It’s not unusual for newborns to have strange sleeping habits, particularly for them to want to sleep during the day and stay awake at night. If you are a new parent, you’ve likely received advice from many parents on how to achieve a sleeping schedule. If your baby’s sleeping habits need some adjustment, here are some ways to get your baby on track.
- Don’t keep quiet during the day when he’s sleeping – When your baby sleeps during the day (and all babies will) leave the door to his room open, and go about your normal daily routine. Keep the television or stereo on. This will accomplish two things. First, he will learn to sleep even through the noise, which is important, since this child will be taking naps in your home for four or five years. Secondly, he will get the idea that the daytime is not the right time for long periods of sleep.
- Start slow. Your baby doesn’t need a bedtime routine right away. A newborn will sleep a lot when first brought home. They will not sleep for several hours in a row because of their eating needs. After a month or so, try starting a nightly routine. For example, bath time, massaging, feeding, and then singing a lullaby.
- If your baby sleeps more than three hours at a stretch, wake them. Babies should nap during the day, of course, but more than three hours is not a nap. Once your baby is awake, sing or talk to your baby to keep them awake. This is a great time to put him on a mat for some tummy time if it’s not feeding time. Now, of course, the second half of this problem is the staying awake at night. This is going to take some time, and babies usually make some significant adjustments within about three weeks, though you will be getting up for feedings at least once at night for a bit longer.
- Put him in bassinet or cradle for the first few weeks. A crib can seem huge to a newborn, so you might find that he sleeps much better in the coziness of a smaller space.
- Give him some soothing sounds. Not only will this act as a sort of “white noise” to block out other sounds, it will also be soothing to him. Soft, classical music works well, but so can the constant hum of a fan or the Baby Shusher.
- Keep the room at a comfortable temperature. If your baby too cold or too warm, just like the rest of us, they will not sleep as well.
- Establishing a routine. Your child will sleep better if they have an established sleeping routine for day and night. Put your baby down for naps at the same time each day, and put them down for bed at the same time each night. Create some bedtime habits that will signal to the baby that bedtime is near. A bath or a story can be a nice way to wind down and get ready for restful sleep.
Sleeping habits are a challenge for most new parents, primarily because you’re so tired yourself. One word of advice – don’t try to make baby sleep at night by not allowing him to nap during the day. It will backfire. Babies need lots of sleep, and naps are a critical part of this. Just don’t let your baby sleep for too long at a stretch during the day. Give it some time, and take some naps yourself, and before you know it, everyone will be sleeping soundly through the night.