Swaddle, Swaddle, Swaddle
Your baby has spent 9 months in utero this has cocooned your baby and created that reassuring snug feeling which has enabled them to sleep. A good arms down swaddle will help mimic this feeling and enable your baby to fall asleep. Many parents feel their baby fights the swaddle, this means you need to try swaddling your baby earlier, when they are calmer and less over tired. Persist with it, you won’t regret it.
There are many free apps available, or you can buy a white noise CD, or the Baby Shusher from babyshusher.co.nz, this creates the sound your baby is used to from the womb. It needs to be a low rumble sound or shush, and it needs to be at least 60 decibels to work. About as loud as your vacuum cleaner.
Side settle your baby in your arms, get them nice and drowsy before transferring them to the cot. We are aiming for 70-90% asleep, then into the cot. Holding them across your chest, belly to belly, will help trigger the calming reflex and you will 10x more likely to get your little one off to sleep. Always sleep your baby on their back.
Create Some Motion
This can be done with patting, rocking, walking with a front pack or stroller. This motion will also trigger the calming reflex and your little one will be asleep in no time.
Create a sleep environment conducive to sleep, warm, dimly lit, don’t over crowded with mobiles and wall decals and soft toys.
Watch for early tired signs
Watch for early tired signs and respond with a wind down routine, allowing your baby to fall asleep before they are over tired. Early tired signs, include decreased activity, slower motions, less vocal, a weaker suck and become quiet and calm. Red eye brows and eyes drooping are a few more early signs. Yawning, crying and eye rubbing are late tired signs, try to beat these signs!
Feed, feed, feed your baby especially if breastfeeding. New-borns need to eat every 2-3 hours during the day. Establishing successful breastfeeding during the day will help you get optimal sleep at night.
Go for a Walk
Go for a walk late in the afternoon, the fresh air and motion will ensure you baby has a nap, and doesn’t go to bed over tired in the evening. This is a great calming routine to get into at an early age, and ensure’s your evening’s run smoothly.
New-borns can take a long time to settle when they are over tired. Pick something and stick with it rather than trying 3 different techniques in 10 minutes. Your baby will respond to the consistency, but you will need to be patient and allow them the time to settle.
Ask for Help
New-borns are exhausting, being pregnant is exhausting. You are physically drained after giving birth, you are feeding and nurturing your baby, expect to be tired and asking for help will make the fussy periods easier to deal with. If someone else has popped dinner in the oven and folded your washing, chances are you had a lie down when your baby napped, and you will feel much more ready to spend that 20 minutes settling your baby to sleep. Stay in your PJ’s if you’re tired (hotmilk Pj’s you will never want to get out of anyway!) this lets any visitors knows you’re tired and they will more likely to help out round the house!
Baby Sleep Consultant is a team of 10 consultants across NZ who teach parents how to solve their sleep problems. We are the biggest team of certified sleep consultants in NZ and offer overnight consults, day consults and phone/email consults too. You could be 7 days away from a better night’s sleep. www.babysleepconsultant.co.nz