Every newborn baby is different, so fussiness regarding sleeping time will manifest in different ways. But there are some general rules of thumb to help parents navigate these new realities and challenges.
Sound sleep is necessary if we want our babies to grow up strong and healthy. Here are some practical tips for ensuring your newborn gets the best kind of sleep every day.
Make sure the room temperature is comfortable.
Regardless of which state you live in, you have to ensure that your HVAC system is maintained at all times. Doing so can help you have the necessary heating or cooling, depending on the season. Before summer comes, have your AC repaired or maintained immediately so that it’s ready for the hotter months.
As the warmer season comes to a close, you also want to make sure that your home is adequately insulated and that your home’s heating systems are ready to warm up your home for fall and winter. Experts recommend that your nursery’s temperature be between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Maintain a quiet and calm atmosphere at night
This may seem like obvious advice, but parents usually only make a point to keep everything low-key and hush-hush when they’re already trying to put the baby to sleep. Why not make this a habit as soon as night falls? You often have something essential to do with the baby, whether feeding or changing them.
If so, make it a point to keep everything and everyone at home as quiet as possible as soon as evening comes. Keep the lighting low as well. It will help your baby’s body and circadian rhythm adjust to the darkness outside. It can also condition them that it’s time to relax as soon as the night falls.
Avoid over-bundling your baby.
Using too many clothes and blankets for your baby can increase their risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Dress them in lighter clothing and make sure the temperature is comfortable for you as an adult. Before you leave your baby for the night, watch out for symptoms of overheating, such as their skin feeling hot to the touch or sweating.
Don’t underestimate the power of routine.
Like adults, babies also take cues from their environment to know when to go to bed. Aside from dimming the lights and keeping the room quiet, you can also incorporate other types of calming rituals, like lullabies and softly spoken fairy tales. On the flip side, you also want them to associate daytime with energy and accept that it’s time to start their day. Gently expose them to bright light in the morning to help this process along.
When it comes to creating a routine, being consistent is vital. So ensure that you keep the same activities in the same order every night and every morning. This way, your baby can be conditioned to expect these routines.
Don’t be too quick to respond to their fussiness.
If you hear your baby suddenly turning or crying, wait a few minutes to see if they can fall back asleep on their own without your help. If they continue to call after a minute, don’t be too quick to turn on the light. Could you pick them up or play with them a little?
If they continue to be frantic even after you’ve tried everything to put them back to sleep, check if there’s anything else they need or want. They might be hungry or wet, but they might also need to use some energy.
Establish an early bedtime
A healthy routine is not the only thing needed to help your baby gain sound sleep; the timing also needs to be perfect. This is because when babies reach eight weeks, they have a rise in melatonin, the hormone responsible for making people sleepy or tired. When you keep your baby up too late, they will be overstimulated, making it harder for them to sleep.
Studies show that melatonin levels start to rise when the sun goes down, but sunsets happen differently during the various seasons. The rule of thumb is to close the drapes regardless of whether the sun is starting to go down. Remember to stick to the clock instead of the light.
Helping our babies gain sound sleep will take a lot of hard work, as is everything in parenting. But all the sacrifices are ultimately worth it because they will help our children grow up as strong and healthy as they can be.