basket with a hot water bottle can help ease the transfer but REMOVE bottle before you put baby in!!)
  • Encourage background noise – they are used to it, and find it soothing
  • When your newborn falls asleep, leave them to it they often stir but settle again.

The Don’ts:

  • Do not wake them during the day, so that they will sleep better at night, they are too young for tricks like that!
  • Resist the urge to feed them again, unless you have been trying to get them to sleep for more than two hours
  • Do not pick them up the minute they stir – leave them a while to see if they will settle again
  • Do not tip-toe around the house for fear of disturbing them
  • Do not wake them for a feed, sleep is just as nourishing.

So you have fed them, changed their nappy, sang lullabies galore and they are STILL not asleep; what then? They are either not tired or are over-tired. Change your tactics. Give them a little floor / lap play-time for about ten minutes until you see the signs of tiredness, and then try cuddling them to sleep.

Not saying it is easy, but hopefully this will help in the early days!

Thanks for reading : )

I love feedback, please leave any thoughts and comments below.


PS: I will be posting about getting older babies and toddlers to sleep in due course, baby steps!!



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Bringing Baby Home :) | BabySteps

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