It’s very normal for newborns to spend more time sleeping than awake during their first three months. In fact, sleeping is so important for the development that experts say a newborn can spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping. Here are 5 tips to help your newborn get better sleep.
It is best to put your newborn down to sleep when they are feeling drowsy rather than when they are fast asleep1. Study and figure out your newborn’s routine before they fall asleep. It will help you figure out the precise time to lay them down. This will help your baby practice falling asleep on his/her own without soothing from a parent. It will also give you more time to get some rest of your own.
2- Wait Before Going to Your Baby
When your newborn cries at night, make sure to hesitate a few minutes before going to check on them. This will allow a newborn the opportunity to calm down and go back to sleep1. If you are constantly monitoring your baby, they won’t learn to calm back down without your help. Be alert of your newborn’s crying and fussing but wait to see if the crying will stop on its own. Don’t turn the lights on if you do go to your newborn. The change from dark to light will wake up his/her brain and make it harder for them to fall back asleep.
3- Active Play Time
While your newborn is awake, make sure to have active play time with him/her. This will make your newborn stay awake for consistent periods of time making him/her more tired. The more tired they are, the longer they will sleep (in most cases)2. Put your newborn in a well-lit room with plenty of sunlight during play time. A couple hours before your baby sleeps, dim the lights down or move your baby to a room with less lighting. Doing so will help your baby get acclimated to a darker place. This will make it easier for them to fall asleep when bedtime comes. A dim bluish night-light can also help your newborn fall asleep quicker2.
4- Go Easy on Amount of Diaper Changes
Your newborn does not need a diaper change every time they cry. Not too mention, diaper changes are more likely to make your newborn fully wake up. However, if a diaper change is needed, try to do it as quietly as possible. Use warm wipes in a room with low light to keep your baby fast asleep1. A great way to do this is plug in a dim night light in the room so you can see but not wake your baby up.
5- Consistent Bedtime Routine
It is important to find a consistent bedtime as well as bedtime routine for your newborn. A consistent routine sets their internal clock to help them sleep at a predictable time2. An early and consistent bedtime will also help a newborn to calm down easier. Giving them a bath and singing a song while rocking them are good examples of a simple bedtime routine.
This makes sense as even your body craves routine. If you set up a routine for yourself before bed, you will find it easier to fall asleep quicker and more consistently. When you are running on short amounts of sleep while caring for a newborn, you will want to fall asleep as quick as you can.
Getting a newborn to sleep is a tricky process. Most newborns have a hard time sleeping through the night. Don’t get discouraged if you have a hard time getting your baby to sleep and/or getting your baby to stay asleep.
1- Reviewed by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory BoardLast updated: March 2016. (2016, November 28). Expert sleep strategies for babies. Retrieved January 13, 2017. http://www.babycenter.com/0_expert-sleep-strategies-for-babies_1445907.bc
2- WebMD. 7 Questions About Your Newborn Baby’s First Week. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/treat-diaper-rash-16/newborn-first-week