SLEEP. It's one of the biggest adjustments to make when you become a new parent. There are loads of different theories on getting babe to sleep more, so we asked Sleep Consultant Rebecca Abraham from Bellies and Beyond to give us her tips for sleep in the first three months.
Bec: Just 7 weeks ago my brother and his wife gave birth to a magnificent little boy who I...obviously...fell instantly in love with. Last week at dinner together, my brother asked me when I would be magically applying sleep potion to my nephew. Ha!
Here’s my advice for the first few months: go with the flow. It’s tough. Be kind to yourself. Now’s the time to worry less about routine and more about setting the foundations!
Up to 8 weeks
- Fill their ‘sleep tank’:
For the first 6-8 weeks, get your baby to sleep as much as you can, whenever they like, and don’t worry about how you get them to sleep.
- Don’t stress about routine:
Things will get there eventually. Don’t worry about it in the early weeks, it’s not worth the stress you’ll feel if things don’t go according to plan.
After 8 weeks (phew!)
Baby still probably won’t get the routine memo at this age, but there are some things you can do to set some good foundations for sleep:
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine:
Predictability and consistency are key, so whatever you do, keep doing it.
- Choose calm, quiet and unstimulating activities before bed:
Bath, massage, swaddling, reading, soft singing, baby yoga, a feed. Choose what suits you and your baby best.
- Play white noise or some soft music (especially if there are older siblings or noisy dogs):
It is good for babies to learn to sleep through routine household sounds but with some circumstances we can’t really expect them to sleep soundly through it.
- Help them to learn night from day:
Expose baby to lots of natural sunlight and fresh air during the day. This will help them feel more awake. At night, make sure it is dark as possible (use a nightlight for feeds and nappy changes), keep talking to a minimum and avoid eye contact. This helps teach your baby that it is not time for play but for sleep.
- Try to limit sleeps in your arms:
It’s important to create a beautiful sleep space for baby and to have consistency. I give you permission to break the rules every now and again and let them sleep in your arms while you gaze at how magnificent they are.
- Make sure it’s dark in there (even during the day):
If your babies bedroom gets a lot of light at certain times of the day then maybe its worth investing in room-darkening shades (you can buy these from a lot of baby stores or even from spotlight). This might be a missing puzzle piece to early wake ups!
- Make the cot/bassinet a place for sleep and sleep only:
I am not a lover of mobiles hanging over the cot as it just encourages your baby to stay awake and stare at it. The bassinet/cot should be a place your baby sleeps and not plays in.
Good luck! Enjoy, relax and go with the flow. Breathe in that beautiful newborn smell because they are only this little for a very short time.