Firstly, congratulations on the birth of your new baby! This can be an extremely wonderful time of your life or it can be the very opposite. Sleep seems to be a large factor on whether you and your baby are happy or not.
You will learn that babies are remarkably adaptable. You can teach your baby to sleep with or without you, in your bed or in the cot. The choice is yours. Try to stick with a plan that feels right for you rather than one you happen to find in a book or magazine. Remember children learn your habits so make sure it’s a habit that suits your way of living.
Once you establish a routine that suits you and your baby repeat whatever you to do to help him/her to fall asleep each time. If you feed your child to sleep, they will need you to do the same every time, if you leave him alone to sleep, he/she will expect that.
Falling Asleep At The Breast Or Bottle
It is very natural for a newborn to fall asleep while sucking at the breast, a bottle, or a pacifier. Therefore, if you want your baby to be able to fall asleep without being assisted, it is essential you sometimes let your newborn baby suck until he/she is sleepy, but not totally asleep. Once you feel that your child is almost asleep remove the bottle/pacifier from his/her mouth and let them finish falling asleep without something in their mouth. When you initially do this, your baby may resist and fuss to regain the nipple. It's perfectly okay to give your child back the breast, bottle, or pacifier and start over a few minutes later. If you do this often enough, your baby will eventually learn how to fall asleep without sucking.
Waking For Night Feeding
No matter what, your baby will wake up during the night. The key is to learn when to pick up your child for a night feeding and when you can let them go back to sleep on their own. This is a time when you need to focus your instincts and intuition. This will be the time that you should try to learn how to read your baby's signals. It is critically important for you to know that babies make many sleeping sounds, from grunts to whimpers to outright cries, and these noises don't always signal awakening. Learn to differentiate between these sleeping sounds and awake and hungry sounds.
Once you have recognised a hunger sound try to respond immediately when your child is hungry, and most likely, your child will go back to sleep quickly. If you let the crying escalate, and allow your child to be totally awoken (including yourself), it will be much more difficult and take longer for all to go back to sleep.
Teaching your child to distinguishing between Day And Night Sleeps
Simply begin by having your baby take daytime naps in a lit room wherever it suits you and allow him/her to hear the noises of the day, perhaps a bassinette or cradle located in the main area of your home.
Night time sleep should be different to daytime, maybe in a darker and quieter environment. You can also help your baby differentiate day naps from night sleep by using a nightly bath and changing into pyjamas to show the difference between the two.
Watch for signs of tiredness
One way to encourage good sleep patterns is to recognise your child’s sleepy signals and put them down to sleep as soon as you see a sign. Learn to read your baby's sleepy signs - such as quieting down, losing interest in people and toys, rubbing eyes, fussing - and put him/her to sleep when the window of opportunity presents itself.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Breaking unsuitable habits
Should you have started a habit that no longer suits you, then there are two essentials for any plan:
• Once you begin a course of action, see it through. If you decide you are not going to rock your baby to sleep anymore, but instead place him in his cot sleepy but awake and return to whisper reassurances to him every five or 10 minutes, don't give in after 45 minutes. You will merely have taught your baby that it is worth his while to persist for as long as possible.
• Give your plan time to work. Stick with it for at least one or two weeks, and don't disrupt it with a night out or a holiday. Each new plan that you try means that you are asking your baby to learn a new set of sleep habits. Old habits take time to disappear, and new ones time to become established. Don't confuse your baby by chopping and changing.
How Much Sleep is Enough?
Night sleep and day naps are important factors in the sleep equation for babies. The following table shows the total amount of sleep a child needs at various ages, as well as how much of that sleep should come from naps. Keep in mind that this table is only a guideline: babies are all different and this can vary for your child.
Age Total Sleep Hours Sleep hours From Naps
1 month 15 6-7
3 month 15 5
6 month 15 3-4
9 month 12-14 3-4
12-18 months 12-14 2
Parents of newborns will find that their babies sleep in shorter blocks of time throughout the day and night. Newborns, adjusting to a whole new world, tire easily and sleep whenever they need to. Most newborns sleep about 18 hours a day, in 2 to 4 hour naps.
Don’t forget that this is all made much easier when you use our Baby Swaddle to make your child feel safe and secure as he/she did in the womb.