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7 Gentle, Natural Ways To Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Better

 
7 Ways To Gently Naturally Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep

Fact: newborns and young infants aren’t usually the best sleepers, what with the waking every few hours to eat and all. That’s why the phrase ‘sleeping like a baby’ is so misleading, in my opinion! ;)

Understandably, parents often become very interested in how to help their newborns sleep pretty soon after delivery. The thing is, newborns and young babies aren’t ready for sleep coaching (we usually advise waiting on that until baby is at least 4 months old and have moved past the 4 month sleep regression).

Don’t let that make you feel hopeless, though – just because your newborn is too young for sleep coaching doesn’t mean you’re destined to endure months of sleeplessness. There are steps you can take to naturally, gently encourage your newborn to sleep better.

And that’s what we’re looking at today! Below are 7 ways you can naturally and gently promote better sleep for your newborn. Let’s take a look!

7 Ways To Gently, Naturally Encourage Your Newborn Baby To Sleep Better (and Longer!)

  1. Go for a walk with your baby. Turns out your grandmother was right – fresh air really does help children sleep better! Once your baby is a few weeks old, you can start incorporating a daily walk, or some time spent sitting outdoors. This will go far towards helping improve sleep at night and during naps.
  2. Give infant massage a try. We’ve written before about the benefits of infant massage in improving baby sleep, but we’ll say it again – infant massage is an easy and natural way to help your newborn relax, which in turn can help promote better sleep. Not only that, but infant massage can improve digestion (great for colicky newborns), strengthen the mother-child bond, and even aid growth and development!
  3. Keep days bright and nights dark. Newborns aren’t born knowing that days are for playing and nights are for sleeping – in fact, many newborns have their days and nights mixed up, and sleep for long stretches during the day while being up every hour at night! You can gently, naturally correct this by making sure that your baby is exposed to sunlight during the day (not direct sunlight, but rather filtered sunlight in a bright, sunny room). In addition, work to keep nights dark – keep the room dim during diaper changes and feedings, for example. Over time, this will help re-set your newborn’s circadian rhythms and guide her towards sleeping long stretches at night and napping during the day.
  4. Cluster feed in the evening. It’s perfectly natural for newborns and young babies to ‘tank up’ on feeds in the evening, and to feed more frequently than they do during the the rest of the day. While cluster feeding can feel overwhelming for mom and dad (especially for mom, if she’s nursing – she may feel like she needs to camp out on the couch for hours every night!), many experts agree that cluster feeding is a natural part of the newborn stage. In fact, many agree that newborns do this as a way to get in a longer stretch of sleep at night- many babies will sleep their longest stretch of the day after cluster feeding! So if you’re looking to promote longer, better nighttime sleep, cluster feeding is a good strategy.
  5. Keep baby close. We don’t mean simply holding or wearing your baby (more on that in a moment). Keep baby close at night, too – consider sharing a room with your baby, and having your baby sleep near your bed in a bassinet or small crib. There are lots of benefits to having your newborn nearby at night – it can make middle of the night feedings more convenient, for one. But research indicates that room-sharing is more than convenient; babies who room-share and sleep close to mom have actually been shown to sleep better. They tend to cry less and sleep longer. They also tend to have slightly lower rates of SIDS. For these reasons, the AAP actually recommends room-sharing as the best sleeping arrangements for babies. Of course, room-sharing isn’t for everyone; there are definite pros and cons to sharing a room with your baby. As always, we recommend you find a sleeping arrangement that works best for your unique situation.
  6. Strive for adequate daytime naps. If your newborn or young baby is up every hour, all night long, then you’ve no doubt toyed with the idea of keeping him up more during the day, in the hopes that it will encourage him to sleep better at night. Be wary of this line of thinking – generally, babies who don’t nap well during the day actually sleep worse at night, because they are overtired! Yes, it’s important that your newborn have some awake time during the day (this helps correct any newborn day/night confusion). However, your newborn’s awake time should be relatively short (no more than 45-60 minutes, generally), and your newborn should take plenty of naps during the day.
  7. Carry/wear your baby. Nothing is more soothing for baby than being held close to mom or dad. Consequently, most newborns sleep best when they are in mom’s or dad’s arms, or held snugly in a baby sling. This is especially true for colicky babies – baby wearing is a great way to soothe colic! Remember that holding your baby, or wearing her around the house, certainly are not permanent sleep solutions. Rather, these are short-term strategies that will help maximize your baby’s (and your) sleep during those first few months after birth.

