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The first few weeks after the baby is born are some of the most challenging to help your newborn sleep. The around-the-clock feedings and diaper changes can be exhausting even for a seasoned parent. Though we do not have all the answers, we may have some tips to help you through the first weeks of a newborn's sporadic sleep schedule. We will start with the common reasons your baby is not sleeping.
Establish a predictable sleep routine, not a schedule. A sleep routine can give your baby Suttle cues it is time for rest. It will help you establish a sleep schedule when the time comes. An example would be to eat, play, and sleep. Start with feeding, have playtime, then prepare for sleep. When it is time to doze, give some cues such as dimming the lights, talking softer, and turning on white noise or gentle music. Repeat over and over through the day and night.
Babies are born with developmental reflexes triggered by their nervous systems. The Startle reflex and the sucking reflex are two of these reflexes. To prevent or deter the startle reflex as the baby sleeps, put them in a swaddle or wrap them tightly in a swaddle blanket. The tight blanket or swaddle will keep their arms and legs close to their body, preventing them from flailing. It also gives them a secure feeling like the womb. Do not use swaddling if your baby is over two months old or they are rolling over. To stimulate the sucking reflex and help babies self-soothe, offer a pacifier.
At times, babies will get too hot or too cold, which may cause them to wake before feeding time. The recommended temperature for the room is between 68- and 72-degrees Fahrenheit. Other factors to consider are lighting and noise. Use blackout shades to keep the room dark. Be careful of loud, sudden noises that could startle your little one. Consider using a white noise machine or fan pointed away from the baby to cover background noise.
Learn to recognize when your baby is tired. Timing is imperative when you lay your baby down to sleep. When the natural sleep hormone, melatonin, is at its highest, you will start seeing signs of drowsiness. Lay them down drowsy but not quite asleep. If you wait too long, your little one may become too tired, which causes waking hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
There is no getting around diaper changing and feeding during the night. However, you can control overstimulation during these routines. Try not to enter the room immediately when your child stirs. There is a possibility they could drift back to sleep. Once you have determined your child is awake and needs to eat, keep the lights low and the noise to a minimum so as not to completely awaken the baby. It is ideal for them to stay drowsy after feeding and a possible diaper change so they will drift back to sleep. If it is necessary to change the diaper, change it before the feeding. It will allow your little one to drift back to sleep after the feeding without interruption. If your baby's bowel movements usually occur after feeding, this may not be possible. Whatever is necessary, remember to keep things as lowkey as possible to prevent overstimulation.
We hope this helps you to help your newborn sleep. Your baby's sleep patterns will change over time. They may even regress, but don't worry. The trick is to observe and learn through trial and error. Be flexible and patient. You got this! It will take some time to figure it out, but you can, and you will.