Newborn Baby Sleeping Tips
The most important question for most new parents is: How to get baby to sleep? Putting baby down to sleep and helping him stay asleep can feel like an impossible mission sometimes, especially during the first several months of baby’s life.
Read our article and learn some practical things that could help both you and your baby catch some sleep.
How Much Do Babies Sleep?
Newborn babies tend to sleep from 14 to 18 hours a day. Several weeks or even months may pass before baby’s sleep settles into a pattern.
In the early days of their lives, babies tend to wake up every 3-4 hours to eat which is crucial for their proper growth and development. After a few weeks or months they sleep a bit less and usually take only three naps a day.
Tips for Putting Your Baby to Sleep
As your baby grows and becomes more aware of his surroundings, it may be harder for him to fall asleep on time. This happens because during the first months of baby’s life, his emotional, intellectual and social skills are slowly developing and he becomes more aware of new daily experiences which can then keep him up to late.
In other words, just like certain daytime situations can keep grown up people awake and impact their nighttime sleep, the same thing may happen to babies, and you should do everything you can to provide your baby with the comfort he needs and help him fall asleep easier.
Here are some guidelines that may be helpful to you.
Know Your Baby
To get to know your baby and his sleep needs better, you should take note of everything that might affect his sleep, from diet to mood and then analyze your observations to get the clues.
For example, if your baby is really happy and then starts staring off into space, it may be a sign that he wants to go to sleep. Watch for other signs of sleepiness like redness in the face, heavy eyes and even hyperactivity.
If your baby gets cranky, starts rubbing his eyes or yawning a lot, this means that the child is tired and ready to go to sleep. You may not know this right away, especially if this is your first child. That’s why you should observe his behavior and get to know his needs better.
Clear the clutter
The room where baby sleeps should be reserved only for sleep. Don’t allow your baby to play there and keep the area around the crib free of toys and other things that can attract his attention.
Crib distractions can confuse the baby and make him wonder whether the crib is a place to play or a place to sleep.
Share Your Room With the Baby but Not Your Bed
It is recommended that you sleep in the same room with your baby for at least the first six months up to a year, but you should not sleep in the same bed.
Sleeping in the same room can help your baby sleep for longer stretches, it encourages breastfeeding, and also helps reduce the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Being that close to your baby can help regulate his breathing, temperature and nervous system reactions.
Keep Ideal Temperature
Baby sleeps best when the temperature is consistent and when it is not too hot or too cool. Ideal temperature would be between 69 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit.
Avoid over-bundling your baby and dress him in layers instead so you can regulate his temperature and comfort levels easier.
Make sure to put the crib in the right spot too. Pick a place that isn’t in the direct pathway of your heating vents or air-conditioning because sudden changes in temperature will startle and disturb baby.
Swaddling your newborn baby helps mimic the feeling in a womb, and it can help baby sleep for longer stretches and more soundly during the early months of his life.
This means to wrap your baby up in a blanket which will help him feel safe and secure. It can also help him stay asleep during startle reflex moments which are similar to our feeling of falling which we may experience while falling asleep. It usually takes 4-5 months for a baby to stop the startling.
Wear Your Baby
If your baby is particularly fussy or you just want to snuggle with your child, you can “wear” baby by using a sling.
Although it may seem that your baby is folded up in a sling too much, this again mimics the feeling babies have while they are in wombs. It will make your baby feel safe and secure and allow him to be close to you which can further calm him and help him fall sleep faster.
You can also try to swing your baby and lull him to sleep in that way.
Soothe Your Baby with Sound
White noise which comes from vacuum cleaner, fan whirring, hair dryer, etc. can help a newborn baby fall asleep and stay asleep because those are the sounds that resemble the sounds baby hears in mom’s womb (the sound of mom’s blood flow, heart beating, etc.).
Of course, you can’t run the vacuum cleaner all day, so you can get a white noise machine instead that comes with a wide range of sounds to choose from.