Now What? Where is the instruction manual for these little beings. I remember asking my mom a lot of questions when my daughter was fresh from the hospital, and for many of my concerns, after having raised 3 of her own children, she would say “hmm I don’t remember what I did anymore, I don’t remember it was this hard.” HA! maybe we block it out once we are out of the newborn stage. There has to be some truth to that, because here I am 1 year after having my second baby, and I am digging deep to try and remember what those early days were like. It seems like AGES ago.
A lot of it is thankfully just instinct. Keep them fed, hold them, change diaper and repeat, but what about sleep? When should they sleep? how long is normal? I remember one day our daughter napped for 5 straight hours during the day. We were in the car, we went to lunch , came back, and she was still asleep. We didn’t know if something was wrong, if we should wake her, if she was going through a growth spurt. We felt clueless, but also relieved to have the day “off”. Obviously that day backfired and she was up every 2 hours that night. It wasn’t until much later that I learned the in’s and out’s of newborn sleep making my son’s newborn journey a much easier one.
So without more delay, here they are, my top 3 newborn sleep essential tips:
Follow proper awake times
If I could only give you ONE piece of advice, this would be it. A baby that is either under-tired, or overtired will not sleep. Usually newborns are in the overtired arena. Why? because they should only be awake for about 45mins-1 hour and this INCLUDES their feeding time. For some slow eating babies that means feeding, diaper change, and back to sleep. Insane right? They get overstimulated really easily. The bright lights of toys, the many new faces, or just a day out of the house can be enough to send your newborn straight into the B*tching hour as my hubby and I fondly termed the hours between 5-7pm where it seemed impossible to calm our daughter down.
Follow an Eat.Wake.Sleep.Cycle
This is key for 3 reasons:
- From birth, you want to focus on your baby getting full feeds. This can be exhausting for a newborn so your best time for having them it is immediately after they wake up. Baby’s who eat well, sleep well, and visa vera.
- Secondly, we want to establish from the start that food is for nutrition, not for sleep. As newborns they don’t have the ability to have independent sleep skills, so you can and should use sleep props like pacifiers, rockings, and patting to help your baby sleep. However, keeping food seperate from sleep is going to set you up for success from the start. Baby will wake only when hungry instead of for a comfort snack, and you will continue to get those awesome full feeds you are shooting for.
- Finally, the signs for hunger in a newborn are often also the signs of fatigue. Anytime my little girl would nuzzle into my chest or cry my mom would tell me she was hungry. So, not knowing any better, I would feed her. But actually, she was tired, and while she accepted the feed for comfort, these extra feedings only led us to more colic and exhaustion. If you can follow an eat wake sleep routine and proper awake times you will be pretty confident that when your little one is crying or nuzzling your chest, they are actually asking for your help to get to sleep, and not for more food.
Create a Womb like environment.
- It’s Pretty shocking to go from a tight, dark, warm environment to suddenly a huge, bright, cold one. Create the womb environment for your newborn by doing things like swaddling, using white noise (have you every put your ear to someones stomach? There is a lot of vacuum like noise going on in there), Rocking baby side to side and allowing them to sleep in dark environments.
Here are some of my favorite newborn products !
I am going to be honest, the newborn phase was my least favorite. I wish I had hired someone to guide me through it. I felt information overload and just anxiety all the time. If you need support getting a good routine going with your newborn, I offer a very affordable newborn package so that you don’t have to sift through all the endless information on the internet, and instead I can just walk you through everything you need to know to finding calm in those early days.