Guide to Newborn Sleep and Naptimes
- August 03, 2016
- Ally Cohen
Caring for any newborn is a lot of work, but it's even harder when parents are sleep-deprived and exhausted.
Because the baby’s brain is still developing and maturing in the first few months after birth, sleep patterns can be unpredictable and erratic, but as it matures, sleep patterns will become more evident with longer periods of sleep at night.
Tips for Parents of Newborns:
- Be realistic. Plan for unpredictable and erratic sleep times for your baby and therefore yourself in the first few months.
- Don’t try to sleep train your baby yet. Since it takes 3-6 months for a baby’s brain to mature enough to establish a regular pattern and to sleep through the night, wait until then to try sleep training.
- When your baby is as young as 6-8 weeks old, you can start to follow a set pattern every night. Your baby will quickly come to appreciate the consistent routine.
- Once feeding is well-established, do not wake a sleeping baby during the night. Consult your baby’s pediatrician regarding night feeds. For premature or special-needs babies, you may need to adjust feedings.
- Check for signs of sickness if baby’s sleep pattern changes suddenly. It may be that baby is awakened by an ear or throat infection. Or the baby may be having a growth spurt or developmental changes.
- Never prop a baby bottle in your infant’s mouth when you put her to bed. It can lead to gagging, choking and ear infections.
Signs That Your Baby Is Tired
- Rubbing eyes
- Looking away from you
Establishing Sleep Patterns for Your Baby
- Regulate your baby’s day-night sleep cycle. Keep your baby stimulated during the day and start toning it down to more quiet time before sleep-time.
- Begin to teach your baby to fall asleep on her own. Try not to rock or feed your baby to get her to sleep or she may become dependent on these soothing techniques.
- Give her a warm bath
- Have a chat and talk to your baby
- Read a bedtime story
- Sing a song or lullaby
- Massage your baby
- Play soft or classical music
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