Getting your little one to sleep can be an arduous task. Not to mention your energy reserves have been depleted by evening time.
The first 3 months are difficult, your baby will be feeding every 2-2.5 hours and it will be difficult to establish a routine during this time.
Wait out the first 3 months, and soon you can start helping your baby into a good routine.
The following tips are great to use until your baby is a year old.
Tip 1: Try Swaddling
Newborns are born with a reflex called the Moro reflex.
This startle reflex is present in infants up to 3 or 4 months of age as a response to a sudden loss of support when the infant feels as if it is falling.
Swaddling will make your baby feel safe and secure and prevents babies from startling themselves awake.
Babies will generally not be required to be swaddled after a few months. At this time you can start to encourage self soothing methods.
It is very important to never put your baby on their stomach when sleeping as this increases the chances of SIDS.
For more information refer to: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sudden-infant-death-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20352800
If you notice that your baby is rolling over onto her stomach, this is a sign to stop swaddling.
Tip 2: Have a good bedtime routine
Experiment with different routines. What worked for my daughter was a bath, then into her pyjamas and I would sing her a lullaby.
Between 7-8pm I would notice that she would start to get hyper and overexcited so I had to turn the lights off and not over stimulate her.
Participating as a family helped a lot. We turned off all the screens and started to wind down the day.
I could barely remember the words to twinkle star but now I can probably reel off an album of nursery rhyme hits.
The CDC https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html recommends 3-month-olds need 14-17 hours of sleep. As your baby gets older this amount will start to reduce.
Recommended Hours of Sleep Per Day
14–17 hours (National Sleep Foundation)1
No recommendation (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)2
12–16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2
11–14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2
10–13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2
Tip 3: Baby massage
Giving your baby a massage is a great way for them to relax. It’s also great to bond with your baby.
Baby oil clogs the pores and is best avoided. Choose an oil that is edible and unscented, such as olive or coconut oil. Test on a small area first to make sure your baby is not allergic to the oil.
It’s best to wait around 45 mins after a feed before starting the massage. This will prevent any vomiting. Also, start slow and be responsive to your baby, if they start to turn away or are irritable it might not be the best time.
As part of our routine, I would massage my baby right after her bath. Using a light touch massage each limb and I would repeat “relax it’s ok” and would only take around 5 minutes.
Tip 4: Use a musical mobile or light projector
A musical mobile and light projector was invaluable. I think I enjoyed the lights more than my baby!
The cot may come with a musical mobile but our one was frustrating because the music didn’t last long. For this, I have recommended one that lasts longer.
The projector lights are something which you will constantly use, even when your baby is bigger it’s something that they will still enjoy.
Tip 5: Avoid eye contact
When you sense your baby is getting tired avoiding eye contact can help to not overstimulate your baby.
Your baby is gorgeous and you can stare at them all day, but this one helps with calming them down. And no they won’t feel neglected!
Tip 6: Learn your baby's cues
Make sure your baby is not over tired. An overtired baby will have cortisol running through their body causing irritability.
You will learn their cues that they are getting sleepy, be sure to put your baby in their crib when they are still awake but starting to get tired.
Tip 7: Use White noise
White noise can mimic the sounds your baby hears in the womb. It can also be helpful to block out unwanted background noise. Use one with a timer and do not leave it on all night.
Our recommended white noise machines:
Tip 8: Use a Baby Sleep Sack
As part of the sleep routine I would put my baby in a sleep sack. Sleep sacks are truly wonderful.
It let my baby know that it was time for sleep and it stopped her from waking up at night due to kicking the sheets off.
Tip: Your baby should sleep in the same room as you for the first 6 months-12 months to reduce the chance of SIDS. Also Always place a baby on their back with the head and face uncovered every time they sleep, night or day. Keep the room smoke-free.
Our recommended sleep sacks:
Be prepared to change routines as your baby grows and enters different stages of development. And remember, growth spurts, teething and illnesses can affect how your baby sleeps.
Babies can pick up on anxiety and stress. So try to keep calm and enjoy the company of your baby.
If you are having problems getting your baby to sleep please contact your health care professional.