Bringing home a new baby is such an exciting time - so much love and joy for the whole family. Each little person is a gorgeously unique individual and whether it is your first or your final, sorting out your new bub’s sleep pattern is not always straightforward. Babies are not born with a sense of day and night and balancing their sleep needs with your life can be a challenge, especially if you are juggling toddlers as well.
These simple sleep tips for your baby may be invaluable.
Regular sleep times
Help your baby learn the day/night cycle by creating regular sleep and wake times. Remember that newborns may sleep for up to 17 hours per day so be sure to allow plenty of time for snoozing. Consistency is the key and establishing good sleep routines early will help you and your child as they progress to toddlers and beyond.
Differentiate between day and night
Daytime is for fun and games, night time is for sleep. During the day when your baby wakes, take the opportunity to chat, play and engage with them. Overnight, keep the lights low and interaction to a minimum as this will help your bub to understand that night time is for sleeping.
Having a bedtime routine also helps reinforce that it is time for sleep. You may even like to have day and night sleep routines to strengthen the differences. A bath, story, special bedtime toy and quiet time are all great ways to help your baby prepare for sleep.
Self-settling and soothing
Learn to recognise your baby’s ‘tired signs’. When they appear, pop your baby into their bed and allow them to fall asleep alone in their cot. Initially, they may need some patting or rocking to help them fall asleep but keeping this to a minimum lowers the risk that they will rely on you to fall asleep. If your baby stirs, allow them a little time to resettle before intervening.
Tempting as it is to snuggle your baby to sleep in your arms, repetition and routine are the secret to helping your baby learn good sleep habits. Being consistent can be difficult but long term both you and your child will benefit.
Further reading https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/