During the first 8 weeks, sleep tends to be unorganized and day/night confusion is normal. This time is all about recovery, bonding, and feeding. Do what feels right, rest, and enjoy. Here are 5 tips to help you and your baby get some sleep during these early weeks!
Swaddle: The Moro reflex can cause your baby to startle and wake themselves up. When a baby’s arms are swaddled in a womb-like manner, they feel safe and secure. A swaddle should fit snug around the shoulders and loose on the hips. I recommend secure swaddle with velcro or zippers instead of a loose blanket.
Wake Them Up! Waking a sleeping baby feels so counterintuitive, but at times, newborns should be woken up to feed during the day. You do not want your baby to go more than 2-3 hours without a daytime feed. Why? Not only do they need it, but babies know how many calories they need in a 24-hour period. If they don’t take these calories in during the day, they will end up taking them at night.
Important Note: Your pediatrician may recommend you wake up your baby for night time feeds until your baby reaches a certain weight and is growing properly. Please follow your pediatrician’s recommendations.
Encourage Proper Feedings: It is important to encourage a proper feeding during each feed. Try to feed your baby when they wake up instead of when your baby is already sleepy. Your baby will be more alert and in turn will have a better feed. If feeding and sleeping are too close together, your baby may be getting tired and will have a harder time feeding well. Doing skin to skin while feeding is also recommended so your baby is alert and able to feed properly.
Day/Night Confusion: Why are some babies sleepy during the day and active at night? While your baby was in utero, your daily activities (walking, exercising, and moving) rocked your baby to sleep, while your resting period (overnight), caused your baby to stay awake. Once your baby is born, it is possible that their schedule is still reversed. To help correct this confusion, you want to: 1. Expose your baby to lots of light during the day (natural light, if possible). 2. Minimize interaction with your baby at night and keep things boring. 3. Keep the lights dim or off and use a red/orange tone night light or lamp for all feedings and diapers changes. Blue/white light is very stimulating and can prevent your baby from easily falling asleep.
Practice the 5 S's When your baby gets fussy, try Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s to help soothe and relax your baby. 1. Swaddle, 2. Side or Stomach Position, 3. Shush, 4. Swing, 5. Suck. This can be done while you are standing and holding your baby in your arms or in the crib/bassinet (omitting the Side/Stomach and using your hand on their chest for motion instead of Swing). Click here to read more about the 5 S's.
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Child Sleep Consultant