5 Ways To Help Your Newborn Sleep!
The world of sleep is a bit of a minefield, with so much conflicting information out there, it can feel really overwhelming to try and work on sleep. In this blog I am going to teach you firstly, how newborns sleep and secondly, the ways you can set your newborn up for a great relationship with sleep!
How newborns sleep:
- Newborns sleep a lot! You aren’t alone if you are asking a family member, “are you sure they are meant to sleep this much?”. In fact, you can expect your newborn to need 16 hours of sleep in 24. It may feel a lot like eat, sleep, change, repeat at this time, all totally normal!
- Newborns sleep in active sleep (also known as Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep). This is a very light stage of sleep so you can expect lots of movement, eyelid flutters, startle reflexes and calling out/crying in their sleep.
- Only when your newborn gets to around 4 months old will they start to develop the ability to sleep more deeply in Non Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) Sleep and REM sleep, like adults.
- A newborn's sleep cycle will last no more than 30-40 minutes, this will get longer as they get older.
- Note: Sleep training is off the cards until your baby is at least 4.5-5 months old.
- Create a great sleep environment:
- Take on a curious stance:
Often as parents, we are quick to respond to our little ones and of course, this is really important. However, it is also a good idea to watch and listen carefully to your newborns sounds.
Understanding their cries and needs is a really useful tool to understanding what they are asking of you. Are they wet, hungry or tired? Maybe they need a cuddle….
Never leave your baby to cry for longer than 1 minute in the first 4 months but do allow for some exploring and learning. It will really help you meet their needs in the right way!
Routine can freak new parents out a little bit. The thought of getting in a structured routine can feel pretty overwhelming at the beginning. I prefer a good middle ground and would recommend you focus your attention on starting a short bedtime routine around 6-8 weeks old. Bedtime at this stage is often very late, around 10pm or 11pm so keep bedtime short and sweet.
You can also try starting the day at the same time each morning. Meet your newborn with bright smiles and open curtains to let in lots of light (even if you have just been up with them most of the night). Baby’s thrive on pattern and will soon start to understand your response is different in the day to what it is at night.
1. Make a note of sleep cues and wake windows
This is the biggest step towards understanding how your little one sleeps. By watching for your newborns sleep cues and making a note of how long they are awake for, you will start to get a clear idea of when to pop them down for a nap and to bed. Apps like Baby Connect are great for logging all this important data!
2. Mood and emotion
It isn’t always easy to work on sleep when you are sleep deprived. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t always feel like they are going to plan. I spent so much time fretting about sleep in those early days that I missed a lot of the amazing stuff that comes with having a newborn.
Baby’s pick up on how you are feeling and mimic your mood. The more relaxed you can be around sleep, the happier and relaxed your baby will be. This is often enough to improve their sleep!
I help lots of new parents navigate the newborn phase with my comprehensive Newborn Sleep Shaping Package, book in a sleep discovery call to find out more.
Hello! I’m Cara, founder of The Sleep Method. Based in Hampshire/Surrey. I work virtually with families in the UK and beyond. I am hugely passionate about helping sleep deprived families feel more rested, confident and happy.
A little about me...
- I work with children from 0-7 years old but specialise in baby’s under 12 months old.
- I'm studying for my diploma in Challenging children’s behaviour.
- I focus on improving the happiness and mood of baby’s and parents by improving sleep.
- I live with my husband and our two children, Jack who is 4 and Ava who is 3 (going on 23!)
- I studied for my certification in sleep with the award winning Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consultancy.
- Unlike a lot of consultants, my support options include daily app support which is very unique to my practise. You get your own sleep expert in your pocket!
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