When you are planning to bring a baby home from the hospital one of your main concerns might be the dreaded sleep deprivation. I had what felt like hundreds of people tell me that the minute I had the baby that I could “say goodbye to sleep forever”. Not the most encouraging words of wisdom ever. Not to mention that was totally untrue. My baby slept great from pretty much the beginning! I think some of that was definitely just her innate temperament, but I would like to take a little credit for how I raised her.
Can I give just a little side rant really quickly? Have you ever noticed that when you have an easy baby people say it’s just the personality the baby was born with but when you have a more difficult baby it must be your fault because you did A, B, C or D wrong? I’ve really been noticing that the past few years. Why can’t us Mamas with easy babies take some credit for the hard work we put in to get them that way! I will acknowledge that some of their behavior is 100% personality quirks but come on some of it must be parenting, otherwise, what would be the point of parenting like…. ever? Okay, sorry, rant over.
Okay before we get down to some newborn sleep tips I want us to get a few basic things straight.
We’ll call this Newborn 101
- Newborn babies should always be breastfed on demand. Breastmilk is very easily digestible and newborn babies will be hungry a lot. In addition, they have tiny little tummies that can’t hold very much milk. With that in mind remember that newborn babies should be fed every 2-3 hours during the day and every 3-4 hours overnight.
- Babies should always be placed on their back to sleep. Remember “Back is Best” Placing your baby to sleep on their back reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) tremendously.
Alright with Newborn 101 out of the way let’s roll onto my newborn sleep tips!
Newborn Sleep Tip #1: Co-Sleep at night.
I am a proponent of co-sleeping for the first few months. I think it’s better for breastfeeding, and sleeping for both mother and baby. Many other countries around the world co-sleep. The US is one of the few places that
I found that co-sleeping for the first 4 months made a huge difference in the quality of my sleep and I am almost positive, my daughter’s. Co-sleeping safely was one of my highest concerns and that is why I highly recommend the DockATot for new moms, and actually, any mom expecting a baby! It will feel so cozy to your baby, and with the breathable sides, you won’t have to worry about accidentally rolling over on your baby. I felt so secure having her in the DockATot with us in bed.
Newborn Sleep Tip #2: Nap in lots of different places with lots of light
Some newborn babies get days and nights confused. To help your newborn sort this out it’s important to have them nap in bright light and sleep at night in the pitch dark. This shouldn’t be too challenging because newborns fall asleep quite frequently during the early days.
I would also highly suggest you have your newborn nap in many different places throughout the day. This will help her get used to sleeping in different places and will help her to be flexible about where she naps.
I found this to be extremely helpful when I wanted to go to a friend or family member’s house during nap time. I knew my daughter would have no problem taking a nap anywhere because I had taught her to be flexible.
Here are a few of my favorite places for baby to sleep during the day!
I had all three items. The nice thing about these items is that you can move them from room to room when you are getting things done. I bought the Rock and Play and the swing both used. But I bought a new bouncy chair that came with my Pack and Play.
Newborn Sleep Tip #3: Cluster Feed in the Evening
By cluster feeding in the evening every hour or so you will help your baby fill up their belly so that they can have a longer sleep in the early night. I found that by cluster feeding in the evening my daughter would go down around 9 pm and sleep for 5 hours starting at 3 weeks. 5 uninterrupted hours of sleep will feel like absolute heaven to your poor sleep deprived body.
I can’t guarantee that this will work for you but it’s worth a shot!
Newborn Sleep Tip #4 Start a night time routine early on!
At night, it can be helpful, to stick to a pretty specific nighttime routine so that your baby starts associating longer sleep periods with night time. This will also help with sleep training in the future. Remember though that you should not do any strict sleep training during the newborn days as your newborn should still be breastfed on demand.
But you can start with having a routine every night that you follow. Learn how to Establish a Rock Solid Bedtime Routine!
Newborn Sleep Tip #5: Use a consistent soothing sound
Setting up bedtime rituals is key for setting your baby up for sleep success. Playing quiet music from day 1 can be so helpful in getting your baby off on the right foot. Any kind of music playing device will work for this. We personally use the Sonos Play 1 because my husband is a tech nerd and we basically have Sonos in every room of the house. But any old music playing device will work! The one really nice thing I will say for the Sonos Play 1 is that you can control it using Alexa or with your smartphone. Being able to control the Sonos with your smartphone is super helpful If you need to turn on or adjust the music and you don’t want to walk into the room while the baby is falling asleep.
If you are looking for a budget swap we also tried and really liked the Hatch. It has a timer, several different sounds including white noise like a clothes dryer and many others! It also has several different colors and varying levels of brightness. Similar to the Sonos Play 1 you can also control it with your phone. It’s an excellent product!
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