If you have a newborn, you know that the kind of sleep you had before — long, luxurious, and uninterrupted — is a thing of the past. You have to grab some Zs when you can, and that’s usually when baby is also asleep. If you have a partner, you can sign him up to spell you whenever possible. But often that is impossible even with the best of intentions. Even if he wanted to do nighttime feedings, you’ll have to breastfeed anyway.
These time-tested tips for baby sleep should help or confirm things you have already noticed about baby sleep. They may also help other family members understand how baby sleep can be improved with commonsense solutions.
7 Tips for baby sleep
Establish a bedtime routine: Incorporate the 4B’s (they will become the 5B’s when baby starts to brush teeth): bath, breast or bottle, books, bed.
Swaddle your newborn: Swaddling helps calm a baby who is excited or startled by the new surroundings and also stops baby from being disturbed by her own reflexes.
Keep nighttime disturbances to a minimum: Obviously, it’s never good to wake a sleeping baby. If baby is still waking for nighttime feedings, keep the lights off and sound to a minimum.
Establish a regular bedtime and wake time: For example, 7 p.m. is bedtime, 7 a.m. is wake time. Sticking to a schedule will help baby’s rhythm.
Consistency is key even when traveling: If you have a late night at Grandma’s house and miss your scheduled bedtime, make sure the next night you get back on track. This applies to all aspects of parenting.
Work as a team: Anyone who puts the children to bed should stick to the routine, whether it be mom, dad, or a babysitter.
Dress baby as you would dress yourself: Baby doesn’t want to be too hot or too cold.
Baby sleep is like a lot of things in parenting: it’s always changing. Just when you think you have this baby sleep thing down, a new wrinkle appears. Eventually, there will be the miracle of baby sleeping through the night. However, there will also be teething and crying through the night through new transitions.
Don’t fix what’s not broken. Be aware that you’ll be adjusting baby’s sleep schedule until adolescence. Consistency will play a key role in good sleep for baby and the entire family.
You might also be interested in these related articles:
Newborns have “growth spurts” that affect sleep
Newborn sleep 101: A new parent’s survival guide
The top 3 mistakes that ruin newborn sleep
If you have other tips for baby sleep, please add them in the comments below.
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