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How To Get More Sleep With A Newborn

April Christine, Owner of Baby In Sight 3D / 4D Fetal Ultrasound

Life with a newborn baby is a beautiful and exciting time in any family’s life.

A new addition to the family is a welcomed moment, however, the lack of sleep that comes with the newborn phase can be tiresome.

Newborns require around-the-clock care and with many newborns only sleeping for two-hour stretches, lack of sleep can take a toll on a new parent.

Adjusting to the new sleeping routine that your newborn baby brings can be difficult and not getting enough sleep can make looking after a small baby more stressful and demanding.

The CDC explains that adults between the ages of 18-60 need seven or more hours of sleep per night in order to feel rested.

However in comparison the CDC also states that newborn babies, up to three months old, need 14-17 hours of sleep per day, unfortunately for parents, this is spread out throughout the day and night.

Although sleepless nights are something to expect when you welcome a new baby home, there are many ways you can encourage your baby to get to sleep at night

It is good to remember however that all babies are different and newborn babies have specific needs, which need to be met throughout the night.

The Lullaby Trust explains that it is normal for newborn babies to wake up every two hours through the night to feed.

However, there are ways you can help your baby to get more sleep at night.

Below we will look at ways you can support your baby to get to sleep and how to get them back to sleep when they do wake up to feed.

Lower lights and minimize noise

When a baby is born it is good to remember that they will be used to being in the womb, curled up in an area that is dark and quiet.

You can help your baby to adjust to their new home and signal that it is time to sleep by lowering the lights, turning the music down, and the TV off.

As you get close to their bedtime consider using low-light lamps around the home, or curtains that reduce how much light filters in if it’s sunny.

It is also a good idea to reduce any loud noises as you get your baby ready for bed.

Turn the TV off, change the music to something low and soothing, and avoid putting the washing machine or dishwasher on at this time.

Not only will this help your baby to feel more relaxed in the run-up to bedtime but if you do this every night it will help to transition your baby from day to night.

Prepare their sleeping area

The place where your baby sleeps is very important for establishing a good night’s sleep.

Most babies that are under 6 months old sleep in the same room as their parents, which makes nighttime feeds and changes easier.

However, even if you are sharing a room there are a few things you can do to ensure it is the optimum sleep environment for your baby.

The Lullaby Trust explains that a ‘room temperature of 16-20°C – with light bedding or a lightweight, well-fitting baby sleep bag– is comfortable and safe for sleeping babies.

To ensure that your room is the right temperature you can invest in a room thermometer such as the GroEgg2 Room Thermometer that changes color depending on the room temperature.

Installing blackout blinds in the room your baby sleeps and also purchasing a white noise machine can also help your baby to get to sleep.

A noise machine can drown out outside noise and can soothe your baby back to sleep when they wake in the night to feed.

Get Sleep Newborn

Establish a consistent bedtime routine

Your daily routines can have a large impact on your baby’s ability to get to sleep.

Young newborn babies are unable to tell the difference between night and day until they are around 6 weeks old.

By establishing a consistent bedtime routine you can help your baby to recognize the different stages of the day and help ease them into the night.

Each family will have their own bedtime routine which can include a bedtime bath, singing lullabies, and putting on pajamas.

Regardless of the activities that you do during your bedtime routine, being consistent with them is key.

A consistent bedtime routine will help transition your baby from night to day.

What can I do to get more sleep for myself?

Of course, you will be doing everything you can to support your baby in getting a good night’s sleep, however, it is important to think about your own night-time patterns, especially as a new parent.

When you have a newborn it is easy to neglect your own needs and prioritize those of your baby, yet in order to be able to function as a new parent you need to look after yourself too.

Create good sleep habits for yourself

Even if you are unable to get long stretches of sleep with a newborn, you can improve the quality of sleep you get by creating good sleep habits.

Consider changes to your diet that will increase sleep quality such as avoiding caffeine in the evening and eating smaller meals before you go to bed.

It can be tempting to spend any downtime you have watching tv or scrolling on your phone, however, limiting your screen time before you go to bed can have a beneficial effect on your sleep and health.

According to The National Institute for Health, screen light exposure in the evening may have detrimental effects on human health and performance.

So even if you are unable to get a full night’s sleep it is important to ensure any sleep you get is of high quality in order to feel less tired.

Creating your own night-time routine can also help you to wind down and get some much-needed rest.

Getting Sleep With Newborn

Sleep deprivation is a difficult part of parenthood and it can be one of the hardest parts of life as a new parent.

Lack of sleep often ranks as the most demanding part of early parenting, however, by striving to do your best, you can lay a solid foundation for you and your baby.

Share nighttime parenting responsibilities

Taking turns with your partner (or other trusted helper) caring for baby during the night can provide some much needed downtime enabling you to recharge those “mommy batteries”.

If you are unable to share nighttime feeding duties, then prioritize napping whenever your baby does to ensure you get the rest you need.

It is also good to limit your expectations and realize that it is normal for newborns to wake up several times throughout the night. explains that it is normal for a baby to wake up to feed as ‘newborns have tiny tummies, so they need to eat often, including during the night.’

As a new parent, it can be easy to feel that you may be doing something wrong, especially when you are exhausted from lack of sleep.

If you feel worried, talking to other newborn parents can help to ease your mind.

However, if you have serious concerns about the health of your baby or yourself it is always a good idea to speak to a medical professional to check that everything is ok.

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