You’ve given them life, love, and security, and how does your newborn repay you? They refuse to sleep.
Don’t worry. It’s nothing personal.
Newborn babies lack an understanding of day and night, making them sleep at random hours. Their tiny stomachs can’t hold enough formula or milk yet, so their hunger wakes them often.
God forbid you to try and “tire them out” during the day by keeping them up! As you’ve probably guessed, overtired infants become more energetic, making it increasingly difficult to put them to bed.
So how do you put a crying, hungry, tireless newborn baby to bed when they’re not tired?
Continue reading to master the art of putting your newborn to bed!
Before ruling your newborn’s circadian rhythm, you must understand the differences between your and your baby’s bedtimes.
On average, 3-month-old babies generally have a bedtime of 9 pm. This time might sound late to you, but it’s normal for newborns who haven’t adjusted to a regular sleep schedule. Researchers found that babies who are put to bed before 9 pm sleep for more extended periods than those placed to bed after 9 pm.
Some newborns around 2-3 months old may sleep “through the night,” meaning 5-6 hours, and some babies don’t
Newborn babies should receive around 14-17 hours of sleep every 24 hours. Since new babies have small stomachs, they wake every 2-3 hours to eat. Sometimes, newborns may sleep for longer periods of up to 3-4 hours which, in this case, the newborn should be woken up and fed to maintain a healthy weight.
Most newborns can feel more tired and sleep more easily if you lay them down before they’re tired, meanwhile giving them attention while you wait for the sleepiness to kick in.
When you’ve tried everything, and still nothing works, consider the common signs that your newborn’s bedtime is off.
Your newborn’s bedtime might be too early if they consistently fight sleep for 30-60 minutes, show no sign of tiredness before bed, or repeatedly wake up in the middle of the night. To fix a bedtime that’s too early, consider moving the routine 15 minutes later every two to three nights.
Contrastingly, your newborn’s bedtime may be too late if they also fight sleeping for 30-60 minutes, they’re increasingly moody and fall asleep in the stroller or car, they nap for more than two hours, and they’re clearly overtired. To fix a bedtime that’s too late, start putting your newborn to sleep earlier every night.
Putting your newborn to sleep is not an exact science since every baby is different. With perseverance, grit, and flexibility, you can effectively help your newborn sleep!
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Tips To Help Your Newborn Sleep
The first few weeks and months after bringing your newborn home don’t have to be hell on earth! Knowing the basics of how babies should sleep is a no-brainer, but learning infant sleeping tips and tricks to help you along the way can make it that much easier!
After coming home from the hospital, many parents will move their newborn’s sleeping quarters (crib, bassinet, playpen, etc.) into their bedroom to make getting up and watching the baby throughout the night easier. This tactic works great, just as long as you don’t bring the baby inside the bed with you! Sharing your bed with your newborn opens up potential risks for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and other sleep-related health hazards.
Here is a quick review of other recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment:
Lay your newborn on its back to sleep to prevent the risk of SIDS
Have a flat and firm sleep surface for your baby, covering the mattress with a snug sheet
Keep toys, pillows, unfitted sheets, and blankets out of the newborn’s sleeping area
To prevent overheating while sleeping, dress your newborn appropriately and don’t cover their head
Suggest a pacifier to your newborn at bedtime but don’t enforce it.
Ensure there are no hazards your baby could reach from their bed, like pictures, electrical wires, ribbons, ties, drapes, window blind cords, etc.
Now that we’ve reviewed the basics, let’s move on to the tips and tricks for getting your newborn to sleep!
First, it’s essential to understand that babies have their own schedules. However, throughout the first few weeks and months, you and your baby will create a routine that you can work from to establish a sleep schedule.
The first fourteen weeks of your newborn’s life are often referred to as the “fourth trimester.” This fourth trimester period explains why it takes your baby a few weeks to sleep regularly because your baby still doesn’t understand night vs. day.
If you want to get your newborn to sleep quicker, one of the best ways is to replicate life in the womb for them. You can do this by swaddling them, offering them things to suck on like pacifiers, implementing white noise, and rocking them before bedtime.
The next tip to helping your baby sleep is acclimating them to night and day. During the day, keep the home at average brightness and noise levels. However, it’s vital to soften the environment when night rolls around by lowering the house’s lights, noise, and energy and making the newborn’s room super dark. Establishing differences between the day and night hours will help your newborn form a sleep schedule over time.
After you get past the first four weeks, your baby routine becomes more effortless. Throughout the first and second months of your newborn’s life, you pick up cues about when to feed them, when they’re tired, and when they want your attention. With time, you can adjust your routines by putting them down for naps at certain times, feeding them at exact times, and putting them to sleep.
A final tip is to be flexible! You will have good days and bad. Maybe you can get your baby to sleep regularly soon, but sleep schedules can be disrupted by traveling, sickness, or even growth spurts, so flexibility is essential!
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It’s Go Time!
Now that we’ve covered the basics of newborn bedtimes and the tips for putting a newborn down, you’re ready to master your baby’s sleep schedule!
Parenthood isn’t easy for anyone, but you can do just about anything with a few tricks and some helping hands.
Don’t forget to enjoy the journey and appreciate the calm amongst the chaos!Related: How to Dream Feed: Better than a Lullaby