Did you know that in the first three years more than 1,000,000 million neural connections are formed per second while the baby is in sound sleep? The importance of sleep for babies can’t be overlooked. But babies don’t know how to put themselves to sleep when they’re tired or how to wake up when they’re well-rested. This behaviour needs to be taught by you and to be learned by your munchkin.
Usually, newborns sleep for 14–17 hours over a 24-hour period and need to be fed every 2–3 hours. While the first months of a baby’s life can be the hardest for parents, understand that each baby has a different sleep pattern. So be patient and with time you’ll become your little one’s sleep ninja!
Here are some tips to get your newborn to sleep:
Swaddle. From birth till five months, babies innately possess a startle reflex, in which they feel as if they are falling. This sensation causes jerking movements and might wake the baby up. Swaddling prevents babies from startling themselves awake, helping them sleep better and longer. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) shows that when swaddling is done correctly, it can be the most effective technique to calm infants and promote a sweet and balmy sleep.
Limit daytime naps. Sleeping too long during the day can disturb nighttime sleep. To avoid this, wake your little one after the 2– 2.5 hour mark, feed her, keep awake for a bit, and then lay her down for another nap. But if you feel your munchkin needs longer naps, feel free to increase the limit. Breaking up sleep helps newborn babies sleep better at night.
Set a bedtime routine. Studies show that babies who follow a nightly bedtime routine sleep easier, better, and cry less in the middle of the night. You can start your baby’s bedtime routine as early as 6 to 8 weeks old. It can be a combination of regular bedtime activities like bathing, games, massage, feeding or story-reading.
Understand how your munchkin sleeps. If your baby doesn’t sleep, there’s a high chance that she’s overtired. Avoid keeping a baby awake in hopes of tiring him out. This might cause over-stimulation leading to sleep deprivation. Remember, an overtired baby will sleep shorter, not longer.
Try dreamfeeding. Dream Feeding is the feeding given to the baby right before bed. It helps prevent the baby from waking up just after you sleep. Dream Feeding helps a baby sleep for longer while you sleep.
Lower the temperature. Who doesn’t like cool rooms? Maintain the temperature of the room between 68-72 F to give your baby the most comfortable sleep. Her fingers feeling chilly is normal.To reassure yourself, check her chest, if that is warm, she’s warm enough.
Be patient. If your baby sleeps through the night on their own and suddenly stops it might be a sleep regression or growth spurt’s fault. It usually lasts a few days and returns to normal. The average time is 1-4 weeks. Be patient during this time and focus on the fact that it won’t last.