Sleep deprived? I hear ya! Being a mum of 2 I must say I’m very lucky I haven’t had too much trouble getting my baby’s to sleep. Just like anything else, baby’s need to be sleep trained. We’ll discuss 5 tips for newborns to sleep successfully.
What is the tips for newborns to Sleep training?
It’s what the tin says. Sleep training is teaching your baby how to sleep without any help from you – just like us adults.
Why you should sleep train your baby?
As mentioned above, you need to give hints and tips for newborns to sleep. Otherwise they will do what they want whenever they want. Whether that’s play at 2am or decide to do a poop.
If you allow this… YOU will lose your mind. After all parents need their sleep too.
I remember with both my baby’s, the first 3 months were so so difficult. There was no routine. Baby couldn’t tell day from night and vice versa. It was so hard! After a few weeks here and there, were onto the right routine now.
When Should you Start Sleep Training?
This answer will be different for every baby! Your baby will start showing signs from 3-6 months onwards. They will sleep for longer intervals and be tired if woken up in between. Your baby will also be able to sleep longer without being fed in between.
5 ways to get your newborn to sleep at night
Do you have troubling making your newborn sleep? Well, first things first, you have to learn how to put your baby to sleep before you can start adjusting times or making schedules.
There are many ways you can make your baby go to sleep.
Here are the Internet Ways vs My Ways
– Camping Out (aka the Chair Method)
– The Ferber Method (aka Ferberization or Graduated Extinction)
– The Extinction Method (aka Cry-It-Out)
Above are all proven ways to make you baby go to sleep and get him into a sleeping schedule.
However being a mother myself and speaking to many mums in my group, below are the REALISTIC methods we mums use to make our baby’s sleep.
1. Automatic – By far the best way. So easy too. Let your baby fall asleep when he’s tired. Whether the baby is being rocked, fed, sat up, in the crib, he will fall asleep ANYWHERE if he’s tired out!
Keep them busy during the day with toys and entertainment. When a child sleeps out of boredom, they don’t sleep for long. However sleeping after an activity allows them to sleep for longer, having longer naps means more mummy time of course!
I love this method – during the day it works like a charm, but it was at nights when I needed to tweek the schedule. I couldn’t allow my baby to stay awake using the “automatic” method at night, otherwise it would go past midnight and I would still have a lively baby. Na Ah!
Related – How to sleep train your Newborn SMOOTHLY
Read on to see which method I and most mums use at night.
2. Rock baby to sleep in your arms – a method where you rock your baby, use sway motions to make young infants fall asleep. Easy to do whilst baby is small and under the age of 1, but can get harder as the baby grows and STILL requires your arms to fall asleep in.
This is how I get my baby to sleep at night. I use it as a workout method for myself also as it gives me a chance to pace around and move that body whilst rocking my baby to sleep at the same time.
You may say “that sounds hard”. BUT, its not once your baby knows she is being rocked to go to sleep. A constant rocking motion will signal your baby that it’s time for sleep. Rocking my baby to sleep maximum takes me 10 minutes. I wrap her in my arms and use rocking and sway motions.
As your baby gets older, you can slowly start weaning them off the rocking and start allowing them to sleep on their own, in their own bed. By the age of 1 you can start using other methods to start putting your baby to sleep.
3. Feed your baby a bottle before bed prompting them to sleep – not ideally a good idea as this can be dangerous for baby due to choking hazards etc. However, under supervision, this is totally fine. Until your baby doesn’t dose off, it’s best to stay in the same room with them – just not in sight. Avoid showering your baby with attention during those middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes.
Baby’s tend to fall asleep straight away as soon as their fed and have full tummies.
4. Lie baby down in crib with or without a pacifier – Lie them down at their set time and eventually they will fall asleep once the lights are all out. Please keep a baby monitor when using this method as baby’s require attention at all times. It’s not safe to leave them alone and out of sight whilst still awake. Remember to practice safe sleep for babies by always placing your little one on their back when you put them down in the crib for napping or sleeping. Also, make sure that their crib is free of loose bedding, blankets, pillows, and toys. These precautions help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
5. Cry it out method – a method which I think is the last resort for us mum’s when were super drained! Considering there are many other ways to make your baby sleep, there’s really no need for this. However this method is a fairly popular one in certain areas of the world.
