The first few months of a baby’s life can seem incredibly overwhelming for parents – especially when sleep, that most precious commodity you took for granted before giving birth, is in short supply. With World Sleep Day, a campaign that aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society (www.worldsleepday.org) coming up on March 19th, Hippychick is here to help with 11 tips on how you and your newborn can get a bit more of that much needed shut-eye.
- Sleeping in Sync
Sleep when your baby sleeps. It may sound fairly obvious but it’s the oldest trick in the book for a reason. Tempting as it is to wash dishes and do laundry when your baby is asleep, accept that once your baby is up you’ll have to be too, so alleviating tiredness takes priority – catch forty winks whilst your baby does.
- Twilight Not Bright Lights
When you get up in a sleepy stupor for a night-time feed, don’t find yourself fumbling for the main light switch. Buy an LED night light that is battery operated (so you can place it appropriately) and turns on with a simple touch or is even sound activated. The soft glow acts as a comfort for baby and also helps to reduce the ‘wake-up’ signals in baby and parent’s brains, making it easier for you both to drift back off post-feed.
- Spotting Signs of Sleepiness
Tuning in to your baby’s natural biological rhythms may sound challenging but there are some simple cues to look out for; when your baby is quiet, still, disinterested in their surroundings or gazing off into space. This indicates a peak in melatonin (the powerful sleep hormone) and means it’s time to go to bed. Each baby is different so don’t be worried if it takes a while to learn your newborn’s tell-tale signs, but once you do be sure to look out for them.
- Keeping it Cool
It is widely accepted that babies, like their parents, sleep better in a cool room so it’s always a good idea to double check the thermostat temperature isn’t set too high (in most cases between 20-22°C).
- Warm and Snug
However, whilst we like our bedrooms to be cool, the toasty warmth of a hot water bottle as we curl up under the covers is often a much welcome comfort. Putting a hot water bottle in the bassinet or crib will warm it up and this warmth sometimes makes the transfer from your arms to bed a little easier. (Don’t forget to take out the hot water bottle before the baby is put down!)
- Infant Massage Strokes
Some parents swear by the calming effects of gently stroking their baby’s face and body. Even the gentle swiping of a soft tissue over baby’s face to help them relax and drift off has been said to help – whatever works!
- Mastering a Bedtime Routine
A consistent bedtime routine can work wonders. The order of events is up to you but it usually involved the four B’s: bath, book, bottle, bed. You might find that having a ‘time for bed now’ routine also helps: first we close the blinds, then we turn the light out, then we sway gently by the crib, now we lay down.
- Complete and Total Darkness
Whilst this isn’t necessarily essential in the newborn stage, investing in blackout curtains or making your own will be so worth it down the line for both you and your baby.
- Snoozing on the Move
Try a motion nap! Use a carrier or a pram/pushchair. Many babies love motion naps and you can benefit from this too by going on a family walk or just getting out of the house for a breath of fresh air. Make the most of your baby snoozing on the move and don’t worry that they’ll never sleep in their crib – embrace the versatile napping stage!
10.Say Yes to a Helping Hand
Accept any help you can get. Whether it’s a family member or a friend, the people around you are offering because they know how tiring the addition of a newborn can be. Even if it’s just an hour, they’ll cherish any time spent with your little one, so take the opportunity to give yourself a nap – sleep is not a luxury it’s a necessity!
11.Going back to the Womb
There are a number of effective products in the marketplace which are proven to aid infant sleep (and thus yours, too). MyHummy is one such invention – a cuddly bear with a heart shaped sensor which mimics the white noise that babies hear in the womb. The sensor will ensure the reassuring sounds start up automatically when the baby stirs and will stop when the baby enters deep sleep. Available from myHummy Daddy Bear Sleep Aid – Hippychick
Do you have any sleep-inducing tips for sleep-deprived parents? Please share them with our community by posting them on our social channels.