I want to give a shout out to all the new Moms out there. You’re figuring things out as you go and nothing is easy. When you have a new baby at home it can feel like your whole world was flipped upside down – then shaken!
You have so much love for your baby and it seems like that’s what really gets us through the beginning.
It seems getting your baby to sleep at night is a common hurdle for new Moms and Dads. At this point in the game, sleep is that fine line between sanity and insanity. When you’re not getting any, it really wears on you!
I was very fortunate with my daughter, I had great advice and a good baby and by two months she was sleeping 8-9 hours at a time. This really was the saving grace for me because when I get little sleep, I have very little patience!
There were a few pointers I was given from a few different sources that helped us get our daughter sleeping well. Some were from other Moms who had gone through this, some from our amazing maternity nurses, and some from the good ‘ol internet.
Just remember, every baby is different, and you know what’s best for yours. Take this advice for what it is and just remember do what works for you, and that you’re doing amazing!!
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Let me be clear on two things
Before I get into the tips I have for you, I would just like to clear up some misconceptions I’ve had about this advice.
1. Your newborn baby is going to wake up. A lot.
That’s just what newborns do. I don’t want any of these tips to make you think that your brand new baby should be sleeping a full night, that’s completely unrealistic, and unhealthy for your baby.
2. Its about creating habits to use in the coming months.
These tips I list are to help your baby create habits that will aid them in sleeping through the night once they are developed enough to do so. What I mean by that is if you start creating these habits from day one, they will become useful to your baby sooner than if you started two months from now.
Help your baby sleep at night
Ok, so the first thing that I found out that I feel like not many realize is that while you’re pregnant, you’re baby get rocked to sleep when you’re active and moving, then is awake and kicking when you’re sleeping.
This continues after birth, so basically, your baby thinks that nighttime is awake time and daytime is sleep time.
This could be the main issue you’re having right off the get-go. Your baby has it all backwards! No wonder they don’t want to sleep at night!!
So firsts things first, you gotta let them know that nighttime is for sleeping! How do you do this? Well there are a few different ways, and that’s what I’m here to help you with.
1. Nap in a bright room
This is my #1 tip. To help your baby differentiate from day and night (since they sleep so much during the day), it’s a really good idea to have your baby nap in a bright room. They’ll get use to sleeping in a bright room which helps later on, and it makes it easier for you if you can’t get them to a dark room for their naps.
2. Keep some background noise on during the day
I like to have my radio on during the day anyways, but having some noise during the day also helps your baby know it’s only nap time, not bed time.
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3. Talk to your baby when feeding
In the daytime when you’re nursing/bottle feeding your baby, talk to them and let them know it’s daytime. Singing or tickling their toes works too 🙂
4. Start quiet time before bed
About a half an hour before you would like to start your baby’s bedtime routine, implement quiet time. This is a time that you limit loud noises like the tv/radio and company. You want to relax your baby and get her ready for sleep.
5. Bath your baby at night
This one is completely optional, I’ve been told that some babies get all riled up after a bath, but we were advised by our maternity nurses to bath our daughter at night. A warm bath is soothing and the routine of bathing every night will signal to your baby that it’s almost bedtime.
In the early stages we wanted to establish a routine but didn’t want to dry out her skin with daily use of soap, so to avoid that we opted to only use soap in her bath every other night.
Some would rather bath their babies in the morning or sometime during the day and that’s great, do what works for your family. I would recommend doing something in place of a bath at night to establish a routine though, like reading a bedtime story, something your baby can connect with bedtime.
6. Dim the lights
Just as you want it to be bright during the day, you want it to be dark at night, so we would dim the lights after her bath while we were putting her pajamas and a fresh diaper on. You could even go as far as dimming the lights at bath time or even when you start quiet time.
7. Use a nightlight
When your baby wakes you (a couple hundred times) in the night, try not to turn on the lights. Use a nightlight that is bright enough to feed but still dim enough that your baby knows it’s night time at those late night feeds.
When we had our daughter in her pajamas and ready for bed we would turn out the light and I would nurse her in the dark. I feel like every little bit helped!
8. Don’t interact with your baby during the night feeds
Try not to talk when getting up to feed your baby, keeping it quiet will help lull them back to sleep.
If your baby is like mine and seems wide awake in the wee hours of the morning, I went as far as not making eye contact with her either. It’s a wonderful feeling when it takes just one look into your eyes to make them crack a smile, but at 2:00 am you just want them to focus on eating then sleeping, heartwarming smiles can wait till morning!
9. Set a bedtime
I saved this one for last because it’s completely optional. I personally stuck to a bedtime quite rigidly for the first few months to get her on a schedule, and now I sometimes wait till she gives me signals she’s ready for bed (which is usually pretty close to the bedtime we chose). Setting a bedtime also gives you some consistency; knowing that she sleeps till about 8:00am gives me a chance to have some time for myself in the mornings.
We still use most of these techniques for bedtime and our daughter has always been a good sleeper (minus the occasional bump I the road), she is now 8 months and sleeping 9-10 hours straight!
I hope that you try these techniques and that they work as good for you as they did for us! Having a newborn is such an incredible time, I hope that getting your baby to sleep will help you savor the moments 🙂