Everyone expects that you won't sleep in those first few months & that is part of the deal! However, there are some great techniques & strategies you can follow that can help you get some sleep while teaching your little one some great sleep habits.
I love working with new parents or even parents with newborns who have older kids! I love to teach them what they need to know right from the beginning so they don't have to sleep train later on down the line.
I truly believe that if you set your little one up with great habits & you know what to expect, sleep will come easily & naturally to your little one.
Out of my huge bucket of tricks, here are just 10 tips to get you started in the right direction!
1: EAT - AWAKE - SLEEP
Following a simple routine during the day where your little one eats when they wake in the morning or from a nap, they have a little bit of activity time or time awake, & then they go to sleep can really help them learn the skill to fall asleep without needing a feeding. Activity or awake time for a newborn could just be changing their diaper & some cuddles before they pass out again!
2: 4TH TRIMESTER
Those first months outside of the womb are often called the fourth trimester. You can use this to your advantage! You know your little one was nice & comfy in there so mimic that space & experience for them! Swaddling, shushing, swaying, letting them suck, & holding them so they have a little pressure on their tummies can all have a great calming effect for your little one.
3: WORK WITH THE SUN
Your little one is not born with a natural body clock & does not produce melatonin until sometime between 3-6 months of age. So we don't experience that night & day confusion we so often hear about, use the sun to your advantage! During those first 3 months, exposing your little one to a lot of sunlight during the day & even napping them in the light can help their internal body clock get going. Later on, you will want to have them nap in the dark.
Dreamfeeds are a beautiful thing! Basically once your little one has been sleeping for several hours at night & you are about to go to sleep yourself, give them a feed while they are asleep. This will help them transition calmly into another cycle of sleep & you will get the most needed extra zzzs!
5: SKIN TO SKIN TIME
Most babies wake in the early stages for feedings but they also do because they need you & need to feel your presence! Try to get loads of skin to skin time during the day not only to foster & grow that connection but also so they feel safe & secure which can allow them to sleep more peacefully.
6: WATCH FOR SLEEPY CUES
Prevent overtiredness by catching them before they get overtired. Early sleep cues could be looking like they are zoning out, quieter, sucking, or jerky movements, just to name a few things. If they are already yawning, rubbing eyes, super fussy & crying, then they are moving into an overtired state. Generally, newborns in the first 6 weeks of life can stay awake for a maximum of 1 hour between naps & by 4 months they are able to stay awake for at least 2 hours between naps.
7: BE SURE TO BURP
Those bubbles in their tummies can be so painful! The minute you lay them down, you can see they have one almost! I used to pat my little ones' tummies & if they sounded like a drum, I knew to burp them. This is so important for 2 reasons:
1 - They are more comfortable to lay on their backs without any bubbles & sleep!
2 - You can fill that space the huge bubble took with more milk to be sure they can hold off until the
next feeding at night
8: PRIORITIZE FEEDING IN THE DAY
Making sure they are eating every couple of hours during the day can really help nighttime sleep. You know they are getting almost all the nutrients during the day & eventually will not need a night feeding. In the first weeks, it is very important that you continue to wake your little one for feedings throughout the night until you get the ok from the pediatrician to let them sleep longer stretches.
In the beginning, it is sometimes tough to keep your little one awake for feedings. If this is the case, send me an email & I'll give you some tips!
Fun fact - breastfeeding before bed is a great idea - mom's milk passes on her own melatonin to help baby feel sleepy!.
9: DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO!
I can't say this enough to new parents. Do what you have to do to get your little one to sleep & you some sleep! Try to get at least 5.5 hours in 24 hours of sleep or rest. If you are struggling, I am here for you & can offer some more great tips.
10: SLEEP BASICS
I have a great FREE guide that offers advice on how to set up your sleep space to promote sleep for your little one (& you!) - click here to download it!
If you'd like to talk about how to implement some of these tips, I offer free 15-minute phone calls just for that! Click here to book!