During the first few months of your baby’s
life, you may not get a ton of sleep. Your child will wake up at all hours
during the night and you may very quickly become overwhelmed. The sad truth is;
most babies are unable to develop regular sleep habits until they are roughly 8
While these first few months will surely be
challenging, there are a few tricks that you can use to make life a little
easier. Knowing when your baby is tired and when to put them in their crib for
a nap is crucial to establishing healthy sleep habits.
that Your Baby is Tired
During the first few weeks, your newborn
will only be able to stay awake for a couple of hours at a time. This makes it
very important for you to be able to notice the sweet spot. If you keep your child
up too long, they will be over-tired and will have difficulties falling asleep,
but if you don’t keep them up long enough, they won’t be tired to begin with.
Your baby will show you that they are tired
- Rubbing their eyes
- Pulling on their ears
- Developing faint dark circles
around the eyes
- Having heavy eye lids (trouble
keeping eyes open)
If you notice any of these signs, you
should put your newborn into their crib. Chances are, they will drift off to
sleep within minutes. If you do put them in their crib and they still don’t
fall asleep, then take them out after 10 to 15 minutes and wait for more signs
before trying again.
them the Difference Between Night and Day
One of the most important things about
establishing a healthy sleep routine is knowing the difference between night
and day. Babies cannot tell the difference, so it’s up to you to establish a
routine early on.
In order to do so, you should act
differently during the day than you do at night. Play with them and be more “active”
during the day. Open the curtains to let the sun come in and have some music
playing or the television on during the day. This will create a sense of
activeness that shows your baby that it’s okay to be active, louder and more
alert during the daytime.
Likewise, during the night you should close
the curtains, dim the lights and talk less while feeding them. Try to minimize
noise and keep things as calm as possible. With time, this will allow your
newborn to figure out that night time is associated with quiet time and daytime
is the best time to play and be active.
Forget About Yourself
One thing most new parents forget to take
care of is their own sleep routine. While you won’t be able to get 8 hours of
sleep in a row, you still need to get plenty of sleep. As tempting as it seems
to do laundry or wash dirty dishes while your little one is asleep, you should
use that time to rest.
Sleeping when your child sleeps is the best
way to get rest during the first 2 to 3 months. During the night, it’s great to
take shifts with the child’s father. Most newborns will be awake for roughly 2
to 3 hours then sleep for 2 to 3 hours. So by taking shifts, you can easily
sleep 4 to 6 hours at a time during the night.
Cautious of Bad Habits
It’s important to not take “short cuts”
during the first few weeks. Rocking your child to sleep every night as a
newborn may seem like a great idea at first, but if you get your child into
this habit, they will expect it later on as well and may have more difficulties
falling asleep on their own as they grow older.
The best way to approach this is to place
your child in their crib when they display signs of sleepiness. This gets them
used to falling asleep on their own and will certainly make your life a lot
easier as they grow older.