Despite the fact that newborn babies sleep an average of 18 hours a day, be prepared to be one tired mama! Newborn babies sleep a lot, however usually no longer than three or four hours at a time. But rest assured, we have five helpful tips you can use to help foster healthy sleeping habits for your baby.
Set up a pre-sleep soothing routine
Make sure not to get your baby excited with playful behavior prior to bedtime. Try to figure out what activity relaxes your baby best whether it is bath time, softly singing, or a bed time massage. Studies conducted at the Touch Research Institutes at the University Of Miami School Of Medicine found that newborns that had a bedtime massage were able to fall asleep easier and slept longer through the night. It is recommended to give a 15 minute massage using slow repetitive movements with moderate pressure. It you choose to incorporate oils into the massage be sure that they are baby-safe.
Swaddle your baby
Newborns possess startle reflexes (also known as Moro reflex) that are most prominent from birth to about 4-5 months old. This reflex makes the baby feel as if they are falling. This can result in your baby flailing and going from sound asleep to complete hysterics in a blink of an eye. Some believe that newborns inherently posses this reflex as an attempt for them to begin to protect themselves. Keeping a tight swaddle well lesson the occurrence of this reflex as your baby with feel more secure.
Feed your newborn right before you go to bed. This should prevent your baby from waking you up shortly after falling asleep. Newborns that are fed right before bed typically can sleep 4-5 hours stretches by week 3.
Newborns often suffer from day/night confusion. Help regulate your baby’s biological clock by keeping days bright and active and nights dark and quiet. Make use of dimmers. Dimmers can be found at most hardware stores. When the sun starts to set, lower the dimmers to reflect the loss of light. When your baby is napping during the day keep the house well lit.
Breast milk bottle feeding
If you are exclusively breast feeding you should still get your baby used to drinking from a bottle. This will allow you and your partner to take turns waking up to feed your baby. A great way to build a milk supply is by using an electric breast pump.
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