Your newborn’s sleep - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Your newborn’s sleep

Nothing can prepare us for the exhaustion that sets in soon after our baby’s birth. The first week, we tolerate and cope with the lack of sleep, but ten nights of broken sleep down the line, most parents are feeling exhausted and the focus becomes on the big question: “When will my baby sleep through the night?” Sr Ann Richardson’s, co-author of Baby Sense and Sleep Sense, gives advice on establishing good sleep habits from the beginning. What to expect In the early days, most babies wake two to four hourly for feeds at night, especially breastfed babies. This gradually reduces and within a few weeks (usually at around 6 weeks of age) your newborn should start to stretch for one long stretch of five or more hours at night. This is usually the late evening feed (around 10 pm). Don’t be tempted to wake your baby up to feed at this time in the hope that it will do away with the 2 am feed, it won’t work! By the time your baby is around 3 months of age, she should be able to go for up to 8 hours at night without needing a feed. In time your baby will drop most night feeds but many babies only start sleeping through the night when they are on a full solids diet. So for three to six months one night feed may well be the reality - this feed is usually at around 2 or 3 am. Day-Night reversal There are many other issues that may concern us with our newborn’s sleep. One common concern with newborns is whether they have their day and night muddled up. In the dark world of the womb, little differentiates day from night, with the exception of how much mom is moving. And since movement is lulling, babies may in fact sleep more during the day and be more wakeful when mom goes to bed. Once they are born it is important that babies begin to differentiate day and night. Since newborns sleep almost constantly between feeds they will not be wakeful either day or night in the early days, however we want to encourage our babies to feed more frequently during the day and begin to stretch feeds at night. The way to do this is to feed on demand in the early days, but if she is tending to sleep her days away, and wakes frequently in the night for feeds, wake her to feed three to four hourly during the day. If your baby is gaining weight and is a healthy baby without concerns for her growth, leave her to wake you at night. By doing this, within a few weeks your baby should be waking frequently for feeds during the day and sleeping for at least one longer stretch at night. Too sleepy to feed well Another cause for concern in the early days is the baby who is too sleepy to feed well. If your baby is not waking himself for feeds at all during the day or night and sleeps through feeds, you may want to have your clinic sister check him for jaundice or lethargy due to low sugar levels (especially in the first few weeks). It is however very common for a normal, healthy baby to be sleepy for feeds in the early days. To deal with this, wake your baby fully from sleep by changing his nappy before the feed. Then don’t swaddle your baby for the feed, leave him uncovered and even leave his feet out of the babygro to keep him slightly cool and less comfortable. Another trick is to wet a piece of cotton wool and stroke his cheek or feet intermittently to remind him to keep sucking well. Difficulty falling asleep Your baby may develop a problem falling asleep between week two and three. Your previously sleepy baby is now more wakeful and getting him to sleep becomes an issue. This results in an overtired baby, which is one of the most common causes of crying in the first twelve weeks and can contribute to bad sleep habits later on. To help your baby fall asleep, watch how long he is awake. An overtired baby will fight sleep. The young baby under 6 weeks can only cope with an hour of awake time. So watch your clock and get your baby back to bed within an hour of waking. This generally only gives time for a feed and nappy change before your baby goes back down. Preventing habits from developing If your baby starts crying after being put down and you have fed him and know he is comfortable, do not assume winds are the cause of this disruption. It is more likely that he is fighting sleep. In this case picking him up will probably lead to more crying in the end. By fiddling with your baby and burping him, carrying him and fussing over him you could well end up with ‘colic’-like irritability. Instead, when your baby cries, listen to him for 2 - 5 minutes to see if he can settle himself. If he continues to cry, then sit next to your baby’s cot and hold his hands still and ‘shsh’ him with firm, deep pressure on his back. Your baby’s little hands are often flying around and irritating or scratching him. Swaddle him, offer him his hands or a dummy to suck and sit still, holding your baby’s hands until he is settled and falls asleep. In this way without over stimulating your baby, you will calm him and help him fall asleep without setting up habits that will be hard to break, such as rocking your baby to sleep. Night feeds for good sleep habits Finally, to set the stage for good sleep habits and improve your baby’s sleep from one week to the next, keep night feeds strictly business affairs. This means not interacting with your baby at night other than feeding. Don’t wake your baby for feeds – take his lead for waking at night. This allows your baby to establish natural sleep cycles. (your clinic sister will tell you whether this is OK depending on his weight) Don’t smile or talk to your baby at night – keep these happy interactions for day light hours Feed in semi-darkness – use a dimmer or a passage light instead of the bright bedroom light Don’t change your baby’s nappy – buy the best nappy you can afford for night time and leave it on all night unless it is clearly dirty with poo or leaking. The new generation gel nappies are fine to leave on all night as they soak up all the urine and the bottom remains dry In the very early days (the first 6 weeks), do not ‘dummy’ your baby in an attempt to decrease night feeds. Rather feed him when he wakes for feeds at night, if more than two and a half hours have passed since the last feed. Once he is over 6 weeks old, and is healthy and thriving, you can try stretching him with a dummy or some cooled, boiled water should he be requiring frequent night feeding (less than 2 ½ hourly). Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of exhaustion and desperation as sleep deprivation sets in; just know these early nights of frequent wakings are short lived. Enjoy and rejoice in your little one during his awake hours, and cherish every little bit of sleep you can grab! By Ann Richardson
My newborn baby won’t sleep - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