Need Newborn Sleep Help? You Came To The Right Place – Check Out These Resources!

Essential Keys to Newborn SleepNeed help encouraging your newborn to sleep better, and to sleep longer stretches at night and during the day? We have a great resource designed to do just that. Check out Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep, the latest e-Book from The Baby Sleep Site®. Available in PDF format as well as a variety of e-reader formats, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is the tired parents’ #1 newborn resource. Developed by Nicole and Miriam (a lactation consultant, nurse, and Baby Sleep Site® sleep consultant), Essential Keys lays out everything you need to know about helping your baby to sleep better right from the start. It also includes information on feeding (both breast and bottle), baby communication, bonding with baby, daily routines, sample sleep schedules, and more. Download your copy today!
 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant, as well as access to ALL our newborn resources. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 

Interested in personalized, one-on-one help for your newborn? Why not consider one of our personalized sleep consulting packages? Our consultations allow you to work directly with one of our expert sleep consultants, and to get a Personalized Sleep Plan™ that will work for your family.

First, browse our extensive list of package options and select the one that looks best for your situation.
 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Have questions about how to help your newborn sleep well? Ask, and we’ll answer! Want to offer sleep tips with other parents? Share them below, in the comments section!

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What You Should Know About Newborn Baby Sleeping Patterns

Newborn Baby Sleep PatternsBefore I had children, I remember thinking (based on my very limited experience with babies!) that newborns slept all the time. Most of the newborns I’d see would be fast asleep in their strollers, in their carseats, in their slings, or in their moms’ arms, at any given time of day.

When I had a newborn of my own at home, however, I learned that my observation was only partly true. Yes, newborns do sleep a lot – but they don’t sleep for long!!

What’s that about, anyway? Why are newborns light sleepers? Why do they wake so frequently?

Why Does Your Newborn Baby Wake Frequently?

If you’ve done any reading on newborn sleep, then you know that newborns do, in fact, sleep a lot. On average, newborns sleep anywhere from 14-17 hours in a 24-hour period — that’s a lot of sleep! But here’s the thing – that sleep happens in short, 2-4 hour chunks around the clock. In this way, newborn sleep is far more fragmented than adult sleep – or even older baby and toddler sleep.

Why is newborn sleep so fragmented? Well, in part, it has to do with your newborn’s drive to eat. Remember, your newborn is growing at a phenomenal rate – she will double her birthweight in the first 4-5 months of life! It’s no wonder, then, that she needs to feed every few hours. Her tummy is small, and her calorie needs are quite high.

But hunger isn’t the only driving force behind your newborn’s frequent waking.

Your Newborn Baby’s Sleep Cycles Explained

The truth is, your newborn’s sleeping patterns are very different from yours. We adults tend to have longer sleep cycles – ours last anywhere from 90 – 100 minutes. And the majority of our sleep cycles are spent in deep sleep, with only a small percentage spent in more active, REM sleep.

But things are very different for your newborn. For one thing, your newborn’s sleep cycles are much shorter – they are only about 50 minutes long. That’s almost half as long as yours! And it’s not just sleep cycle length that’s different. Newborns spend way more time in active sleep than we adults do, and way less in deep sleep. In fact, it’s estimated that newborns spend about 75% of their sleep time in active sleep, compared to 20% for adults.

Short Cycles + Lots of Active Sleep = A Newborn Baby Who Wakes Up A Lot

Here’s how all these scientific facts fit together. It’s during the transition from one sleep cycle to the next that a person is most likely to wake up briefly. This is true for children and adults alike. If you think about it, this makes sense – you probably wake sometimes in the middle of the night, for no apparent reason, and then roll over and go back to sleep. That’s most likely because your brain was moving from one sleep cycle to the next. The same thing happens to your newborn.

But here’s the thing – your newborn goes through many more sleep cycles each night than you do. While we adults may have 4 or 5 sleep cycles in a given night, your newborn has up to twice that many. That means double the chances of waking up between cycles.

And we have to take all that active sleep into account, too. Active sleep tends to be lighter sleep – when we are in active, REM sleep, we are dreaming, and tend to stir and move more frequently. We are also much more prone to being woken up during active sleep. The same is true for your newborn – during lighter sleep, your newborn is more vulnerable to being awoken.

So when you add these two facts together – the fact that your newborn goes through many more sleep cycles each night, and the fact that newborns spend the majority of their sleep time in light, active sleep – and then you add in the round-the-clock need for food, it’s easier to understand why your newborn wakes often.