Letting your baby cry it out for long periods of time can have an impact on their cognitive abilities. Hence you need to be reasonable here. For most of us, letting your baby cry for 5 to 10 minutes is not psychologically damaging. In fact, a little bit of crying—if it leads to better sleep—likely won’t do your baby any harm at all. On the contrary, allowing your baby to cry for longer periods can affect many aspects of the baby’s development. If you’re concerned about your baby’s sleep, it’s important to talk to their health care provider.
Ultimately which ever method you use, eventually you want to be able to teach your baby that they are capable of falling asleep independently. You want your baby to be able to nod off on their own—ideally without nursing, rocking or using a pacifier.
So now that you know how you can make your newborn sleep. Lets look at some sleep training tips from the experts.
How to sleep train a newborn
How to prepare for sleep training
To ensure sleep training is successful, you have to set the environment.
Just like us adults – how we get into our Pj’s, do our night time facial etc, baby’s also need to be prepared to set them in the mood. (This is not mandatory, so don’t fret if you don’t do so)
You can start when your baby is as young as 6 weeks, but don’t worry if your baby is older – it’s never too late.
You can set the stage for successful sleep training with some of the suggestions below:
To Introduce a bedtime routine. There are many options you can undertake.
A routine can include:
– A warm bath – Allows body to de-stress (yes baby’s need to de-stress too). A warm bath can tire the body out offering a relaxing sleep straight after.
– A story book – feel books are my baby’s favourite. She loves to feel the different textures along with listen to the story. Books with large pictures are widely liked. By reading a regular story book to your baby, baby’s can become familiar with the words and pictures they hear and see. Reading a regular book will alert them that it’s time for bed.
– Sing a lullaby – I also use this strategy as it soothes my baby making her fall asleep faster. There is something about a soft melody that baby’s like. Sing your baby a little soft lullaby to engage her to sleep and dose off into her cute little dreams.
– Facial massage/strokes – baby’s love a soft stoke. Especially around the forehead area. The T zone is where you want to massage your baby’s head softly to enable them to sleep.
Want more tactics on how to prepare for sleep training and what the benefits are? Then read on here.
So once you’ve established ways to make your baby sleep, how long should your baby actually sleep for then?
How much do newborns sleep?
Newborns sleep a lot – especially in the first 6 weeks.
This can be typically up to 16 to 18 hours a day. But bare in mind this is NOT in 1 sleep schedule. Most babies sleep for two to four hours at a time, day or night.
As they grow older, from 3 months onwards they have less naps but for longer intervals.
As discussed above, this is a good time to get them into a sleep schedule.
All babies are different, and their sleep patterns can vary a lot.
I like the new born stage. When newborns are awake, they’re usually feeding. As soon as they’ve had their feed, your baby will probably go back to sleep. You’ve probably heard that phrase “ Eat Sleep and Poop” yup! That’s what baby’s do.
Did you know?
Newborns have two different kinds of sleep – I didn’t know this until i started noticing how my baby would sleep.
These are Active sleep and Quiet sleep.
During active sleep, newborns move around a lot and make noises. They are like half asleep and half awake and can be woken up easily during active sleep.
During quiet sleep, newborns are still. Their breathing is deep and regular. There in their dreams far far away. They’re less likely to wake up during quiet sleep.
Is your newborn sleeping too much?
It can take at least six months for your baby to establish their own sleeping pattern.
Some are sound sleepers and they just sleep better than others.
I guess in the first few weeks of life is when a baby sleeps the most. Their either just tired of the whole labour process (yes they do get tired during labour stage too) or – they enjoy drinking a lot of their milk and end up milk drunk – causing them to sleep for a long time for longer intervals than normal.
If your baby’s health is generally well then these points are nothing to worry about. Enjoy the peace in fact, because in a few more days or weeks, your baby will be fully energized and ready to take on the world.
Is my baby sleeping too much – what should I do?
First things first – check your baby’s health.
If you have an overly sleepy baby, you’ll first need to make sure there are no medical issues causing them to sleep all the time. Sometimes if they are on medication, they can become drowsy causing them to sleep longer than usual.
Also – Jaundice (common in newborns), infections, and any medical procedures, such as circumcision, can make your baby sleepier than usual.