My newborn baby won’t sleep

Many of us recall saying “My baby is an angel – she just feeds and sleeps and really is a very good baby.” Then at two weeks old, we wish we hadn’t been quite so public with this piece of news. For many babies the two-week mark ushers in the challenge of sleeplessness. There are a million theories on why things change at two weeks but the reality is that it does. You will find your baby is harder to get to sleep and will be a little more fractious. Some babies even develop colic (3 hours of crying at a stretch usually in the early evening). What we do know is that if you can get your little one to sleep well in the day, you will avert colic to a great degree. Let’s look at 5 reasons your newborn may fight sleep Over tiredness Once your newborn becomes more awake and alert, it may seem that she is awake most of the day and you cannot get her to sleep. This becomes a vicious cycle – the less she sleeps, the more she will resist falling asleep. Make sure she is put back to sleep every 45 minutes during the day. Time this from the time she wakes until you put her down for the next sleep. All care giving, playtime and feeds should happen during her ‘awake time’. Her ‘awake time’ will increase incrementally through her life until as a preschooler she will be able to stay awake from morning to night. Sensory overload The immature nervous system of the newborn can only cope with limited stimulation. Just being awake is stimulation enough as your baby takes in all the new sounds, sights and smells of her world. If you focus heavily on stimulating your baby every waking hour, you will find she becomes fractious and resists falling asleep. The average newborn can only cope with about 10 minutes of stimulation, such as being under a mobile. Watch your newborns’ signals and when she turns away from a stimulus, remove it from her line of vision and just let her be or help her to fall asleep if her ‘awake time’ is up. Hunger A hungry baby will wake at the end of a sleep cycle and frequently at night. Since newborns need to feed frequently and also go through growth spurts, try to feed your baby on demand during the day and wake her from day sleeps if she is not feeding frequently enough during the day (at least 3 hourly – if she sleeps for monger during the day, she will need to fill on with night feeds) Reflux If your baby is really not settled day and night and is waking very frequently during the night, rule out reflux as this is a common cause of discomfort in new babies which can impact negatively on sleep. Day & Night muddled up Some newborns take a while to differentiate day and night. For these babies, keep day interactions more animated and alerting and keep night feeds very calm with as little interactions such as changing nappies as possible. Wake your baby to feed if she sleeps for longer than 3 hours at a stretch during the day. Most importantly, keep a level head – your newborn will have ‘off’ days – when she fights sleep and is fractious. Don’t despair. Just start each awake time as a new one – aiming to get her back to sleep within an hour but accepting that nothing is a rule with little ones. Cherish those newborn days they go by in a flash. By Meg Faure
5 Sleep tips for newborns - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

5 Sleep tips for newborns

Have appropriate expectations: Expect your newborn to sleep most of the day and at night or even be more wakeful at night, until around two weeks of age. At about two weeks, your baby will become more wakeful and more difficult to get to sleep. Establish day versus night: To help your baby to be more awake in the day wake him to feed at least three and a half to four hourly. To help him sleep more at night keep the room dimmed and interactions calm between 6pm and 6am. Watch your newborn’s awake times: Your newborn baby can only be awake for 45- 50 minutes between sleeps during the day for the first few weeks. This is a very short period and does not allow time for him to become over stimulated. Use the sensory input to prevent catnaps: Swaddle your newborn for all sleeps and play white noise. Both of these sensory inputs are soothing for newborns and result in longer stretches of sleep and less catnapping Sleep when your baby sleeps: The early days are an emotional rollercoaster and if you are sleep deprived, will be more difficult to manage. Sleep when your baby sleeps, go to bed early and use Rescue Remedy to fall asleep quickly after a night feed.
Three tips for your newborn baby’s sleep - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Three tips for your newborn baby’s sleep

The newborn stage can be a difficult time as you get to know your baby and understand her newborn needs. Newborn sleep is one of the areas that can pose a challenge. Trials you may encounter include - Catnapping – staying asleep for short periods and waking just 15 minutes after settling to sleep. Unsettled early evenings - refusing to fall asleep and exhibiting colicky symptoms. Day and night reversal - sleeping better in the day than at night. There are three simple tips you can use to cope with these common challenges: Swaddle your baby to prevent the startle reflex from waking her when asleep. Swaddling not only mimics the calm world of the womb but also restrains her arms against the hypnogogic startle – a leading cause of wakings shortly after falling asleep. Try the heart shape designed Baby Sense Cuddlewrap for optimal swaddling with ease. Watch your baby’s awake times to ensure she is not overtired in the evenings. Just 45 – 60 minutes of ‘awake time’ is optimal before going down to sleep in the evening. White noise, such as the Baby Sense Womb to World CD/MP3, will enhance sleep at night as it re-enacts the womb world where your baby slept very well. Using simple strategies, you will find your baby sleeps better, making your life a whole lot easier.

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