Why Are Your Newborn Baby’s Sleeping Patterns So Different?

We know the ‘what’ behind newborn sleeping patterns, but what about the why? Why do our newborns have many short sleep cycles, and why do they spend so much time in active sleep?

As it turns out, your newborn’s sleeping patterns are designed to keep your little one healthy and safe. The fact that your newborn spends lots of time in active sleep ensures that she will wake up to feed; it may also help to protect babies from SIDS. Some researchers have also indicated that the long amounts of time newborns spend in active sleep is crucial to their brain development.

What Does This Mean For You?

Well, it clearly means that if you have a sleepless newborn on your hands, that is completely normal! For the first 8-12 weeks of life, babies really do need to wake every few hours in order to eat, and they need to have more active sleep so that their brains develop normally.

But of course, the newborn stage is short-lived – by 4 months or so, most babies are ready to start having a long stretch of sleep at night. And by about 9 months of age, most babies are either sleeping through the night or are down to just one nighttime feeding. So yes – it does get better!

Don’t let all this talk about how normal night wakings are make you think that there’s nothing you can do to maximize your newborn’s nighttime sleep, however. While you can’t expect a newborn to sleep through the night, there are gentle, safe things you can do to help maximize your newborn’s sleep.

Questions about your newborn’s sleeping patterns? Tips to share on how to improve newborn sleep? Share ‘em below, in the comments!

  • Need more sleep training resources? We have a ton! Browse our list of e-books and e-book packages, designed to help your baby or toddler better sleeping and napping habits. We even have a book that’s designed just for newborns, and focuses on gentle methods to shift sleep! These are perfect solutions for parents who want to sleep train on their own, but need more information.
  • Want 5 free e-Books, plus a weekly chat with a consultant? Join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! And as a member, you have access to a once-a-week chat with one of our expert sleep consultants – ideal for those times when you need some expert advice!.
  • Need Personalized Help? For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.
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Sign Up Today for Our FREE Guide About Newborn Baby Sleep!

Free Guide to Newborn Baby Sleep
4 e-Books. 3 free guides. Over 200 blog articles. Almost 15 Tele-seminars. 9 unique sleep consultation packages for new clients. It’s safe to say that at the Baby Sleep Site®, we have A LOT of resources about baby and toddler sleep!

And guess what? We are adding even more!

Introducing Our Guide to Newborn Sleep: 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Need to Know

For the last several months, our team has been working on resources just for parents of newborns. And now, we’re thrilled to be able to offer the first of those resources – our FREE guide on newborn sleep, 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Must Know. These resources are perfect for…

  • …pregnant moms and their partners, who want to prepare for the realities of newborn sleep before the baby arrives.
  • …new, first-time parents of newborns who feel overwhelmed by their babies’ sleeping patterns and need practical answers to their urgent sleep-related questions.
  • …experienced parents of newborns who have had challenging sleepers before, and who want to avoid chronic sleep deprivation this time around.
  • …experienced parents who feel like they need a ‘refresher course’ in the basics of newborn sleep.

This straightforward, practical guide can easily be read in one sitting – perfect for exhausted parents! It highlights the basics of newborn sleep, and answers parents’ most common sleep questions, including…

  • …”How much sleep does my newborn need, and how can I help him get it?”
  • …”Why doesn’t my newborn just fall asleep when she gets tired?”
  • …”Why does my newborn mix up his days and nights, and how can I solve this problem?”
  • …”What is colic, exactly, and how can I cope with it?”
  • …”How can I make sense of my newborn’s changing sleep patterns?”
  • …”What kinds of sleep and feeding routines will help maximize my newborn’s sleep?”
  • …”What techniques can I try at home to help my newborn sleep soundly at night and during naps?”

Know friends or family members who have a newborn at home, or who are expecting a baby soon? We hope you will consider referring them to the site, and encouraging them to sign up for this free guide. By signing up, they will not only have access to the free newborn sleep guide; they will also receive our weekly newsletters and blog articles, as well as additional material about newborn sleep patterns and behavior.


 

Have a newborn at home, or expecting a baby soon? We hope you will sign up today! Know friends or family members who have a new baby, or who are pregnant? Refer them to the site! Questions about the newborn free guide? Ask them below, in the comments section.

Newborn sleep presents its own unique challenges, but baby and toddler sleep can be tricky, too! Please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 (tear-free) Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. Want immediate access to all of our e-books, along with unlimited access to tele-seminars, member chats, and case studies? Consider becoming a site member. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.

