There’s A Baby In My House! Now What? How To Encourage Healthy Sleep

Baby Sleep

There’s A Baby In My House! Now What? How To Encourage Healthy Sleep

You’ve just had a baby and you are trying to navigate your new role of being a mom. You are excited. You are over whelmed. You are exhausted. And the first question people will ask is: “How is your baby sleeping?”

It’s important to have an understanding of your baby’s sleep needs and how you can encourage them to adopt healthy sleep habits. Here’s what you need to know:

Timing is everything – newborn sleep patterns

Newborns need a lot of sleep. How much sleep do babies need? In a 24-hour period, a newborn can sleep up to 18 hours, but their newborn sleep patterns aren’t well established. The length of time they stay asleep at one time largely depends on the size of their stomach at this early age (something you can’t control). Instead, your focus should be on an appropriate awake interval. Newborns should only be awake for 45-60 minutes at a time. Putting baby to sleep then will ensure that they don’t become overtired and fight sleep throughout the day.

How much sleep do babies need? In a 24-hour period, a newborn can sleep up to 18 hours, but their newborn sleep patterns aren’t well established.

Limit the use of props

Props are external items (think soother, bottle, breast) or actions (think rocking, bouncing, swinging) that help your baby fall asleep. The goal from an early age is to encourage your baby to fall asleep by putting baby to sleep without using props all the time. It’s impossible to predict whether or not you will need to rely on props. This depends largely on what your baby’s demeanor is like. Try to limit their use, but don’t make it the focus of your efforts in encouraging healthy sleep habits.

 

The goal from an early age is to encourage your baby to fall asleep by putting baby to sleep without using props all the time.

 

Establish a routine

I know, I know. You’ve heard this already…but it really is important. Routines help your child make the transition from being awake to asleep. A newborn sleep routine can be short, but should incorporate some consistent elements that set the stage for sleep. Daytime nap routines are equally as important as bedtime routines and can be as short as 3-5 minutes in length.

A newborn sleep routine can be short, but should incorporate some consistent elements that set the stage for sleep.

 

Encourage a pattern of feeding your baby after they wake from their naps, rather than before

The pattern of: wake, eat, play, sleep helps to encourage fuller feeds because your baby is more likely to be well rested after they wake up. A well-rested baby is better able to focus on the feeding and put their energy towards drinking. It also helps to minimize their reliance on feeding as a way to fall asleep.

The more effort you can put into shaping their sleep habits from an early age, the less likely you will need to introduce behavioral sleep training methods when they are older.

 

Don’t stress yourself out about sleep

It’s never too early or too late to start making some positive changes to your child’s sleep habits. The more effort you can put into shaping their sleep habits from an early age, the less likely you will need to introduce behavioral sleep training methods when they are older. That being said, newborn babies have unique needs and you may need to be flexible about the energy and effort you put into shaping their sleep habits.

Read TONS more on sleep training, use of sound machines in sleep and surviving the first months of motherhood.

The general information provided on the Website is for informational purposes and is not medical advice.

Do NOT use this Website for medical emergencies.

If you have a medical emergency, call a physician or qualified healthcare provider, or CALL 911 immediately. Under no circumstances should you attempt self-treatment based on anything you have seen or read on this Website. Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed and qualified health provider in your jurisdiction concerning any questions you may have regarding any information obtained from this Website and any medical condition you believe may be relevant to you or to someone else. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

Rebecca Earl

About Rebecca Earl

Rebecca is an infant and child sleep consultant and founder of The Sugar Plum Sleep Co. She is an only child (because she never slept as an infant), a mother of two young boys and an HGTV addict.

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