Tag Archives: Sleep Tips

Newborn Sleep Tips

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?

Help – My Child Wakes Too Early in the Morning!

13921137_sThere are two different types of early mornings.  One we call “early rising” and that is typically defined as before 6:00AM.  I consider anything before 6:00 AM the middle of the night!  The other is when your child may wake at 6 or 6:30, but it is too early for you.  The first, we can definitely work on.  The second kind may be able to changed to some degree, depending on your child’s temperament and a few other factors.

In this post I will discuss some common reasons why children may wake early in the morning (before 6:00AM).   I will write another post about moving your child’s wakeup time later.

Being Overtired at Bedtime
If your child is overtired at bedtime, they are likely to wake up during the night and wake early in the morning.  Being overtired at bedtime can be caused by having too late a bedtime; not napping enough during the day; and/or having too big a gap between their afternoon nap and bedtime.  Despite what you may think, if you keep your child from napping, or up a long time before bedtime, it while likely cause night time to be worse, not better.

Going to sleep too drowsy (or not awake at all) at bedtime
If your child does not have the skills to put themselves to sleep at bedtime without your assistance, then it is likely that when they have partial awakenings during the night (we all have these) that they will also not be able to put themselves to sleep without assistance.  The chances of this happen increase as the morning gets closer since we are in lighter sleep closer to the morning.  It is easier for us to be woken up, and it is harder for us to fall back asleep.

Early morning disturbances
Sometimes something in the baby’s environment is causing the wake up in the morning, and because it is close to when they normally wake up, they cannot easily go back to sleep.  I recommend using white noise and blackout curtains to eliminate outside noises as well as early morning light that may wake your baby up.  You may want to spend a night in your baby’s room if you find that they wake at exactly the same time each morning (or at least can in there before the time) to see if there is something that is waking them up.

Going to bed too early
This one can be a tricky one.  Some sleep specialists will recommend young babies go to bed at 6 or 6:30.  The problem I see with that early a bedtime is if the baby should be getting 10 – 11 hours of sleep (and this is a common sleep pattern in young babies that are still taking naps during the day), they should be waking between 4 and 5:30 in the morning if they are sleeping straight through.  The trick is that you do not want bedtime to be too late either as that may cause your child to be overtired.