You may be expecting your newborn any day now or you're little one is here and you've been up all night feeding and cradling them. Whether you're about to pop and you'd like a heads up on what's to come or you're wondering how you're going to make it through the day - we're here to help!
First things first, you have to know that newborn's don't know the difference between night and day. They can sometimes sleep for long periods during the day and then be awake for hours in the middle of the night! Generally speaking newborns sleep for up to 18 hours a day; and they wake up because they need a feed on average every 4 hours.
There's no set rule on when and how long your little one will sleep as they're all different, if you're baby does wake often in the night, just make sure that you can rest during the day and look after yourself too (while they rest).
To help your baby feel snug and secure, recreate the conditions of the womb. The easiest way to do this, and practised for hundreds of years, is swaddling.
Our Cellular Cotton Blankets are perfect for this as they're thin and lightweight. If you've never swaddled before, practise on a teddy bear - we found this Youtube video that's great to help you out before you become a pro!
Another way you can replicate the cosy feel of the womb is a sleeping bag or 'sleep sack'. These are great as they help your little one get a restful sleep AND during night feeds & changes they don't need to be removed from the sleeping bag.
It will make a great addition to the sleep routine, communicating that sleep time is near helping your baby to learn how to self-soothe as they doze off. Just note that bedtime routines probably won't make much difference to your baby's sleep pattern until 3-6 months but we'll come on to that.
To settle your baby once they're down in the Moses basket is to put a hand on their stomach and a hand on their forehead, then make a 'shh' sound. When your little one stops crying, be quiet immediately and remove your hands. Your baby will learn that you're there for them when they're upset, but it will also encourage them to self-soothe and get themselves to sleep.
An important step to take in the first few months is to emphasise the difference between night and day.
This can be done by keeping the room dimly lit and quiet during the night, likewise when you need to feed or change them respond to them quickly, keep the room dimly lit and stay quiet. It's also helpful to keep night feeds different to daytime feeds so it may help to feed in the bedroom at night and interact & play with them more during the day.
Here's a quick bedtime checklist so you always put your baby to sleep safely:
- Always place your baby on their back to sleep, either in a Moses basket, crib or cot in the same room as you for the first 6 months
- Place your baby to sleep in the 'feet to foot' position, with their feet at the bottom of the Moses basket or cot
- Keep your little one's head uncovered. If you're using a blanket it should be tucked under their shoulders
- Don't let your baby get too hot or cold, they sleep best in rooms between 16-20 degrees.
For NHS guidance click here.