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Dr. Sears vs. Dr. Weissbluth in an Online Chat About Your Baby’s Sleep

About a month ago Drs. Sears and Weissbluth both participated in an online chat with Chicago Tribune’s health reporter, Julie Deardorff. I think back to a few key points raised in the chat that still surprise me how disconnected doctors can be to parents. Perhaps it’s because it’s been a long time since they’ve been parents to young babies. Or, perhaps being doctors tends to give you a more scientific approach rather than a practical one. Either way, there are a few key points this article is raising to educate new parents on the topic of baby sleep.

How much is sleep really a problem for young babies?

“Dr. Bob Sears: I don’t think most parents even need to be taught. Like most aspect of parenting, the choices we make regarding sleep can be just as instinctual. Most parents and babies DON’T have sleep problems at all. The thing is, we don’t hear from those parents. We only hear from those who do have problems. In my opinion, that’s actually the minority. I think most parents just naturally learn how to help their baby sleep well and how to get a good night sleep despite having a baby.”

One of the first things Dr. Bob Sears (son of the renowned Dr. William Sears) is that he claims that those with sleep issues are really the minority and that those without sleep problems are those who don’t say anything. Quite the contrary! It’s those without sleep problems I feel have the louder voice making those of us who have sleep problems feel like we are doing something wrong. I also believe that some parents claim their baby sleeps fine to feel better about their sleep situation or they are simply tired of talking about it. I was so tired of telling people my son wouldn’t sleep, because no one had advice that helped! “Keep him up later.”, “Don’t let him nap.” That was the worst advice EVER!

Dr. Sears, I have over 100,000 visitors to this site a month that say otherwise that their baby’s sleep IS a problem. Perhaps it is technically the minority, but it’s a large number of people! And, we are only starting to scratch the surface.

Dr Sears did go on to say later that some parents don’t necessarily have perfect sleep, but they see it as what they signed up for in being a parent. To a certain extent, I believe this to be true. Our expectations make a HUGE difference in how we approach solutions to our baby’s sleep problems. One nursing mom who expects to feed her baby twice a night past a year is very different than one who believes all babies can sleep through the night without feedings by 4 months old because some of the books or doctors told her how that’s how it should be. The point here is that if you have a certain set of expectations regarding your baby’s sleep, then those will most likely influence how you approach your baby’s sleep habits.

Will teething wake your baby every 2 hours to nurse?

Later on in the chat a mom of a 5-month old said her baby was waking 10 times a night to comfort nurse back to sleep and Dr. Sears said that it sounded like teething pain. Sigh. If you’ve gotten my free baby sleep guide, you know this is due to sleep associations, not teething. I must get this question five times a day! I don’t understand how a doctor can not know this! You can read Dr. Weissbluth’s son voicing frustration on the same topic here: Weissbluth’s problem with Dr. Bob Sears.

Can transitioning a baby from co-sleeping to crib be that easy?

A worried mom asks about transitioning her baby from co-sleeping to crib and Dr. Weissbluth tells her just to do it and “not to worry.” As new parents, we do nothing but worry! If only it was that easy, Doctor. Although Dr. Weissbluth’s advice I felt was informative and practical, some of his answers were brief. Of course, answers about sleep can quickly get lengthy, which is why this is a whole website about the topic and I summarize the information in my books to keep it manageable. I don’t agree with Weissbluth on all fronts as I find a 5:30 p.m. bedtime is neither practical nor always necessary (especially since even if your baby sleeps 12 hours, this means he is waking up before dawn). The truth is that the transition from co-sleeping to a crib is often a major event for both the parent and the child, and a topic I help parents with quite often.

Why do 8-month olds wake every hour all night long?

Even later in the chat, Dr. Sears advised a parent of an exhausted 8 month old with bags under his eyes that her baby may have Sensory Processing Disorder. I yelled at the screen at that one. Again, I get new clients EVERY DAY with babies who wake every 1-2 hours (roughly every sleep cycle) because they think they need “help” back to sleep. This is nothing out of the ordinary for those of us who have had sleep issues! It is quite extreme for a doctor to suggest that a child who isn’t sleeping may have a disorder without knowing the baby’s history, personality and other information, when waking every 1-2 hours is actually quite a normal claim, in my experience.

Will cry it out cause brain damage?

