The first few months with a new baby are hard, but hopefully these tricks to getting a good night’s sleep with an infant will help you get through it.
Having a new baby is one of the most exhilarating times of your life. It’s also going to be one of the most sleep-deprived adventures you’ll ever go through. You’re exhausted from the moment you bring home your new bundle of joy, but you’ll quickly remind yourself the experience of being a parent is worth each incredulous moment. That includes every late night, every 3 am feeding, and every diaper change. It’s all just part of the journey, or at least that’s what you tell yourself when you wake up for the sixth time in a night. Wouldn’t this whole newborn journey be even better if you could master getting a good night’s sleep with an infant? While every baby is different, we have a few tricks that may help you get more sleep with an infant and feel more well-rested yourself.
How Much Sleep Does A Newborn Need?
Your new bundle of joy is going to sleep – a lot. Your baby can sleep up to 18 hours a day in their first year of life. According to the National Sleep Foundation, babies should get 14–17 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period. In addition, your newborn will wake every couple of hours to eat. That’s the main reason it’s so difficult for new parents to get enough sleep throughout the night.
In the beginning, your baby will want to be fed about every three to four hours. But there is good news ahead. Around four months, babies start to show signs that they are ready to stay asleep longer. And around six months, babies are able to rest for five to six hours without a feeding break, which allows them to “sleep” at night, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Also note, your baby’s number of daily naps will go down as it grows.
Where Should Your Baby Sleep?
According to experts, a baby should sleep alone in a crib, with only a mattress and fitted sheet. Your baby should also be positioned on their back. You may wonder why this is so important. Well, this sleeping position reduces the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
You can set your baby’s crib or bassinet in your own room, which is known as co-sleeping. The American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends sharing a room with your baby until the child is at least six months old.
There are several benefits to having your little peanut’s bed right next to your own. You’ll be close by when your child is ready for those midnight feedings, and the one that happens just a couple of hours later. Having your baby near you means you can get through the process easily and quickly. You’ll be able to fall back into your own bed, literally, since it’s right there. Hopefully, you’ll fall back asleep without too much of a hassle.
6 Ways Get More Sleep with an Infant
1.Practice Bedtime Routines
We understand that this will be hard at first, and some days it may not feel like it’s working at all. But practicing a bedtime routine is the best way to start getting a good night’s sleep with an infant. Try giving them a bath at the same time every night – even if it’s just a splash of warm water sans soap – to calm them and induce drowsiness. Babies thrive with consistency so you can create routines for when they should nap and for bedtime. Just try doing the same thing for a few weeks so they can get used to the routine. You can also read your child a bedtime story, sing a lullaby, turn down the lights – any consistent activity will help your little one start to understand when it’s sleepy time. Those little eyes will start closing in no time.
When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, keep things simple and calm. You can feed your baby, change a diaper, and put him or her back in the crib to sleep. Avoid making a lot of noise or over-stimulating your child during this exchange.
2.Get To Know When Your Baby Is Tired
Yes, your baby will show signs that it’s time to drift off. Babies will yawn and rub their eyes. They also look away or get a little fussy. It’s important to note these signals and put your child down for a nap or bedtime before they get overly tired. It will be a lot harder to get them to sleep if they pass that point, and they may not sleep as long, which means you won’t either.
3.Build The Right Sleeping Environment
If you’ve decided to have your baby in your room, you’ll want to create the right type of sleeping environment for you and your child. You should remove any distractions that could keep either one of you from getting a good night’s rest: that includes the TV, exercise equipment, and dirty laundry. Move it all to another part of the house for the time being. Make sure your own bedding is comfortable and inviting. You can add black-out curtains to the room to make sure your environment stays dark until it’s time to rise.
It’s feeding time! While many babies tend to fall asleep while eating, you actually want to try to keep your baby awake through the feeding process. You want to make sure your little one gets a full “meal” during the feeding. With a satiated tummy, your baby will be able to sleep fully and won’t wake up too quickly for another feeding. Here are some ways to keep your baby awake during feedings:
- Keep the lights on while feeding your baby
- Take off an outer layer to keep your baby cool and alert while feeding
- Give your baby’s feet and hands a little rub down
- Move about the room so your baby stays awake
- Talk to your baby while feeding during daytime naps
- Make sure to burp your baby frequently
While it might seem like a good idea to feed your baby to sleep, this could become a hard habit to break. Make eating and sleeping two separate processes whenever possible. You can play with your baby after eating to help keep him or her awake a little longer before your peanut shows signs of drowsiness.
As for your nighttime routine, after you put the baby down for bed at night, you might be taking a break to relax with your partner or to catch up on chores before heading to bed yourself. Before you do, consider waking up your baby for a quick nursing session or bottle-feeding. This routine may help your infant wake up less often. After feeding, simply lay them back down while they’re full and still drowsy.
5.Make Your Baby’s Bedtime Earlier
Enforcing an earlier bedtime – particularly when your little ones become toddlers – can actually help them sleep longer. They certainly won’t be sleeping until 9 am, but they may sleep for a total of ten hours, which means you can get some quality rest too. You may need to adjust your own sleep schedule and go to bed earlier so you'll truly be refreshed when your child wakes up in those earlier hours.
6.Allow Your Baby To Self-Soothe
Let’s talk a little bit about self-soothing. It can be incredibly difficult for many parents to follow the controversial “cry it out” method. That said, self-soothing is a necessary step in sleep training an infant. If you really want to get more sleep with an infant, you have to train them to self-soothe in their crib sometimes. Relying on methods like being rocked to sleep or driving them around are quick fixes to induce sleep, but then you’ll have to follow this pattern every single night. As soon as they wake up in their own crib, they’ll want to be soothed back to sleep instead of learning to fall asleep on their own.
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