15 Newborn Baby Sleep and Feeding Tips

Newborn Baby Sleep Feeding Tips
Newborn babies are so wonderful, aren’t they? They’re all soft, new skin and sweet-smelling heads and tiny, adorable features. I remember each one of my children (now 7, 6, and 3) as newborns, and each of them just broke my heart with their cuteness when they were tiny.

But caring for a newborn? Trying to figure out feedings and naps and swaddling and all the things that go along with parenting a new baby?

That usually doesn’t feel so wonderful. In fact, if you’re a new parent, it may feel totally overwhelming!

Whether you’re a brand-new, first-time parent who’s completely befuddled by your baby, or whether you’re a “seasoned veteran” parent who’s expecting another baby and just needs a refresher course in newborn care – we can help. Keep reading for our top 15 newborn baby sleep and feeding tips! (And don’t forget, you can download our newborn free guide, 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Need To Know!)

15 Newborn Baby Sleep and Feeding Tips

1. Swaddle Your Newborn Full disclosure: swaddling is generally a great way to help newborns sleep longer and more soundly, but not all babies like to be swaddled. You may need to try different swaddling techniques, until you find one that works with your baby’s temperament – or, you may need to scrap swaddling altogether! Of course, whatever you do, remember that safety comes first, with swaddling – never put a swaddled baby face-down in the crib, never co-sleep with a swaddled baby, and make sure that your swaddle is tight enough that the blankets won’t come loose, but not so tight that it interferes with hip movement or breathing.

2. Wear Your Newborn Baby Baby-wearing – when done safely – is a fantastic way to not only bond with your baby, but to also improve sleep. Even the fussiest, most colicky babies generally calm down when held snugly against mom or dad’s body! Wearing your baby can also be a great way to deal with reflux symptoms. (Keep reading for more info about reflux.)

3. Your Newborn Baby’s Colic If your baby is fussy all the time and just won’t settle, you may wonder if colic is to blame. It’s important to remember that periods of crying are normal in the newborn stage. But if that crying is intense and lasts for hours on end, then you may be dealing with colic.

4. Newborn Baby Fussiness It’s important to remember that not all fussiness is due to colic. It’s normal for newborns to have fussy spells – and fussy times of day, for that matter. In fact, many newborns are fussy in later afternoon and early evening. This is generally referred to as “The Witching Hour”.

5. Room-Sharing and Co-Sleeping With Your Newborn Baby Many of us in the western world have been conditioned to believe that babies sleep in cribs, alone, in a separate room. And while that sleeping arrangement may work just fine for some families, many other families find that the inconvenience of having to walk down the hall for every night feeding and diaper change is more trouble than it’s worth. Room-sharing can be a great solution – simply sleep your newborn near your bed in a portable crib or bassinet. You can even use a product like the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper if you want to make nighttime nursing easy. Co-sleeping is a popular option for many families, too, since it makes breastfeeding super easy at night. Just be aware that co-sleeping absolutely must be done safely, if you intend to co-sleep with your newborn.

6. Your Newborn Baby’s Routine Gentle but consistent daily routines are GREAT for encouraging better sleep. The Eat-Sleep-Play routine (or the E.A.S.Y. routine, if you’re a Baby Whisperer fan) is great for newborns, as it helps gently guide sleep and feeding times. Remember, your routines don’t need to be driven by the clock – instead, use your baby’s sleep and feeding cues to shape your routines.

7. Newborn Baby Massage A bath may not be the most relaxing activity you can do with your baby, but baby massage is a VERY relaxing activity! Baby massage has been shown to help babies (and parents!) relax, and to promote better sleep.

8. Fresh Air and Sunlight What do fresh air and sunshine have to do with sleep? Plenty, actually. Did you know that exposing your baby to sunlight can go a long way towards helping re-set her circadian rhythms and to correct day/night confusion? It can – more on that in a moment! And fresh air helps, too – studies show that a daily dose of fresh air (like the kind you’d get from a brisk, 20 minute walk) really does help babies sleep better and longer.

9. Your Newborn Baby’s Day/Night Confusion Babies don’t spring from the womb understanding the difference between night and day – in fact, many newborns have their days and nights completely mixed up! If your baby sleeps all day and is up all night, you can take steps to correct this day/night confusion. Try feeding and playing with your baby in a brightly-lit room during the day, and then keep the room very dark and your interactions minimal at night.

10. Newborn Baby Awake Time Speaking of day/night confusion – one way to help your newborn sir out days and nights is to keep your baby awake for a short time between daytime feedings. However, be sure that your newborn’s wake time is on the short side – aim for 45 or so in the first 6 weeks after birth.

