8 Tips For Better Sleep with a Newborn
Babies are quite literally the best thing that can ever happen to parents as their arrival changes the entire way of living for the parents. In this article, I will give some tips by which you can put your baby a better sleep.
This may be an obvious one, but think about it. It refers to the ancient school way of tying the baby with the baby cloth or alike material to mimic a womb-like environment and help him to settle his nervous system and sleep better. It also helps minimize sudden moments made by a child which can break it's sleep in the crib.
2. Use light as a signal
"Lights push your child's biological 'go' button," says Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution. On the flip side, darkness triggers the brain to release melatonin, a key sleep hormone. Keep your baby's days bright and his nights dark and he'll quickly figure out when it's time to sleep. During the day, allow plenty of sunlight, even during day naps. At night, start dimming the lights to set the mood, and keep their room completely dark. Use blackout drapes, and don't turn on lights when you go to check on them.
3. Dream Feeding
A dream feed is where you feed your baby while she is still asleep, just before you go to bed. For example if your baby goes to sleep at 7 p.m., you dream feed around 10 p.m. before you go to bed, and baby might sleep until 4 or 6 a.m. or later, giving you a 6 to 8 hours of sleep straight. It doesn't always work, and can sometimes create new problems, but it's certainly understandable why sleep-deprived parents give this a try. Be sure the baby is not lying flat, that they are awake enough to eat, and remember to burp afterwards.
4. Limit day nap length
Naps are great, as they keep the baby from getting over tired and over stimulated. But you want to limit the length of the naps, so that they will still want to sleep at night. This also allows for more feedings during the day. More day feedings = less night feedings.
5. Don’t talk in the middle of the night
If you see your baby stirring at night, avoid making eye contact and talking to him. This will help keep him from completely waking up, and can make it difficult to fall asleep again. Stay calm and resist the urge to interact with your baby during those times.
6. Adopting bed-time and pre-nap routines
This doesn't necessarily mean a sleeping schedule if that's not what works for your family. But establishing a pre-sleep routine for your baby may include giving the baby a bath, closing the curtains, swaddling, turning on white noise, rocking the baby for a few moments, changing diapers, and feeding. All of these will help signal to the baby it is time to wind down for sleep.
7. Resist the urge to rush in
Parents can actually create the start of a bad sleep habit by rushing in every time the baby makes a noise. Like adults, babies wake up during the night and not knowing how to settle back to sleep yet, they cry. This is a crucial time to help baby learn to fall asleep independently, so after making sure the baby is not hungry or wet, let the baby go back to sleep on their own without disturbing them and making the night longer than it needs to be.
8. Understand newborn sleep
Understanding how a newborn sleeps may help take a lot of the frustration out of dealing with the sleepless nights. Adults operate on a circadian rhythm, which means when they are exposed to day light, it signals to their brain its awake time and it produces cortisol. On the other hand, absence of light helps your body wind down by releasing melatonin. Babies are not yet governed by this rhythm, so their sleep patterns are erratic. They sleep in short bursts, and it's even more complicated by their need to feed frequently.
You can help them establish their brand new circadian rhythm by making them part of your daily routine, reducing stimulation at night, and exposing them to natural light patterns. Most infants take about 12 weeks to show day-night rhythms in the production of melatonin, but cortisol may take longer to emerge. Overall, babies may take 3-5 months before they sleep for more than 5 hours at a stretch.
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