Newborn baby sleeping habits can be a subject of great debate. There are a number of different experts out there who all believe that they have the secret to a perfect night’s sleep and as a new parent all the advice can be overwhelming and confusing. Although there is no single foolproof recipe for getting your newborn baby to sleep through the night, here are a few tips that might help them settle and avoid creating later issues.
Feed your baby when they wake up
It’s a good idea to feed newborn babies when they wake up as they are probably hungry but where possible try not to feed them to sleep. By not getting them in the habit of feeding to sleep, they can learn to sleep better by themselves and resettle themselves when they wake up.
Sleep with your baby near you but not in your bed
Having your baby in your room but in a separate cot or bassinet means they still get the comfort of being close to you and you can still respond quickly when they wake up, but your sleep isn’t disrupted as much and they learn to go to sleep without having you there physically next to them. This is handy if you have older children and need to be able to put your baby down for daytime naps without lying down with them.
Feed on demand
Feeding on demand is important with newborn babies but it’s also a good idea not to use the breast (or bottle) as a one-stop solution to every problem. Once you get to know your baby you will probably start to learn the difference between when they are hungry and when they are bored, want a cuddle or are tired and you can act accordingly.
Let your baby find their thumb
Many parents discourage thumb sucking but if you want to find an all natural way for your baby to settle themselves, there are plenty of advantages to thumbs. Unlike a dummy, your baby can find and put back their thumb, they come as standard on each baby and require minimal input from mum at 3am.
Don’t pick your baby up straight away at night
This doesn’t mean leaving them to cry. Sometimes babies will wake up and grunt or fuss for a little while before putting themselves back to sleep. Before you rush over to pick them up, wait and see if they’re going to fully wake up and start crying or go back to sleep. This gives them a chance to learn to settle themselves and in some cases they will.
Keep night feeds dark and quiet
Start to gently teach your baby the difference between night and day by keeping night feeds low key and quiet. Keep the lights dimmed and avoid playing or stimulation. Once the feed is over, put your baby straight back down to sleep.
Everyone has a different parenting style and when you’re caring for a very young baby you may find that you don’t mind getting up a few times a night, especially if you can catch up with sleep during the day. Other parents will decide that sleeping at night is a priority and make that a focus of their parenting strategy. The important thing is to do what is right for you when it comes to helping your baby sleep better at night.