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Newborn Sleep

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

I became a mummy for a second time last year, so I wanted to share some useful tips for those new and expecting parents, as well as set you up with realistic expectations, some of which I wish I had known with my first born.

First and most importantly safe sleep is crucial!

It is important you know your newborn ABC:

Alone on their Back in the Crib

They should also lay on a flat firm surface with feet at the bottom end.

The NHS, The Lullaby Trust and AAP all recommend your baby sleeps in their own sleep space in your room for the first 6 months of life, whether it's a bassinet, crib or cot that meets safety standards. Ensure there is nothing in the sleep space with your baby to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), babies do not need toys, loose bedding or bumpers, these are a risk because they don’t have the strength or ability to roll or push back into a safe position, therefore the risk of smothering themselves is reduced on their back.

It is also why it is not recommended to have your baby in the car seat for too long, especially when not in the Isofix base and clicked into the buggy base, as they are angled so that the baby can keep their neck in a safe position so it doesn't close their airway.

Newborn Sleep

I hear and see so often comments like; "Why isn't my new baby sleeping when I put them to bed? Why is my newborn only settled when being held? When can I start a routine with my new baby?"

Honestly, there is no need for routine or worrying about creating habits for at least the first 8 weeks. BE FLEXIBLE. Your baby just left a warm, cosy, and familiar environment in the womb, and has been bought out into a bright, noisy, completely new world! A baby can not be spoiled, if cuddling or wearing your baby helps your baby sleep then do it, they find swaying/rocking soothing because they were carried around in that environment for months with you.

It fascinates me how a baby can be comfortable all curled up in mummy's tummy especially as they get bigger! So it's no surprise that (most) babies love to be curled up in the early weeks, swaddling is a fantastic way to help your baby feel comforted and safe while they sleep. There are different ways to do this as well as products, so do your research and swaddle safely, as soon as your baby starts rolling, make sure you stop using a swaddle and move to an age appropriate sleep sac.

Feeding on demand is important while your baby gets back to their birth weight and continues to grow at a healthy pace, which is crucial for their development mentally and physically. You will experience those tough exhausting days and nights of cluster feeding during the early weeks, but they soon find a rhythm so hold on in there!

White noise can be a great tool for encouraging sleep, it helps drown out the everyday noises, the doorbell ringing, traffic, even the loud sibling! It’s also a familiar, comforting and calming sound for them, imitating the noises from inside the womb.

However, it's not for all babies, my own baby found it too stimulating for her so it is worth experimenting with what works for your baby. If you do use a white noise machine/toy, keep it at a volume baby is comfortable with, not too loud and out of the babies sleep space, approximately 2 meters away.

All babies have a natural sucking reflex that they use for comfort as well as feeding, so even if you are breastfeeding I wouldn't discourage you from using a dummy, especially if you're exhausted, I myself used one after 3 weeks of breastfeeding and had no issues.

My top tips are:

  • Swaddle, Swaddle, Swaddle (always safely)

  • Use a sling during the day

  • Use soothing techniques

  • Wind your baby

  • Have daily tummy time

  • Enjoy cuddles!

8 Weeks old

Your baby is now smiling, taking in more of their environment now and you start to understand their cries and coos. This is when you can start to introduce simple steps towards a routine. A routine can last as little as a minute for a baby of this age.

My top tips are:

  • Expose your baby to natural light & fresh air when awake

  • Use warm red/orange night lights during the night

  • Begin settling your baby in their own bed for at least 1 nap

  • Use a video/sound monitor

  • Wind your baby

  • Lots of tummy time

  • Enjoy cuddles!

12 Weeks old

They are much more alert, seeing and hearing much clearer and their motor skills are developing. You will likely find your baby is forming patterns in feeding and sleeping as well as showing stronger sleepy cues.

My top tips are:

  • Create a dark, calm environment for baby when sleeping during the day

  • Watch for sleepy cues

  • Practice putting your little one down sleepy but awake

  • Wind your baby

  • Lots of tummy time

  • Enjoy cuddles!

Wake windows for your baby:

  • Up to 4 weeks old - 45 to 60 minutes

  • 4 to 8 wks - 45 to 75 minutes

  • 8 to 12 wks - 45 to 90 minutes

When using baby products I advise to always check reviews, do your research particularly on sleep aids such as sleep sacs, cribs, carriers, white noise machines and night lights.

There is lots more for you to know, so if you would like to hear more and learn how to grow a Dreamy Little Sleeper (so that you don't have to sleep train), you can purchase my Newborn E-Book for the sleep basics or contact me for more information on my Nurturing Newborn sleep package via the tab below.

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