New baby? Ways to get him/her to sleep longer so you can too
The phrase 'sleeping like a baby' refers to enjoying an entirely relaxed, deep sleep. But what that phrase doesn't tell you — and what new parents quickly find out — sleeping like a baby may also mean sleeping in very short spans at a time.
According to Nemours, a leading pediatric health system, newborns generally sleep in spans of three to four hours at a time, and it can often be even shorter than that. Parents too may find themselves sleeping for only three to four hours at a time while spending long, restless nights caring for their newborn.
Parents, here are six tips to help maximize your child’s sleeping time and in turn help you to sleep better and longer.
Develop a routine.
How and when you sleep is based largely on routine and the habits that your body is used too, and babies are no different. Pick an activity such as bathing or reading to do before bed, and over time your baby will begin to associate this activity with sleep. Also, ensure that your baby is going to bed in the same spot every night. Don't move the crib back and forth from your room to their room or put them to sleep in another area. This allows the baby to associate one spot with sleep, and can also help to develop better long-term sleeping habits.
Keep days bright and nights dark.
While it may be tempting to shut the blinds and give your baby a dark environment for their daytime naps, it's best to keep the sunlight shining. By keeping it dark all the time, the newborn will not easily learn the difference between day and night and getting more sleep at night will continue to be difficult. The same concept goes for nighttime; when caring for your baby at night keep the lights as dim as possible. Also avoid the urge to play with or talk to your baby at night. This further enforces the idea that nighttime is for sleeping.
When babies are in the womb, they are constantly surrounded by white noise, such as the sound of their mother's heartbeat. So it's no wonder why, once outside the womb, they continue to find steady, monotonous sounds comforting. Try a white noise CD or other white noise sounds to help your baby stay asleep.
Just as white noise does, swaddling can help to create the feeling of the mother's womb. When swaddling, or wrapping in a blanket, particular caution should be taken that it is done properly and doesn't interfere with the baby's breathing. If it is done properly it not only provides comfort to the newborn, it restricts movements of the baby’s limbs and can help him or her from startling awake.
The infant's bed should be kept relatively warm. Putting a baby on cold sheets or a cold mattress can make falling asleep even more difficult. It's also important to keep the room at a comfortable temperature for the baby, about 70 degrees, according to Parents.com. Parents.com also recommends a humidity of about 50 percent in the baby's room. If the air is too dry, it can cause a stuffy nose and less comfortable sleep for your baby.
These trying nights don't last forever. Savor the time with your newborn and follow these sleeping tips. By two months of age most babies will be sleeping through the night, and which means you might be too!