A newborn baby is one of the greatest joys in life and an exciting time for everyone in the household. Unfortunately, it's hard to experience every special moment because most newborn babies may sleep for most of the day and seem to not sleep at night. Thankfully, your baby will eventually stay awake for longer periods during the day and sleep through the night. Most babies will start to sleep through the night at four to six months old. You should try to sleep when the baby sleeps, because it may be the only time you can rest. In the meantime, there are ways to maximize the length and quality of your baby's sleep. Below are a few stunning tips to help your baby fall asleep faster and snooze for longer.
Swaddle & Cuddle
Swaddling is done by snugly wrapping your baby in a blanket, creating a similar sensation to being in the womb. It's a secure, relaxing feeling and helps them fall asleep. Swaddling has many advantages and can be used to help your baby get to sleep during the first couple months. Babies tend to flail their legs and arms while sleeping and they can inadvertently awaken themselves, as they do not yet have control of their limbs. This is referred to as the startle reflex. Swaddling keeps their limbs in place, but you must be careful not to wrap the blanket too tightly, especially in the hip area. Be sure to always monitor your baby while swaddling because the blanket can come unwrapped. Any loose articles in the crib can increase the risk of smothering, suffocation, or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Babies also love to be cuddled before naptime. This is fine for the first few months, and you can swaddle or cuddle your newborn baby to help them sleep, but also find alternate methods of comfort. Your long-term goal should be teaching your baby to self-soothe to sleep.
Babies fall asleep much faster in a dimly lit environment, which is one of the conditions that made their time in the womb feel calm and relaxing. Darkness triggers the release of melatonin, a key hormone to promote sleep and the beginning of establishing a circadian rhythm. You want your baby to eventually figure out the difference between day and night, and that nighttime is for sleeping. Daytime should be kept bright versus the darkness of late evening and night. During daytime hours, expose your baby to lots of sunlight by opening the shades or taking them outside. If the sunlight interferes with your baby's sleep schedule, adjust lighting by installing room-darkening shades. When its time to wake up, open the curtains to let in sunlight to help your baby associate light with being awake. Help your baby realize when it's time to sleep by keeping their surroundings dark. Lower the lights in the evening for an hour or two before bedtime to set the mood. Your baby will eventually figure out when it's time to sleep if you keep the days bright and the nights dark.
Continue reading to learn how to use white noise and music to your advantage.
Use White Noise & Music
The use of white noise and music is very effective for soothing a fussy baby and helping them to fall asleep. A newborn is used to a variety of sounds, not silence, from being in the womb for nine months. They hear your heart beating and your stomach growling. Some babies sleep better when there's background noise. You can purchase a white noise machine, play soft music, or turn on a fan. White noise or music can be very helpful for your baby's sleep from four to twelve months of age, as babies typically experience a host of sleep problems during this time. They start teething and are more alert, and they wake up more easily at noises during the night. In addition, activities like swaddling that stimulate the calming reflex are no longer feasible or effective. When your baby hears the white noise in the background, it will become linked to the contentment of sleep.
A dream feed is done right before bedtime to extend sleep for both mother and baby. The baby is roused from sleep to feed in an attempt to improve the quality and duration of sleep. Some babies may seem slightly awake while feeding, where others may seem to feed without waking at all. These feedings are also referred to as a late-evening feed or the 10 pm to 11 pm feed. Your baby will typically go right back to sleep after the feeding and may sleep longer than normal.
Most babies will awaken at some point during the night for feeding until they're about four to six months. Rather than waiting for your baby to wake up hungry, you can gently wake them for a late-evening feeding before you go to bed. This extra feeding can help some babies to sleep for longer periods during the night, and some believe it may reset babies' internal clock and extend sleeping time after 11 pm. Dream feeding can also be used to encourage latching if your baby is having issues with nursing.
Follow A Nap & Bedtime Routine
Follow a nap & bedtime routine to help your baby develop good sleep habits. You can start your nighttime ritual when your baby's about six to eight weeks old. It can be the typical things you do with your baby every night before bed. The key is consistency. Getting your baby ready for bed by singing a lullaby or reading a story are basic examples. You want your baby to learn the difference between fun daytime activities and less stimulating nighttime activities like sleep. Daylight hours should involve playtime with lots of activity and stimulation.
Babies tend to drift off to sleep after feedings, so try to keep your baby awake for a bit. When it's close to bedtime, cut back on all forms of stimulation and maintain a tranquil environment conducive to sleep. Keep noise levels down and lights dimmed. Lighting is crucial to set your baby's internal clock. Our brain associates light with being awake and darkness with sleep. Your baby will gradually distinguish between daytime and nighttime from these measures and cues in the environment.