11. Growth Spurts Your baby will go through many growth spurts in the first year of life, but a number of those happen during the newborn stage. It’s key to know approximately when these growth spurts will happen; it’s also key to feed your baby often during these times. It may feel like all your baby does is eat and sleep during a growth spurt, but that’s normal! You can read more about newborn growth spurts here.

12. Reflux Many babies spit up occasionally, but true reflux is something altogether worse – burning stomach acid and constant vomiting make sleep almost impossible! Fortunately, there are ways you can treat reflux at home, and can work to help you newborn sleep better even when reflux symptoms are bad. Read more about newborn reflux here.

13. Breastfeeding Breastfeeding is a great way to feed your baby, but many new moms find that breastfeeding is tougher than they’d anticipated. But you really can breastfeed your baby AND work towards better, longer sleep!

14. Sleep Associations Many of the strategies and techniques you will use to help your newborn sleep in the early weeks and months after birth may very well become negative sleep associations. If you rock or hold or swing or feed your newborn to sleep, pretty soon, she’ll NEED you to do those things at nap time and bedtime – and each time she wakes early. Sleep coaching is simply the process of gently helping your baby learn a new way to sleep – one that doesn’t involve you. However, don’t let the fact that your newborn may form sleep associations make you nervous – we usually recommend that you do whatever you have to do to help your bay sleep in the first two months or so after birth. Then, once you feel comfortable and your baby seems ready, you can slowly begin working towards more independent sleep. For instance, you can try putting your baby down slightly awake for the first morning nap – that’s a step in the right direction.

15. 3/4 Month Sleep Regression Why are we including a link to the 4 month regression in a newborn-focused article? Simple – this is the first big sleep regression a baby goes through, and it usually jumps up and bites parents in the backsides, in our experience! Most parents are floored by this regression – just as they get baby sleeping well at night and napping better, BAM. Baby is fussy as all get out, sleep falls apart, and mom and dad are left wondering what on earth happened. But don’t worry – we’ve helped thousands of parents with this sleep regression, so we know a thing or two about it!

Newborn Sleep Help That Works – Guaranteed!

Being the parent of a newborn is simultaneously the most difficult and the most wonderful thing on earth, isn’t it? But all of us at The Baby Sleep Site® know first-hand how exhausting and overwhelming it can be to try and help your newborn sleep well. Yes, newborns are supposed to wake around the clock for feeds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t gently encourage better, deeper sleep from your baby. And we can help with that! Connect with a consultant today, and she will craft a newborn-focused Personalized Sleep Plan™ specifically for your baby, that aligns with your unique situation and challenges, and with your parenting goals.
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!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Have sleep or feeding questions about your newborn? Ask, and we’ll answer!

Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!

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. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

Newborn Sleep and Feeding Schedule

Newborn Sleep Feeding Schedule

This article outlines newborn sleep patterns and habits, as well as sample newborn sleep and feeding schedules.

Skip to the schedules

Newborn Sleep

A baby is considered a newborn from birth until about 3 months of age. During the first 3 months of life, your newborn’s sleep patterns will look nothing like yours – your baby will sleep in short bursts (anywhere from 30 or 45 minutes – 3 or possibly 4 hours), and then eat between sleeps. In this way, newborn’s don’t follow a typical day/night sleep schedule. Their circadian rhythms need time to adjust – in fact, some newborns come out of the womb having their days and nights completely mixed up! This is called day/night confusion, and babies who struggle with it tend to sleep a lot during the day and then wake up frequently at night.

Many parents discover that their newborns are extra sleepy in the first week or two after birth – you may find that you have to wake your newborn to feed, or that your newborn often drifts off during a feeding, before eating her fill. But your newborn will definitely “wake up” within three weeks after birth – at that point, you will start to deal with more wakefulness (in fact, you may start to miss the early weeks of having a super-sleepy newborn!!).

Newborn Feeding

Newborns feed very, very frequently, but this isn’t a problem to be solved – it’s perfectly natural! Your newborn’s tummy is quite small, so it’s understandable that he needs to eat often.

Formula-fed newborns may need to eat slightly less often than breast-fed newborns, because it takes a newborn’s tummy longer to digest and break down formal, resulting in baby feeling fuller for longer periods of time. Breast milk, on the other hand, is digested fairly quickly.

As for how much breastmilk or formula your baby needs – when it comes to formula, you can use a fairly simple formula to help you determine approximately how much formula your baby needs. Take your baby’s weight and multiply it by 2.5. So, following this approach, an 8 pound baby would need about 20 ounces of formula in a 24-hour period. As for breastmilk – as a general rule, most newborns need between 20 and 30 ounces of breastmilk (and between 25-35 ounces once they’re past the newborn stage). In general, if you are exclusively nursing, it’s best to nurse on demand in the first few weeks after birth – this will ensure that your milk supply becomes well-established. In the first 12 weeks, your newborn may have one 4-5 hour stretch of sleep during the day or night, but your baby really shouldn’t have more than one (or possibly two, in some cases) – in order to maintain your supply, you’ll need to nurse every 2-3 hours, on average. Once your baby is past 3 months of age, and is in the infant stage, that will slowly stretch into 5-6 hours, and then 7-8, and eventually right up to 10 or 11 hours once your baby is 9 or 10 months old.

