Tips for Getting Your Newborn Baby to Sleep
It is widely known that parents say goodbye to their sleeping routine once they welcome a newborn into the fold, but with so many books and guides out there which detail a variety of techniques to help you get your baby to sleep it can sometimes feel like you’re doing something wrong. However, it is important to remember that you are not, just because something worked in a book does not mean it will work for you in practice. In order to help you if you’re struggling, we’ve put together some simple tips and tricks for encouraging sleep in a newborn; all of which can be tailored to you and your own routine.
Swaddling is one of the most tried and tested techniques for settling a newborn to sleep. Newborn babies possess a startle reflex which can make them feel like they are falling, subsequently waking them up. Swaddling helps to prevent this by preventing babies from flailing their arms or legs. In addition, the feeling of being swaddled mimics the snug comfort of the womb. All of these benefits of swaddling can assist in getting a newborn to go to sleep and stay asleep. From about 4-5 months babies may be able to free their arms from their swaddle and at this stage you may want to stop swaddling.
2. Sleep Routines
Having a routine is integral to sleep quality across all ages, from children to adults. So, it will come as no surprise that it can help a newborn sleep also. In the first 3 months babies don’t follow a schedule for sleep however a pre-sleep routine can help them learn the cues for sleep. Babies thrive on routine and structure; therefore, a consistent routine will help teach your baby the cues for when it is time for sleep. There are various tips and tricks out there of how exactly to structure your routine, but don’t stress yourself too much with the specifics and do what works for you.
3. Learn the Cues
Similar to how your baby will start to take cues from their routine, you can learn to take cues from them. As newborns don’t follow a set schedule, knowing their tiredness signs is essential. It is important to know the signs of overtiredness also; overtired babies will take much longer to get to sleep. Some common cues that your baby is sleepy include yawning, rubbing their eyes or head, being fussy and not holding your gaze.
4. Develop a Nappy Changing Strategy
Many babies aren’t as bothered by a wet nappy as we think. Of course, babies suffering with nappy rash should have their wet nappy changed as often as possible to alleviate the issue however for many babies it isn’t necessary to change it that often. Many people will change their babies nappy post-feed to keep times between nappy changes short, however pre-feed changes can actually work better when trying to get babies to sleep. Changing post-feed can cause them to become alert right before nap time, whereas if they are already changed, they can drift off sooner.
Of course, with anything when it comes to a newborn, remember that everything is entirely personal to you and your circumstance. Not everything will work for you that works for someone else, so remind yourself you’re doing a great job and stick to the things you’ve found work for you.