Today's blog focuses around getting good sleep foundations in place from as early as possible. Implement as many of these ten great habits as you can and watch your sleep improve.
Working on sleep from the Newborn stage can really help get your baby sleeping through the night as early as possible.
Enjoy these tips from my Newborn Programme and let a friend know who may benefit from them too.
1. A little independence: When you can, try to put baby down awake to encourage them to learn to fall asleep by themselves. – This is one of the best habits you can get into early on. Falling asleep by themselves teaches the baby to self-settle, you can absolutely be present and stroking their head or rubbing their tummy but try to avoid creating sleep associations such as rocking or bouncing.
2. The final feed: Once baby is 6 weeks+, try to ensure the final feed of the day is a filling one. This eliminates baby waking for hunger, if you are breastfeeding and happy to express, it can help you know what they’re taking, if not, just let them breastfeed for a good amount of time before they go down for sleep. If you are formula feeding, give them a nice full bottle until they don’t want anymore – they’re pretty good with their own hunger/fullness cues at this age.
3. Know their cry: Sometimes babies grizzle to create their own white noise, if crying is decreasing, let them try to fall asleep. However, if they are getting more distressed, pick them up and comfort them at this age. White noise helps us to drown out external sounds which could disrupt sleep, babies sometimes create the sound themselves to help them drift off.
4. Get some sunshine: Go out for a walk in daylight before midday when possible. This can help to regulate the melatonin cycle. If it is not possible to get out, just make sure they’re around lots of natural light.
5. The future is bright: Remember babies may sleep through more once weaned, that is not the goal at this stage. It is great to try to get a routine and have some predictability in when they will wake under 6 months, but realistically they may not sleep right through until weaning is established.
6. Make it obvious: Maximise the difference between sleep and awake times, where possible have naps and sleeps in a dark room with some low white noise on to cue sleep time, when it is time for them to be awake/feeding/playing keep it nice and bright with lots of natural light. Amazon sell some great, affordable white noise machines that will go through the whole nap/night, this is better than something that will switch off in the middle of a sleep cycle.
7. Find a routine: Help babies develop their circadian cycle by starting to implement some form of routine, get them up at similar times each day. Our circadian cycles is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours, this is helped for all of us by having a consistent routine, including going to bed and waking at nearly the same time each day.
8. Wind-down time: Have a regular bedtime routine such as bath, massage, book, bed so they know when sleep is coming. It can also be great to play a soft lullaby playlist throughout this to give them a regular sound cue that sleep is coming. Having a regular bedtime routine can cue your baby that sleep is coming, this is a great way to maximise the melatonin production and is a great bonding experience with your baby. Do what works for you, you don’t need a lengthy bedtime routine at all, it really can be as quick as bath, book, and bed.
9. Don’t over-do it: Try to stick as closely as possible to maximum awake times suggested below to avoid over/under tiredness. An overtired baby produces extra cortisol (the stress hormone) to help them to combat the tiredness, this makes it very hard for them to settle to sleep and stay asleep once settled. An under tired baby will simply not have built up enough melatonin to be tired enough to fall asleep.
10.The perfect temperature: Keep temperature to 16-20 degrees, all of us sleep better when we can cool down first. Our body temperature drops for us to be able to fall asleep, when it’s too hot, we struggle to settle or sleep well, babies are the same, keeping as close to this temperature as possible can also help to reduce the risk of SIDS.
For more newborn tips, check out my downloadable Newborn Programme for just £25 or my Newborn one-to-one option which includes the programme AND personalised support.