The joy and excitement of a newborn can soon be overshadowed by the harsh reality of sleepless nights. Those sleepless nights with a newborn can be exhausting – there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution but here we have plenty of ideas to try to help your newborn sleep better.
- Swaddling is hailed by many parents of children under six months or that cannot yet roll over as the perfect solution. The tight wrap of the fabric is said to echo conditions in the womb and therefore make the baby feel safe and comfortable in a way that a regular blanket cannot. Babies wake up much more easily than adults and even moving around is enough to wake them – a swaddle keeps them held tight whilst they sleep.
- A familiar smelling comforter –smell is important for a baby, the smell of a parent is associated with familiarity, comfort and security. Parents can help transfer this feeling to a comforter by sleeping and keeping one close to them. Newborns can then associate the comforter with the feeling brought from the parent without having them present.
- Bedtime rituals –a night time routine that doesn’t change can calm and settle your newborn before sleep and contributes to establishing their internal body clock. A soothing massage, a bath, aroma oils can all provide cues for sleep as well as establishing quality time together at night – there is plenty of research that points to newborns being very receptive to their environment, so make it right for bedtimes.
- A dark room or blackout blinds - newborns take around 12 weeks to establish circadian rhythms and the production of melatonin. Establishing a dark and quiet room early is good practice and will embed the dark/light cues that your newborn will need to establish long term sleep patterns.
- Responding Differently to your baby at night is something that every parent can attempt in order to avoid disturbing a baby further. When parents go to feed or comfort their baby at night, they should avoid talking and turning on the lights. This will make it far easier for your baby to fall asleep again once their needs are met.