My baby caught an infection as soon as he was born. Nurses say he caught it from me during the last moments of labour. As he was on anti-biotics for the first 5 days of being born, I remember, all he would do is just sleep. The anti-biotics made him drowsy as they entered his wee little body.
As long as your baby gets up when it’s time to feed, I wouldn’t say their sleep consistency is something you should worry about. Some baby’s do need the push to wake up even at feed time. You can check your baby is growing well by getting his weight checked by a pediatrician. That way you will know if your baby is developing the way they should.
Health is not the only factor to determine if your baby is sleeping too little or too much. There are many more. Read here to find out.
What a newborn baby sleep schedule looks like?
As soon as your bundle of joy arrives, you have probably heard the famous phrase that all parents get to hear
“ no more sleep for you once baby arrives”.
Let me confirm – YES this is true! Well not in it’s entirety, you do get sleep, just not at the times you want it!
A baby doesn’t know the difference between day and night. And for the first 3 months, this can be tricky to understand. A baby will sleep when he wants and awake when he wants.
However the moments you spend in the first few months whilst your baby learns the difference between day and night, long and short naps, are priceless!
Here is a table of how a baby’s sleep schedule looks like.
Source taken from: solve your child’s sleep problems.
As your baby grows they will start to match your sleep cycle. So YES! You will eventually get to sleep properly and for a longer a period of time, just not right at the beginning.
In the first 6 weeks a baby sleeps A lot!
There tiny bodies get tired out super quickly.
A baby could play for 10 minutes, but nap for 2 hours after. Yes, that’s how tired they can get!
Want to print your baby’s schedules and pop it on the fridge? Click here for a schedule for each milestone age for your baby.
This way you’ll know if your on the right path. Of course there is NO RIGHT PATH TO PARENTING. Don’t get me wrong, I stand by when I say, each child is different. However with these schedules you can get an idea of what a baby sleeping schedule, including naptime, will look like.
Sleep regressions will occur in your baby’s life up till a year. These could be at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months.
A sleep regression is when your baby falls completely out of their sleeping routine. It can take a few days to get back into it however it’s nothing to worry about. It can result in a crying baby, unsettled, more clingy, and a disturbed sleep.
Sleep regression usually lasts for a few days only. Shortly after, your baby is back on schedule.
These can occur because of a growth spurt, change of foods, liquids to solids, new development milestones being hit, etc etc.
What other methods are famous to get your baby to sleep?
Sleep music for babies
Is this even a thing? Sleep music for babies?
I was stunned when I came across the amount of sleep music there is for babies. Like, it’s actually a real thing.
Thinking about it, we have all somewhere at sometime fallen prey to this.
Ever caught yourself singing your little one a lullaby to make baby go sleep? YES! I have.
Even if it’s just humming, your still singing right? Yes babies ears love the sweet and mellow sound of soft singing.
If you’ve read the whole article, you must be following me when I say babies need a trigger to alert them when it’s time for bed. And just like that, music comes into a trigger form for your newborn.
Music can create a calm, relaxing environment for your baby in order to give them the soothing atmosphere they need to nurture their sleeping pattern. Soft music played each night, along with the use of white noise, can create a sense of routine, triggering them to know it’s time for bed. It can also relax your child to get ready for their sleep.
Sleep music for babies comes in various forms. It can be a lullaby, a religious prayer, a humming noise – it’s basically a sound which comes across in soft form.
When my first born was born, I couldn’t get him to sleep on time. I was a new mum, a first timer – didn’t have a clue about all these sleeping patterns and schedules.
Upon Goggling, I came across baby white- noises (put link to a youtube video. This is a similar sound to what it sounds like when the baby is inside the womb. Did the trick work?
My baby would sleep within minutes once I switched the hoover sounds on. Mind-blowing. The noise made him feel a sense of security and as babies also do have memory, they remember flashbacks to when they were inside and felt safe.
The downside – as my baby grew older, he developed a fear of the hoover Ha! But I guess all babies are scared of hoovers right? Just not when there newborn.
Did you know, sleep music for babies has psychological benefits for your baby? Click here to read the full article on how music can help your baby sleep better and how it can be very beneficial for their development.
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve conquered your baby’s sleep pattern?
Till next time, much love my lovelies.