The first few months of new parent life can be magical...as well as being slightly overwhelming! Top of many parent’s lists when it comes to seeking advice is sleep. How to help your newborn to sleep; how much should they be sleeping; and how can you catch a few extra winks yourself?
We may not have all the answers (trust us, we wish we did!). Instead, here are a few of our top tips on helping your newborn to sleep better.
How much sleep does my newborn need?
The old adage “sleep when your baby sleeps” is a popular saying for a reason: newborn sleep habits are very different to our own, and while your baby adjusts to a regular sleep pattern, they can be a little all over the place.
The amount of sleep your newborn will get varies from baby to baby - and can range from 8 to 20 hours a day. This is very unlikely to be all at the same time! Newborns tend to sleep in shorter stretches, and while some are more than happy to sleep through the night, for many this won't be the case. It’s important to remember that every baby is different, and if you’re concerned it is always best to seek professional advice.
So, how can I help my newborn to sleep better?
If your newborn is showing signs of feeling sleepy, it’s time to let them do just that: sleep! If they’ve been awake for a little while, and become quiet and still, it’s time to get them to bed.
Don’t delay, as the next step after this is over tiredness, including eye rubbing, yawning and crying - and with this, they’re much less likely to settle down and drift off to the land of nod.
It can be tempting to keep your newborn awake during the day and ignore signs of tiredness, in the hope that they will sleep for longer at night. This is a big no no - instead, your baby will become overstimulated and harder to get to sleep. Exactly the opposite of what you’re hoping for!
Remember that newborns need quite a bit of sleep, so it’s totally natural that they’ll fit a lot of this into daytime naps. Rather than restricting daytime snoozing, instead you should aim to make daytime naps seem different from nighttime naps - which leads us into our next piece of advice.
While to us, the difference between night and day is clear, for a newborn baby this isn’t the case at all.
The sooner your baby learns the difference, the better! The aim here is to help them learn that night time is sleep time. That’s not to say you should stop them from sleeping during the day - babies need a lot of sleep, including during daylight hours. However, their routine should differ depending on the time of day.
During the day, open the curtains and keep the light bright; play games with them; take them out; and generally get them involved in the hustle and bustle of daily life. When they’re sleeping, don’t worry too much about being quiet or turning the lights down - this is a day time nap, after all.
When night time comes, it’s time to dim the lights; keep a calm and quiet environment; and avoid playing with your baby. Gradually, with time, they will develop their own internal body clock - and the difference between night and day will become as clear as, well, night and day!
Leading on from helping your newborn to learn the difference between night and day, maintaining a consistent bedtime routine is a great way to help them begin to understand when it’s time to go to sleep.
Whether it's through giving them a bath, reading a bedtime story, singing a lullaby, or offering a feed, maintaining a consistent bedtime routine which remains the same every evening will help your baby to recognise and understand the cues that it’s time to settle and go to sleep.
Make sure your newborn is fed and freshly changed before bedtime too, to give them the best chance of sleeping for longer.
Just as adults struggle to sleep in a room which is too hot or too cold, so too will your newborn. Around 16-20 degrees celsius is a good temperature for a baby’s room, and as you will be sleeping in the same room as your newborn, a helpful guide can be to consider if the room is a comfortable temperature for you.
If you’re too hot or too cold, chances are your baby is too.
For the first six months of their life, your newborn baby should sleep in the same room as you in their own sleeping space - that could be a crib, cot beds or moses basket. The latter is a great choice for many parents due to its smaller size, which means it takes up less space in your bedroom.
Their smaller size can also be better for parents who feel a cot is too big for their tiny bundle of joy; it also means that they can be carried from room to room, so your baby can nap comfortably wherever you are.
Our extensive collection of palm and wicker Moses Baskets were designed and made in Britain, with your baby’s safety and comfort in mind; and come complete with a firm mattress to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember than every baby is different. What works for one may not help another; and each newborn will have their own sleeping habits. Avoid comparing your baby’s sleeping patterns to those of another. You’re doing a wonderful job!
For all kinds of newborn inspiration, you can trust Clair De Lune for all your nursery furniture and newborn sleep accessories.