I have done a few seminars at Babies R Us focused on expectant parents. I give some basic sleep information, talk about some sleep tips for the pregnant mom (see I’m Pregnant and I Can’t Sleep for some tips), and we talk about newborn sleep and some tips for newborn sleep. I have realized that although I have written some articles for other publications about newborn sleep, I do not have one on this site. So, here are some newborn sleep tips!! I hope you enjoy!
The first thing I suggest parents talk about is where they want their baby to sleep. While this may change depending on your child’s temperament and other factors, it is good to have a plan and have that discussion with your partner. The American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend room-sharing to decrease the risk of SIDS – http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Preventing-SIDS.aspx. If you may be interested in co-sleeping, be sure you do your research on how to co-sleep safely. Here are some safety do’s and don’ts by Dr. Sears: http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/sleep-problems/sleep-safety/safe-co-sleeping-habits.
First 6 weeks For the first six weeks of your baby’s life, do what you need to! Accept help from anyone who offers it and sleep when the baby sleeps. Try to spend some one on one time with your partner too. Do not let your baby get overtired during the time. Keeping them up during the day will not help them sleep better at night. The only slight exception to this is if they get their days and nights mixed up. Then you want to try to keep them up for a little while during the day, but still make sure they are napping enough.
Around 6 – 8 weeks
At this age, try putting baby down awake for the first nap of the day or bedtime. If they get very upset, go ahead and pick them up and help them fall asleep however you normally do. We are giving them the opportunity to see if they can fall asleep on their own without doing too much work for them, but not sleep training. Try again in another few days if it didn’t work the first time.
I do recommend spending time in your baby’s room around this age as well. If your baby normally sleeps in your room, they may not get too much exposure to their own room. We want them to feel comfortable in their own room so when you are ready to move them into their own room, it will not be as big a shock.
The most important tip I can give you is Do Not Let Your Baby Get Overtired! As your baby gets older, they will have more awake times in between naps and it may get harder to read their sleepy cues. Keep an eye on them, and the clock to be sure they do not get overtired. Once your baby gets overtired, they are more likely to have a harder time falling asleep, they will be more likely to take shorter naps, and more likely to wake more often during the night.
If you have any doubts as to if your baby is eating enough, please check with your pediatrician or lactation consultant.
Do you have any questions? What do you wish you knew about newborn sleep before your baby was born?