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Top 6 Newborn Sleep Tips For Your Best Night’s Rest

Of all the skills your baby will learn from you, the first and most important skill you’ll teach your baby is how to sleep. Unfortunately, sleep isn’t a skill babies are actually born with – it must be taught. 

Newborns sleep 16 or more hours a day, but often in stretches of just a few hours at a time. Although the pattern might be erratic at first, a more consistent sleep schedule will emerge as your baby matures and can go longer between feedings.

The first few months of baby’s life is the best time to lay the foundation for healthy sleep habits. This will help them take more consistent naps  – giving you an opportunity to shower, enjoy a cup of coffee or do a little yoga – as well as sleep more soundly at night so you can get your own well-earned shuteye. 

 

Start putting these tips into action right away and they’ll continue paying off for years to come.

 

1) Avoid an overtired state. When babies are awake for too long, they can become overtired. When this happens, the stress hormone cortisol floods their brain and makes it even more difficult for them to fall asleep. To prevent this from happening, offer a nap every 60 to 90 minutes from when your baby last woke up.

2) Swaddle your baby. All babies feel most secure once they’re swaddled. Swaddling helps prevent the Moro reflex from startling them awake. As a result, your baby is better able to stay asleep and connect sleep cycles, leading to longer naps and nighttime sleep. In most cases, if your baby is breaking free from the swaddle it means that the swaddle isn’t snug enough. Read our step-by-step guide on how to safely swaddle your baby

3) Use a firm, flat mattress in a safety-approved crib. A firm sleep surface maintains its shape and will not indent or conform to the shape of the infant’s head when placed on the surface. Soft mattresses can create a pocket (or indentation) and increase the chance of rebreathing or suffocation if the infant is placed in or rolls over to the prone (face down) position. Also, the crib should not have bumper pads.

4) Put baby to bed drowsy, but awake. This will help them associate bed with the process of falling asleep. Remember to place your baby to sleep on his or her back, and clear the crib or bassinet of blankets and other soft, loose items. Babies who sleep on their backs are much less likely to die of SIDS than babies who sleep on their stomachs or sides.

5) Offer a pacifier. If your baby has trouble settling down, a pacifier might do the trick. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that using a pacifier during sleep helps reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If the pacifier falls out after your baby falls asleep, you don’t have to put it back in.

6) Follow a calming bedtime routine. Overstimulation in the evening can make it difficult for your baby to settle to sleep. Play active games during the day and quiet, peaceful games in the evening, especially toward the end of the routine. Many babies enjoy bathing right before bedtime, which calms them down. Keep activities the same and in the same order, night after night.

6 Tips To Ensure Baby Has A Restful Sleep

Starting at 3 months of age, many babies (thankfully!) start sleeping for longer stretches at night, although this varies from infant to infant. According to Stanford’s Children Health, two-thirds of babies are able to sleep through much of the night by the six-month mark. 

Babies who follow a consistent bedtime routine go to sleep easier and sleep better throughout the night. Bedtime routines reinforce babies’ natural circadian rhythms, helping teach them the difference between day and night. Later on, a bedtime routine helps little ones to slow down and prepare mentally for bedtime.

 

To help set new parents up for bedtime success, we’ve gathered six top sleep tips to ensure baby’s routine is smooth and effective. 

 

    1. Follow a calming bedtime routine. Overstimulation in the evening can make it difficult for your baby to settle to sleep. Play active games during the day and quiet, peaceful games in the evening, especially toward the end of the routine. Many babies enjoy bathing right before bedtime, which calms them down. Keep activities the same and in the same order, night after night.
    2. Put baby to bed drowsy, but awake. This will help them associate bed with the process of falling asleep. Remember to place your baby to sleep on his or her back, and clear the crib or bassinet of blankets and other soft, loose items.
    3. Give baby time to settle down. Save baby’s favorite activity for last, and do it in their bedroom. This will help them look forward to bedtime and associate their sleep space with things they like to do. Be peaceful, especially toward the end of the routine. 
    4. Offer a pacifier. If your baby has trouble settling down, a pacifier might do the trick. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that using a pacifier during sleep helps reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If the pacifier falls out after your baby falls asleep, you don’t have to put it back in.
    5. Keep nighttime care low-key. Make nighttime conditions in your baby’s bedroom consistent. When they wake up in the middle of the night, the sounds and lights in the room should be the same as when they fell asleep. If your baby needs care or feeding during the night, use dim lights, a soft voice and calm movements. This will let them know it’s time to sleep, not play.
    6. Help baby learn how to self-soothe. Ideally, you want your baby to learn how to fall asleep in their crib on their own. This means not picking up your little one every time he or she fusses. If your baby starts to cry, you can gently pat or rub their tummy and speak softly to him or her. Giving babies some time to comfort themselves so they can fall back asleep on their own can establish good sleeping habits, which helps you get a good night’s rest too. 

 

Middle-of-the-night feedings are unavoidable and sure to disrupt sound sleep, for both babies and parents, the first few months. As little ones grow, they will start to sleep in longer stretches. And as your baby sleeps longer, the benefits of having an established rhythm and a baby who knows how to fall asleep at bedtime and nap times, and fall back asleep when awoken, is priceless. Then, the phrase “sleep like a baby” takes on a whole new meaning!