Newborn Growth Spurts

Believe it or not, A LOT is going on with your newborn baby. So much growth and development is happening in that little body! Your newborn will very likely go through growth spurts at the following times:

  • 7-10 days of age
  • 2-3 weeks of age
  • 4-6 weeks of age
  • 3 months of age

During these growth spurts, it will feel like your newborn is feeding almost constantly (and like when she’s not feeding, she’s sleeping). This is 100% normal – feed your newborn as often as she needs it, as the extra nourishment is important during the growth spurt.

Newborn Feeding and Sleep Schedule

Your unique newborn’s wake times and total sleep needs may vary from what is recommended below. These schedules are based on averages, but your baby may need more or less sleep (or shorter/longer wake times) than what is shown below. Remember, watch your baby’s sleepy cues closely (rubbing eyes, yawning, staring off into space, etc.), and let those guide the sleep schedule. Remember, too, that if your baby is already fussing, he’s already overtired – strive to get him down for his nap earlier next time, before the fussing starts.


2-8 Week Old Newborn, Breast Feeding

(This schedule is best for babies who consume average amounts of breast milk, and for moms who have average breast milk production and storage amounts. Babies who eat smaller amounts, babies with reflux, and moms who produce and store smaller amounts of breastmilk would need a different schedule, as would babies who eat larger amounts per feeding, and moms who produce/store greater amounts of breast milk. Schedules for those scenarios, as well as schedules for older breast-fed newborns, are available in our newborn book, Essential Keys To Your Newborn’s Sleep).

9:00 AM – Wake and Feed*
10:00 AM – Nap (30-60 minutes)
11:00 AM – Wake and Feed
12:30 PM – Nap (30-60 minutes)
1:30 PM – Wake and Feed
3:30 PM – Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
4:30 PM – Wake and Feed
6:00 PM – Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
6:30 PM – Wake and Feed
7:30 PM – Catnap (20 – 30 minutes)
8:00 PM – Wake and Feed
9:30 PM – Catnap (20 – 30 minutes)
10:00 PM – Wake and Feed
11:30 PM – Feed and Bedtime*
3:30 AM – Feed and Right back to sleep
6:30 AM – Feed and Right back to sleep

* – we recommend you make these fixed points in your baby’s schedule. You can read more about this in our article on fixed points in a baby schedule.

2-8 Week Old Newborn, Formula Feeding

(You will see that this schedule outlines longer naps and fewer feedings than the breastfeeding schedule above; this is simply because formula is more difficult for baby to digest, so baby tends to feel fuller longer, and therefore needs slightly fewer feedings. For formula-feeding schedules for older newborns, see our newborn book, Essential Keys To Your Newborn’s Sleep)

9:00 AM – Wake and Feed*
10:00 AM – Nap (60 – 90 minutes)
11:30 AM – Wake
12:30 PM – Feed and Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
1:30 PM – Wake
3:00 PM – Feed and Nap (60 – 90 minutes)
4:30 PM – Wake and Feed
6:00 PM – Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
6:00 PM – Wake
7:30 PM – Feed and Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
8:30 PM – Wake
9:30 PM – Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
10:00 PM – Wake and Feed
11:30 PM – Feed and Bedtime*
4:30 AM – Feed and Right back to sleep
7:30 AM – Feed and Right back to sleep

* – we recommend you make these fixed points in your baby’s schedule. You can read more about this in our article on fixed points in a baby schedule.

Essential Keys to Newborn SleepThe schedules above come from our newborn sleep e-Book, Essential Keys To Your Newborn’s Sleep. At over 90 pages long (and containing a variety of sample schedules for breastfed and formula-fed babies from birth – 16 weeks), this e-Book truly is a one-stop resource designed to help your newborn establish healthy sleep habits, right from birth. Whether you’re a brand new parent or an experienced parents who needs to brush up newborn sleep basics, Essential Keys To Your Newborn’s Sleep is a comprehensive and budget-friendly resource that will provide the information you need to work towards excellent sleep for your whole family, from day one.

Additional Newborn Sleep Articles

Want more newborn sleep tips? Check out our other newborn sleep articles:

Newborn Sleep Resources, and Personalized Newborn Sleep Help

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those 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.

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. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

Baby_On_Computer_RESIZEDIf you are looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation, and want plenty support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Your consultation package will provide you with the chance to interact one-on-one with a trained sleep consultant, who will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family and then work to help you implement it at home.

