By Josephine from babykis.com
If you are taking care of a newborn baby, you know very well that the idiom “sleeping like a baby” (which means to sleep deep and well) is quite misleading! After all, newborn babies tend to wake up every few hours to eat, cry, pee, and poop! And because of this, it seems like babies do not get much-needed rest (and neither do their parents!). As a mom, you may be worried about your child’s health and development, and that’s why you are probably wondering what you can do to help your newborn baby sleep better.
Unraveling the Mystery of a Newborn’s Sleeping Pattern
Before we figure out how we can help newborns sleep better, let us first take a closer look at their sleeping pattern. Typically, newborns sleep for up to 16 to 17 hours daily, but most babies do not sleep for more than 2 to 4 hours at a time. As a result, parents have no choice but to be up many times during the night to change, feed, or try to comfort their baby.
This unpredictability in their sleeping pattern comes as a result of them spending more time in REM sleep, which is a must for their developing brain. This phase will come to an end after a few weeks. At around six to eight weeks, most babies will sleep shorter in the morning and longer at night. At around four to six months, they can sleep for as long as 8 to 12 hours at night. But if you want to help your newborn sleep longer at night as quickly as possible, you can try establishing good sleeping habits immediately.
A Few Tips on Establishing Good Sleeping Habits for Newborns
As a mom, there are lots of things that you can do to help your newborn get a long, good, and peaceful sleep. Here are some of them:
- Encourage your child to nap frequently. Most newborns have problems staying up for more than two hours at a time. And if you won’t let him catch the sleep he needs, he may be too tired and have trouble sleeping, which will cause him to be cranky, and he may end up crying all night.
- Teach your baby the difference between night and day. There are some newborns who are night owls. If your baby is kicking and active inside your womb during nighttime, it is most likely that he will have the same sleeping pattern during the first few weeks of his life. Honestly, there’s not much that you can do about this for the first few days. But when your baby hits the two-week mark, you can teach him to differentiate night from day. During the day, try to keep him alert and awake by playing with him, interacting with him, and keeping your home brightly lit. You can also play some music. When nighttime comes, minimize your interaction with him, and even if he is wide awake, avoid playing with and talking to him. You should also keep the room dark and quiet. Sooner or later, he will be able to recognize that nighttime is time for sleeping and rest.
- Simulate the environment inside the womb. If you have ever wondered why your baby finds it hard to fall asleep in a crib, it is because the crib is much too big for him and it is a stark contrast to the environment inside the womb where he is used to. Keep in mind that your baby has spent nine months inside your womb and because of that, the womb has become his comfort zone and being there makes him feel safe. So if you want to make your newborn feel safe and comfortable, it is not enough to choose the right crib. You also need to make it conducive for sleep. In short, you have to simulate the feeling inside the womb in the crib. There are plenty of ways to do that. For one, make the crib mattress feel warm. A too-cold room or mattress can prevent your baby from getting good sleep. To warm the mattress, try putting a warm water bottle in the mattress for a few hours before you put the baby down to sleep. You can also swaddle your baby. When your baby is all swaddled up, he can enjoy the same warm and cuddly feeling he has experienced inside the womb.
- Cluster feed him in the evening. One of the reasons why babies wake up at night is because they feel hungry. One great way to address this is to cluster feed him in the evening so he can “tank up.” When your baby is full before he sleeps, there is less chance that he will wake up many times at night.
Yes, newborns can be deep sleepers, but they are short sleepers, and the unpredictability of their sleeping pattern can disrupt not just his development but your rest as well, which makes it difficult for you to stay focused on taking care of your little one. Because of this, it is recommended that you try to find ways on how to help a newborn baby sleep well. The tips that I have mentioned above are already tried and tested. Put these into practice, and you and your baby can surely have a good night’s sleep!
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