Newborns sleep for almost 16 hours in a day in short and irregular bouts. However, this can be distressing for new parents who are just getting used to the new, disturbed and demanding routine.
The sleeping time of each baby is different; however, this article aims to familiarize parents with a few tricks and tips that can help them to put their newborn to sleep for longer periods.
A newborn baby needs time to settle down if it has to sleep for longer periods of time. The baby needs time to adjust to new sights and sounds, get familiar with many new visitors’ faces and other sights. As a starting point, it is a good idea to make the surroundings quiet for an hour before the baby goes to sleep. The television and other such distractions can be turned down to minimize disturbances for the baby to transition into a peaceful sleep.
Associations with Sleep
Newborns form immediate associations if they are rocked to sleep, if they are fed before sleep, or if they are held close. They expect and find these necessary every time to fall asleep. Therefore, you may want to the baby to form association of only what you can provide for consistently. If you are not in a position to rock the baby to sleep every night, avoid doing it till the baby learns other associations. To enable the baby learn the difference between day and night at the earliest, it is a good idea not to play when you feed the baby at night or when you change the diaper. Stick to your normal daytime routine work and allow the nighttime to be a period of quiet and peace.
A regular routine, both for the baby and you, sends the right signals and the baby gets to sleep faster and easier. The bedtime routine is most effective when it is simple and easy to follow. Try giving the baby a bath, reading a story perhaps, or singing a lullaby. It can also be useful to monitor your baby using video baby monitors from Babysense or somewhere similar. This way, if you notice your baby has become disturbed, you can settle them back down before their routine is disrupted.
Timing the Sleep
It is always difficult for a baby to sleep when tired or upset. It is,therefore, recommended that you take the baby to bed at the first signs of sleepiness or tiredness. To do this effectively, you have to know the first signs of the baby’s tiredness. Some telltale signs are the baby rubbing its eyes or mellowing down. If you put the baby to bed when drowsy, the baby quickly learns to sleep on its own. This skill that is learned can be of help if the baby gets up in the middle of the night.
Comfortable Sleep Area
A comfortable sleeping area for the newborn assures a sound and healthy sleep. Baby Health recommends that a cradle or bassinet with no toys whatsoever, no pillow, or a blanket is a safe crib for the baby to sleep in. Ensure that you place the baby on its back to prevent the ‘sudden infant death’ syndrome.
If the newborn does not like sleeping on its back, it is a good idea to wrap up the baby in a thin blanket to give the feeling of being held. This goes a long way in preventing the baby from pulling the blanket onto its face.