Sleep Tips for Baby with @theparentandbabycoach
Friday 19th March 2021 is World Sleep Day. Promoted by the World Sleep Society, it's a chance for sleep professionals to promote awareness around the importance of getting a good night's sleep.
For all new parents, sleep is a priority in the early weeks and months after baby arrives. Although it's normal for babies to wake frequently, sleep can be easier with knowing just a few little extra pieces of information that often as a new parent, no one tells you.
Heidi runs The Parent and Baby Coach, a consulting service that helps support new parents through the first two years and covers feeding, sleep, and colic issues. All babies have the ability to sleep well, but sometimes they just need a little more help and support than you might expect as falling asleep doesn’t always come naturally to new babies!
From when your baby arrives, there are a handful of things that you can do to help support their sleep.
Use a white noise machine
When baby is in utero they are used to hearing the swooshing of the blood through Mum’s placenta which means they are not all that used to the quiet and loud, sharper noises. Using white noise for baby helps drown out any of those unusual noises and will often help baby fall asleep and stay asleep more easily too.
In the first few weeks, your newborn will usually be quite sleepy and will often sleep anywhere including in the middle of the kitchen as noises and smells won't affect them as much. Once they hit around 6 weeks of age, daytime sleep often becomes more difficult. Using a blackout blind for daytime naps and also at bedtime during the summer when the evenings are lighter is really useful in aiding restful sleep. Early waking and short day naps are some of the trickiest sleep challenges to improve and having a darker room increases the production of melatonin – the hormone that promotes sleep.
Swaddling associates with safety
When baby enters the world, their environment is very different, not only due to the noises around them but also the space that they suddenly have. Babies are used to being curled up in the womb, so any movement of arms and legs is minimal.
Swaddling your baby can be hugely beneficial in reducing the Moro reflex, which is the startle reflex that babies are born with and means that with sudden noise, they can throw out their arms and legs which then wakes them, making sleep for both of you more broken!
Be aware of temperature
Babies are unable to regulate their temperature well enough to begin with, which means we need to do a little more to help them. The Lullaby Trust Safe Sleep Guidelines suggest that your baby should be sleeping in a room of 16-20°C with appropriate sleepwear on – this means adding a layer in the cooler months and then ensuring baby does not get too warm in the summer months. Lightweight swaddles and sleeping bags are ideal for helping baby maintain their body temperature, meaning they sleep better too!
Make winding your best friend
A well-fed and winded baby is a happy baby! Although well-meaning relatives or friends may suggest that breastfed babies don’t need winding, or that one burp is enough, my very biggest tip on helping baby to sleep well would be to ensure that they are taking nice full feeds every couple of hours as well as being winded in different positions, helping dislodge any burps. A stuck burp can be the difference between a 30 minute nap and a nice long restorative two hour nap, so working on this during your baby’s awake time can be huge and is one of the least talked about tips for baby sleep!
Know when to snuggle up
You cannot spoil your baby, so lots of cuddles and naps whilst laying on you during those early months are a perfect way of helping bridge the gap between being in the womb and them entering the big world outside. Thinking about your baby’s sleep environment and practising putting them down for some of their sleep will create healthy sleep habits that you get to keep for life!
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