When your newborn sleeps well, not only does it benefit her, it benefits you too, in the form of getting your much needed rest at night after nursing your little one all through the day. By adopting the seven ways to help newborns sleep through the night, you help yourself by not having to carry her all the time (though it’s a given that you’d love to).
After all, unless your baby is out of your arms for a little while, you can’t really sleep. Can you?
In this article:
- Make Sure Your Baby is Truly Awake
- Make Sure the Room is Cool
- Make Sure the Room is Dark
- Keep the Bedroom Quiet
- Swaddle Your Baby or Use a Sleeping Bag
- Keep the Environment Less Stimulating During Evenings
- Make Sure Your Baby is Never Over-Tired
1. Make Sure Your Baby is Truly Awake
As a new parent, it can sometimes get really confusing whether your baby is truly awake or whether she is in her light sleep. Newborn babies enter their deep sleep only after going through their light sleep.
When she is in light sleep, it might look like she’s awake, which she is not. She may look fussy, move a lot, makes a lot of noises; yet you’ll find that her eyes are closed and are moving underneath her eyelids. That’s why you are more likely to accidentally wake her up during her light sleep by oversight.
Newborn babies spend the majority of their time in light sleep and they get into deep sleep for a short period in each sleep cycle. If you closely observe, during deep sleep, her whole body is completely resting, eyelids are not moving, and her breath is really, really deep.
Like adults, newborn babies also go through sleep cycles, each of which lasts about 45 minutes, and between two sleep cycles, your baby will kind of wake up for a short period of time.
That’s why it is important that you are doubly sure that she’s truly awake when you want to pick her up. While there are six common reasons why babies cry when they wake up from sleep, you just have to make sure that she is crying for one of the following three reasons:
- She’s hungry
- She’s soiled her nappy
- She’s either tired no longer tired
2. Make Sure the Room is Dark
Her room should be dark enough, such that you can’t read a book, a newspaper or any printed material. The dark aspect has got nothing to do with circadian rhythm, as yet, as babies get it sometime between the third and fifth month only.
Keeping the room dark ensures that when your baby comes into light waking (which is between two sleep cycles) she can’t get stimulated by looking at bright or colourful things in the room.
This means she’s going to see only a dark room and easily goes back to sleep – if she’s not hungry, not uncomfortable in any way and not tired, of course.
3. Keep the Bedroom Quiet
First thing you should be clear as a crystal is this: No one sleeps in a noisy room (by choice, especially). But interestingly, there are some who believe that babies should learn and become capable of sleeping in a noisy environment, which is absolutely incorrect.
When it comes to babies in particular, they generally get easily stimulated by noise and sounds. One of the ways the stimulation gets manifested is by what is called Startle Reflex, especially during light sleep. It is a reflex in the form of a sudden jolt the baby makes (an involuntary movement) when she hears a loud sound or noise.
That’s why you should ensure that the noise is kept to the minimum in her room. Having said, for practical reasons and for reasons which may be beyond your control, it may not be possible for you to ensure a quiet environment for her to sleep, which is fine and understandable.
4. Make Sure the Room is Cool
While what the (natural) room temperature will be depends on the location you live in, babies generally sleep best in rooms whose temperature is around the mid 20s. If you can’t get that, then just make sure you dress them appropriately according to the prevailing or the set temperature of the room.
5. Swaddle Your Baby or Use a Sleeping Bag
Swaddling is a fantastic way to keep your baby comfortable and enable her to sleep well, because it mimics the experience she had in the womb. Best of all, it also makes her feel warm, nice and secure.
Having said, it is important that you make sure that the swaddle is not too warm for her to get inconvenienced.
Similarly, you may also choose to use a sleeping bag, which also kind of swaddles your baby, such that both her arms are down. Her swaddled arms help in dampening any startle reflex she may experience, therefore not waking her up from her sleep.
6. Make Sure Your Baby is Never Over-Tired
Newborn babies need to sleep after every 45 minutes or 2 hours of being awake. Just look for cues that indicate if she is indeed tired, like wiping or rubbing eyes, yawning big or crying and looking away from you.
If she does show those signs, she is too tired and you have to put her back to sleep. But if she’s had a long nap for, say three hours, then she’s not tired and is probably going to stay awake for 2 hours or even more.
7. Keep the Environment Less Stimulating During Evenings
When your baby’s waking in the night for a feed, ensure that the environment is subtle and less stimulating for her. You can keep the lights dim by using a nightlight. And yes, there are times when you may want to watch TV or use your digital devices as you are awake but she is sleeping.
It is important you are aware that if electronic or digital devices’ screen and sound is going to stimulate your baby when you’re feeding her, it might be very hard for her to go back to sleep.
Simply put, the only way you can manage this situation is by prioritising things for her. After all, she’s the one who needs the most attention at home.
2 Other Ways to Help Newborns Sleep Through the Night
1. Never Pass Around
Your baby can’t sleep well when she’s being passed around to many people. Though she may be passed around with the intention that someone might be able to comfort her and make her sleep, it will do anything but serve the purpose.
The more she’s trying to block out any kind discomfort while she’s being passed around, the more she will find it difficult to sleep.
2. Introduce a Pacifier
You may want to consider pacifiers for your baby, as sucking is one of the most calming things they can do. But do remember though, that they are not really recommend if you’re breastfeeding her.
If you’re concerned about introducing a pacifier as you think she may become reliant on it, that’s not necessarily true. All you need to do is to make sure you remove the pacifier when she is six months, which is a good time to start sleep training for her.
Related Article : How to Deal with Postpartum Sleep Deprivation Effectively
Disclaimer: The content in this page and across this website are for informational and educational purposes only. In case of any concerns about your child’s growth and development, please contact your professional child healthcare provider.