I was actually pretty shocked that Dr. Sears said mild cry it out was fine, but he was more concerned about “INTENSE WEEKS” of cry it out leading to increased levels of cortisol. I wonder what his definition of cry it out would be or whether 3-4 nights of 20 minutes is okay versus crying for an hour, for example. So many gray areas and I did agree with him on the slower transition from co-sleeping to crib. Good advice. I always wonder what he would tell a family where co-sleeping did not work for them and Pantley’s method didn’t work, either. Remember, you can still practice attachment parenting and sleep train.

Is 9 months too old to sleep train?

A mom was asking whether 9 months is too old for sleep training. Dr. Weissbluth in the chat compares junk sleep with junk food. He goes on to say that a little junk food is okay, but a lot is not. Similarly, your baby waking frequently at night is considered “junk sleep” and not as restorative. I will finish Dr. Weissbluth’s thought and say that it’s never too late to sleep train, just like it’s never too late to eat healthy. After all, Raymond Francis healed himself from a terminal illness with transforming his diet. Although I’m not about to switch to 100% raw foods, I have been dipping my toes into green smoothies and a bonus has been that my sons have been requesting them, which has increased their green vegetable intake tremendously! :). Whether you have a 6 month old or a 4 year old, it’s never too late to teach healthy (sleep) habits!

Who’s right and who’s wrong?

Dr. Sears said this very well:

“Dr. Bob Sears: It’s NOT about who’s right and who’s wrong – it’s all about YOUR parenting choice.”

The Baby Sleep Site is here to help educate you on all the various methods so that you can make an informed decision, but not only that, it’s about what is RIGHT for YOUR baby and YOUR family. Your baby’s temperament is a huge factor in all of this. You can’t take your baby out of the decision process. Sometimes it’s not just a parenting choice, but adapting your parenting and philosophies to fit your baby’s needs. On a daily basis we will do things we never planned on doing prior to becoming parents. To quote Will Smith in Hitch, “That went differently in my head.” is something I say often.

For your persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a personalized sleep plan for YOUR family that you can feel good about!

Are you in the Sears or Weissbluth camp or have you made your own?

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10 Tips to Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep

When you bring your baby home no one tells you that “sleep like a baby” only lasts a short time. This article will give you 10 tips to help your newborn sleep better.

Disclaimer: Before I get to the 10 tips to help your newborn sleep, I thought I should note that it can be dangerous for a new newborn baby (just a few weeks old) to sleep all night. They really do need to eat at least every 3 hours in those early days so they can grow well and thrive.

It is also safest to place baby on his back to sleep, to guard against SIDS. You may be interested in other ways to lower SIDS risks.

There, now that I got that out of the way.

Newborn Baby Sleep

1. Short Wake-time

The first week or so, your newborn baby will most likely hardly be awake, but after the first week or two, the #1 key with your newborn is to keep wake times very short, at first. You should soothe your baby for sleep after just 1-2 hours of wake time TOPS. You should look for signs that she is getting sleepy and start soothing her. If you wait until she is fussy, cranky or crying, you are actually too late!

An overtired baby will have more trouble settling down and going to sleep and staying asleep. My boys always fell asleep easiest when I caught them before they started to fuss and cry. Some babies are much more sensitive to being overtired than others, so while others will barely notice their child get sleepy before she drifts off to sleep, others will begin to realize just how in tune with their baby they need to be!

By wake time, I mean to include feedings and diaper changes and disregard how long her last nap was. For example, little Suzie starts to nap at 8am and sleeps for 3 hours. She eats at 11am and you change her diaper. Now, it’s 11:30 and you decide to give her a bath. At 11:45, she is fussy. She is already overtired and she needs a nap! In the beginning, they can’t go long before getting tired and overstimulated.

2. Swaddle

To help mimic the feeling of the womb, it helps to swaddle your newborn baby. This basically means to wrap him up in a blanket like a little burrito. You may have seen them do it at the hospital. This helps him feel safe and secure and also helps him stay asleep during any moro reflex or startle reflex moments. It is said that those reflexes are similar to how we have the feeling we are falling while falling asleep. It can take up to 4 or 5 months for your baby to stop the startling.

I recommend The Miracle Blanket for swaddling. It is a little pricey, but so easy to use and so hard for your baby to break out of! So worth it, to me! If you can’t or don’t want to spend that much, try this SwaddleMe Wrap.

We encourage you to read these tips for safe swaddling.

3. Days bright / Nights dark

Although you might be tempted to keep things quiet and darker for your newborn to nap well, it might prolong the day/night confusion that almost all newborns will have. Day/Night confusion can last up to 6 weeks. When she was in mom’s belly, mom’s movements lulled her to sleep and when mom was resting, she’d have a party. When she comes out, she doesn’t know she should act in the complete opposite fashion.

