You’re home from the delivery room with a tiny new member of the family. All routines have simply vanished: eating, sleeping and being awake at strange hours. 24 hours a day! Does anyone have an instruction manual on newborn sleep?
Feelings of hunger and being full control how a newborn sleep.
In the first few weeks, food and sleep dominate the newborn’s world. Eating takes a lot of energy, making your baby tired and so making them fall asleep. And when they wake up again, hunger is often the cause.
9 tips on newborn sleep
Understand the transition your newborn has gone through. Being born is probably the most traumatic experience of our lives. From being safe and snug in the womb and constantly nourished, newborn babies must suddenly be able to breathe on their own, be able to scream and give signals when hungry. This adaptation needs to take its time.
Get prepared and think positively. Try to prepare yourself mentally that the early days will be tough when it comes to sleeping. That’s just how it is for most new parents. Try to think positively instead and be grateful for the hours of sleep you actually do get. As new parents, we get a kick from certain hormones and can manage a lack of sleep during those early days better than we think.
Let your newborn set the pace. Don’t expect that your baby will instantly adapt to your own circadian rhythm. Instead, follow your baby’s pace. One day is usually never like the next. After a difficult night, the next night will likely get a little easier.
Try to sleep when your baby sleeps. Most newborns sleep soundly during the early morning and morning hours. Try to rest when the baby rests too. Turn off your cellphone and alarm clock.
Respect and accept change. An awful lot happens throughout the first year of a baby’s development, so it’s quite natural that the baby’s sleep patterns change. One week your newborn might sleep well and the next week a little worse. That’s completely normal.
Make the difference between day and night clear. Commit yourself to an evening routine that you do at the same time every day. Perhaps a bath and baby massage, soft lighting and quiet music. Keep it dark and quiet at night, don’t turn the lights on unnecessarily and don’t put on the TV or loud music. Don’t change diapers unnecessarily; try to change only poop diapers at night. And avoid turning on
Take turns sleeping. If you have a partner, share the burden and create a sleeping schedule. If you have more children at home, help each other out and take turns being awake with the older kids and sleeping with the newborn.
Carry your newborn close. Your newborn baby needs a lot of closeness during the first weeks. Spoiling your baby with closeness is impossible. Instead it makes your baby feel calm and secure, and it promotes bonding.
Be patient. Your baby’s circadian rhythm will change. A one-year-old will definitely have outgrown their newborn sleep cycle. Remember that everyone is different and develops at different rates, even newborns. Infancy is a short period in life, so try not to lose perspective.