4 Newborn Sleep Hacks To Save Your Sanity
I’ve had a lot of requests for newborn sleep tips so here ya go!
First of all, congratulations on the birth of your baby. This is such an exciting time and there’s really nothing quite like it.
I remember it well when my first son was born. NOTHING in your life prepares you for having a newborn or let’s face it, being a parent to a child of any age!
But, the newborn stage can be extremely stressful and there are always so many unanswered questions, a lot of unsolicited advice, and then combine all of that with sleepless nights! It’s like a bomb went off in your life! No joke!
I made it until my son was 6 weeks old until I waved the white flag of exhaustion and knew I needed help to teach him to sleep so that I could get the rest I needed to enjoy motherhood the way I imagined it to be.
I’m a problem solver and a doer, so I did some research and found an amazing sleep consultant (I didn’t even know this was a thing!) to help me teach him to sleep. I had no idea that babies aren’t born just knowing how to sleep. I quickly learned that sleep is a skill and ANY baby (yes, even newborns) can learn to sleep!
By 8 weeks, Aidan was falling asleep without help from me, sleeping long stretches at night, AND taking long, restful naps. To say it was life-changing is an understatement and it’s WHY I do what I do today helping families teach their babies to be great sleepers so that everyone in the family can get the rest they need!
Aidan is an amazing sleeper to this day and I’m confident he’ll take those sleep skills with him everywhere he goes for the rest of his life. What a gift to give your child!
What can you do to teach your newborn to sleep? Let’s get right to it…
Hack #1: Not Feeding To Sleep
Not feeding a baby to sleep is number one because it’s the foundation of what we teach our newborn clients and it’s one thing you can do right from the start to teach your new baby one of the most important sleep skills – falling asleep independently, without “help” from you.
Newborns are SLEEPY in the beginning and you’ll not have success every time you try to keep them awake for a feed. But, if you keep at it, you’ll notice that little by little baby can stay awake for those feeds.
This encourages the WAKE – EAT – PLAY -SLEEP routine and discourages a FEED – TO – SLEEP association.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to this, so don’t get discouraged and keep after it.
Hack #2: Good, Full Feeds
If you can catch a newborn when they wake from a snooze, this is when they’re the most alert they’re going to be in their awake window.
They’ll have the most energy they need for a good, full feed which will encourage solid sleep.
We meet a lot of babies that are “snack ‘n snoozers” which means they eat a little, sleep a little, eat a little, sleep a little and these babies are NOT good sleepers.
Practice good, full feeds when baby wakes, a little awake time, then sleep time and your newborn’s sleep will improve.
Hack #3: Watch The Waking Hours
I had no idea how little awake time newborns can handle! Up until about 8 weeks of age, only 45 minutes to 1 hour. That’s not a lot of time to get baby fed, changed, have some awake time, and get back to sleep.
Overtiredness is NOT your newborn’s friend, can make sleep extremely difficult, and baby super fussy.
As a sleep consultant, I’m not so worried about where your newborn baby sleeps (as long as you’re practicing safe sleep) as I am about making sure they don’t get overtired. Some times you’re not going to be successful with crib sleep, so wearing your baby, stroller rides, and car rides for sleep are totally fine for a fussy newborn that needs sleep.
Just be sure you watch the waking hours.
Hack #4: TEACH Your Baby To Sleep Through The Night
I hear over and over from parents that they were just waiting for their babies to start magically sleeping through the night!
Trusting your baby’s physiology to regulate their sleep schedule, what they eat, their behavior, or just about any other aspect of their upbringing is a recipe for disaster.
Is your older child designed to eat two pounds of fruit snacks? I think not, but they will without a doubt if you don’t intervene!
Our children need our expertise to guide them from the very beginning. Especially when it comes to sleep. Now, some babies are born better sleepers than others but don’t believe people when they tell you that your baby should dictate their own sleep schedule.
If you start teaching your baby sleep skills right from the beginning as I do with my Newborn Sleep Plan Package, it’s possible that your baby will start sleeping through the night. And, by sleeping through the night I mean 11-12 hours of uninterrupted bliss somewhere between 10 – 13 weeks.
It’s true! I see it every day with our newborn clients.
Why Is My Newborn Crying?
We’re all so worried about the crying. Why?
No one likes to hear their baby cry but, many parents jump to conclusions about their fussy newborns. Let’s face it, newborns cry! Some newborns cry a lot and some cry a little.
We live in a time where we have to have an answer and a reason for everything (thank you Google). So, many parents take their fussy newborns to the pediatrician and want answers.
Over and over we work with newborns who are being treated for reflux or GERD. My hunch is that babies are being over-medicated and here’s an article to back me up.
That’s not to say you should ever ignore your instincts about your baby’s health but I’ve found over the years that even the fussiest of babies get a lot happier around 10-12 weeks.
Teaching gentle, loving sleep skills right from the start will help you avoid a lot of fussy times from your newborn.
Trust me when I say it doesn’t get easier to teach sleep skills as they get older!
Want to have a chat about your newborn’s sleep? I would love to listen.
Book your complimentary sleep evaluation today so that I can learn more about your baby’s specific sleep needs.
Here’s to a well-rested family,