Congratulations! You're expecting a wonderful baby! Now what? Buy some bottles, diapers, clothes, and prepare the perfect nursery. Enjoy a few months of belly kicks, perhaps weather some nausea, and pray for a safe delivery. Then what? One of the most overwhelming feelings in my life was walking into my home for the first time, holding a tiny new human. I looked at my spouse and said, “What do we do now?” Where do I put the carseat? Do I pick the baby up? Do I wake him? Do I feed him?
Does anyone else remember feeling that way? Any expecting parents nervous about feeling this way?
I want to help parents from the minute they bring their wonderful child home, so they know exactly what to do for their baby.
There are so many questions and unknowns when your baby arrives. My Newborn Sleep Program helps to get you accustomed and ready for the first few weeks of your baby’s life so that you are confident upon entry into your home, ready with steps one - and two and three! Yes, you heard that correctly: we can start before the baby arrives so you are ready when you walk through that door!
What could you possibly need to know about a newborn other than they eat, sleep, and poop?
Here are a few topics we will discuss:
- Breaking day/night confusion
- Ensuring lots of exposure to bright, natural light during the day-- especially first thing in the morning-- which can help regulate the body clock
- Reserving a dark room for naps
- Recognizing sleepy cues to help your wonderful child sleep at the right time
- Creating and following through on a flexible routine instead of a timed schedule that repeatedly includes sleeping, eating and playing
- Monitoring wake windows, and
- Encouraging more feeds during the day, rather than overnight.
Now do you wish all you had to think about was your baby eating, sleeping, and pooping? Don’t feel overwhelmed! I did not know any of this sleep knowledge as a new mom, and, since then, I’ve trained and researched to help others. When you enroll in my newborn program, I will help you break down the newborn routines step by step and at what age we can implement routines and changes. The first 12 weeks of a baby’s life are full of developmental changes, so we adjust sleep routines as they grow!
One of the first big challenges that some newborn babies face is having their days and nights mixed up. Babies are not born with circadian rhythms, which means they develop one as they grow. Circadian rhythms are what tell you that day is day and night is night. Lots of exposure to bright, natural light during the day-- especially first thing in the morning-- can help regulate the body clock. However, do ensure it is dark for naps. Do not let a baby sleep longer than 3 hours during the day. You do not want their longest stretch of sleep to be during the day. Too many long naps during the day means less feeds, which means that your baby will be more likely to wake up more in the night to make up for the lost daytime calories.
It is important to realize that newborns are noisy sleepers. It’s common for them to make noise as they transition sleep cycles, even though they may not actually be ready to wake! Think about how you sleep at night: How many times do you roll over, adjust the pillow or blanket, or look at the clock? We may be waking as we transition a sleep cycle but we still need more sleep! Oftentimes, your baby may need help settling after each 40 minute cycle as their brain continues to grow and develop and they eventually learn to connect sleep cycles on their own. An adult may go through four to six sleep cycles in a night, lasting approx. 90 minutes each, where a baby will go through sleep cycles every 40 minutes for all 16-18 hours of their total sleep in 24 hours!
When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, give him or her a few minutes to see if they really are waking up to eat. If they are just mildly fussing, just leave them to try and resettle. If they cry for longer than five minutes, change their diaper, and then offer a feed. We are not trying to cut out overnight feeds with a newborn; we just want to make sure they are actually hungry.
Ensure that your baby is awake enough to take a good feed and is still awake at the end of the feed. Swaddle them back up and lay them back down to fall asleep on their own. As your newborn grows, if their loud sleep habits are keeping you awake, it’s okay to decrease the volume on the monitor or move them to their own room. If they are safe and fed, they are okay! If you need help with this routine or any newborn routines, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Congratulations on that sweet bundle of joy. Enjoy every sweet moment - they go by so quickly!