So, keep days bright and upbeat and nights, dark and boring, and it will help your newborn sort out her days and nights faster. This might be more than you want to know, but light is what cues our eyes to tell us to stay awake or whether it’s time to sleep.

4. Limit naps

If he is taking longer to sort out days and nights (or you are having a very rough time keeping up with him being up all night), you can further speed up the process by limiting naps to no longer than 3-4 hours during the day. Read more here about newborn sleep patterns and schedules.

5. Post-feeding routine

To help your newborn baby sort out day and night sleeping even more, you may want to develop a play routine after she eats during the day. Keep her awake 30 minutes after feeding by playing, singing, bathing, etc. Again, the light stimulating her eyes will help her sort out that daylight is for being awake at least a little bit. Many people recommend the eat-play-sleep routine for newborns. This is the primary message of the popular book, On Becoming Baby Wise. You might want to read why Babywise may not be right for your baby, though.

6. Co-sleeping

Sometimes it helps to have your newborn in the room with you for quick access for middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes. This also can help give him more comfort being close by as he will be able to hear and smell you. For safety reasons, you should use a Co-Sleeper , sleep positioner, or bassinette, rather than have baby in bed with you. I used the second one with my second son and then I moved it into his crib for a seamless transition to his crib. We were able to remove it a few weeks later.

This article includes some tips for safe bed-sharing. You can also read more about the differences between co-sleeping and bed sharing.

7. Angle the mattress

For babies who spit up a lot or have reflux, it helps to angle the mattress when he sleeps, so baby is not flat on his back. You’ll want to angle the mattress so his feet are lower than his head, so his stomach contents can stay put. To angle the mattress, you can simply change the support platform level on one side on most cribs. If that is not feasible, you can put blankets and pillow under the mattress. Please note that the mattress should still remain flat at all times, just at an incline. You must make sure that you do not tilt the mattress so much that your baby slides down the bed, either. I strongly recommend that you first check with a knowledgeable health care provider to make sure that what you do is best and safest for your child. I only wanted to highlight the idea.

8. White Noise

White noise is made up of the sounds like a fan whirring, vacuum cleaner, hair-dryer, etc. It helps a newborn sleep because inside mom’s womb was all white noise. The sound of her blood flow, heart beating, etc. That’s why he finds comfort when you may run the vacuum cleaner. My son used to love when I turned on the blow-dryer. Of course, you can’t run the vacuum all day, so I recommend getting a White Noise machine, sound machine or a White Noise CD. I have two of the second one in each boy’s room so they don’t wake each other and they work like a dream! Read more about How White Noise Can Help Your Baby Sleep here.

Read here about some smartphone White Noise apps that can help your baby sleep.

9. Wear baby

For particularly fussy babies or just for parent’s convenience and snuggling, it helps to “wear” baby using a sling. They get very folded up in a sling, but again, it mimics the womb and babies love it! I didn’t use a sling with my first, but used a BabyBjorn Baby Carrier and loved it! It really helped me walk off the baby weight, which was a bonus. But, with my second, I did use this sling (there are many others!) and my son would fall asleep in less than 5 minutes until he grew out of it. This helped tremendously when I needed to cook dinner and do stuff with my toddler, at the time. I have also heard good things about the Moby Wrap and the Maya Wrap.

Here are ten reasons to wear your baby.

10. Swing

As I said earlier, mom’s movements lulled baby to sleep while in the womb, so I also recommend trying a swing, but don’t be surprised if your newborn only likes it at high speeds. Our family teased us we were making our first son “drunk”, but he just loved it going FAST and it was the only way he’d fall asleep in it! We used something like this swingto help him sleep (I don’t see the exact one I used anymore — guess I’m officially old now). My friend has the Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Cradle Swing and loves it. They didn’t have that when I was shopping for one!

Important Note: Some say it might not be safe for a newborn to sleep in a car seat, so be cautious about that. Some say it’s just fine.

Unfortunately, some of these tips do create sleep associations, but during the first weeks, you really do what you can to survive. Obviously, it never hurts to try to put your baby down to sleep without any of these “tricks”, but as I’ve probably said a billion times already on this site, it just doesn’t work for all of us.

For more product and site recommendations, please view my baby sleep resources page.

For additional information on helping your child sleep, you may be interested in our free guide, 5 Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night or our e-Book, The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep.

Do you have any newborn baby sleep tips?

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