As a sleep consultant AND a second time mama to a brand new little lady (Margot Olivia Miller was born on 5/5/17), I figured this theme was timely in my own life as well as for all of the (very) new and soon-to-be mamas (and dads!) out there. We often don’t think about “sleep training” or instilling healthy sleep habits until babies are a few months old, and sometimes much later than that, when many habits have already been set in place. However, many mamas have reached out to me for advice on what they can do from the moment they bring babe home from the hospital– which I am always impressed by, since that thought with my first daughter didn’t cross my mind until months later! Cheers to those mamas for thinking ahead! Here are my top three newborn sleep tips to begin right away:
- PRACTICE PUTTING YOUR BABY DOWN AWAKE:
Yes, right away! One essential tool in developing healthy sleep habits is making sure you put your baby down for naps, bedtime and middle of the night wake ups when your baby is awake so that they can learn how to fall asleep independently. The earlier that babies are given the opportunity to practice this, the more likely they will take to it! Of course if your baby does not respond well, use methods to get him/her to sleep– shushing, rocking, etc are all okay, especially in the early days. Just keep in mind that the more practice your baby has being laid down awake, the better!
2. STRAIGHTEN OUT DAY/NIGHT CONFUSION:
Many babes have the sleep all day, party all night mentality going on at first. This is because when they were in utero, they were used to the movement of mom being active during the day (which lulls babies to sleep) and being awake at night (when mom is trying get some much needed zzz’s!) This “day/night confusion” typically resolves on its own by the 6-8 week mark, but is quite exhausting for parents who are experiencing it! So, if this sounds like your little one, try to create a dark environment that promotes sleep during the night. Use white noise, black out curtains and little interaction during nighttime feeds and diaper changes, and promote an eat, play, sleep schedule during the day as well as providing access to natural lights and sunshine when possible.
3. COMMIT TO A BEDTIME ROUTINE EACH NIGHT:
It may sound silly to begin a bedtime routine with a newborn baby, but consistency and predictability will set you up for success down the road. An appropriate bedtime routine for a newbie can be short- even 5 to 10 minutes (after a feeding) and include: diaper change, bedtime clothes on, place in bed (awake if possible 🙂 and read a book or sing a song- I recommend the same song or book each and every night! Put on some white noise, turn out the lights and say goodnight!
These are habits I am using with my 10 day old daughter and am excited to see how it goes! If you have questions about newborn or toddler sleep, please don’t hesitate to reach out or set up a free 15 minute consultation to find out how I can help you you and your family get more zzz’s!!