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

bss_ebook_freeguide_leftWant FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your baby is waking at night – and what you can do about it.
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!

Tell us about your newborn’s schedule and sleep routines!

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!

7 Tips for Better Baby Sleep in 2012

Baby Sleep 2012Happy New Year! The last year has flown by for a lot of us, in some ways, and really dragged in others, especially if your baby hasn’t been sleeping. When you’re not getting good sleep, days feel terribly long, sometimes. You know what I’m talking about if your baby was part of the Massive Recall of 2011 Babies. 😀 It’s time to take a look into our future and see what we can do to improve sleep in 2012! Here are 7 tips to make sure 2012 is a year of better baby sleep for your baby and your whole family:

1. Be realistic

All babies will not sleep through the night at the same age, weight, or other arbitrary quality. Your baby is unique and may be 6 months or 8 months or 13 months old when she finally sleeps through the night. Once you do start “working” on sleep, your baby may or may not respond as quickly as some of the lucky few who have success in one or two nights. I wish they all did, but frankly, if they did, I wouldn’t have this site because my own son would not have been as challenging as he was and I wouldn’t have had to obsess about his sleep as much as I did! Please have realistic expectations for your baby that while he may respond in a few days to a week, he might not or he will and then backslide. If you are realistic, you will have less frustration and more success, since you are less likely to give up before he has time to learn. This is especially true for slow-to-adapt babies. It’s easy to read through our testimonials and get very excited that we can help you overnight, but that will only be true for some of you. Our track record is good, but some parents send just one e-mail, receive a sleep plan, and away they go, while others consult with us for 30 days where we can touch base very frequently to tweak their plan. A family’s solution is as unique as their baby, sometimes.

2. Be consistent

Boring, I know. “Consistency is key” is something we all hear all too frequently, but I can’t emphasize this enough. When we read through family histories, certain things jump out at us and lack of consistency is a huge factor. Sometimes it’s not your fault. It’s hard to know when to feed, when not to feed, when it’s okay to rock them to sleep, when you should try to have them learn to fall asleep on their own, etc. If your toddler is playing with the trash can, if you sometimes let him and sometimes not, he won’t understand the rules and what’s expected from him. Look at it from their perspective to see how your inconsistency could be confusing your baby. This typically increases crying, rather than lessens it, and none of us want that.

3. Make smaller goals

One helpful step you can make is to set (realistic) goals for your baby’s sleep. Even better to choose baby steps in sleep training. If you don’t know where you want to go, it’s very hard to find a path there. And, you should be more specific than making “sleeping through the night” your goal. That is too broad and you may be disappointed. You might first decide “Go to sleep without breastfeeding.” Then, you might say “Wakes up for less than 4 night feedings.” And, so on. Make smaller goals to help yourself see progress and avoid giving up before you achieve your granddaddy goal.

4. Make a plan

After you make your goals, decide on how you’ll achieve those smaller goals. If you’re going on a road trip across country, most people make some sort of plan. Some of us will plan it down to the finest details, including where we will eat a meal or go potty or what specific hotel to stay in. Some of us might make loose plans such as what city we’ll stay for the night, but if we are making good time, we might go further or, if we are tired, stop sooner. We see a lot of different personalities in our personal consultations. Some need to know every little detail about what they need to do and ask a lot of “What if?” questions (which is a big reason why we’re here!) while others don’t. Whether you are type A or type B or go where the wind blows you, success usually starts with a plan, even if it’s not super detailed.

5. Take the first step

Once you have your plan, taking that first step is often the hardest. Very often we build up how terrible sleep training will be in our head and, often, it’s worse in our head than in reality (unfortunately, not always). We’re afraid we’ll be sleep training a tortoise and we’ll feel guilty because our baby won’t sleep because it’s our fault and how guilty we feel that we’re changing the “rules.” The first step in solving any problem is usually the most difficult (usually admitting there is a problem or that you need help), but one of the most important.

6. Gather Your Support

Whether it’s another friend going through a similar situation, your partner/spouse, a friend on Facebook, your parent helping you through, or us, one thing that helps you succeed in making a big change in your life is your support network. Holding yourself accountable by “checking in” with someone also helps you succeed. So, try to get your support lined up before you start. Someone who is non-judging if you make mistakes and someone who can empathize.

7. Expect backsliding

No doubt that just when you figure out the first thing, a second thing pops up: “She was sleeping great and then learned to roll! AAAHHH!” When we potty train, we are not surprised by accidents, so I’m not sure why parents sometimes expect perfect sleep after sleep training. Your sleep training progress might look more like a roller coaster than climbing to the top of a mountain.

Only you can make the changes that your family needs to thrive in 2012. I hope these 7 tips can help get you started. And, if new year’s resolutions is what inspires you to take that first step, then just make sure you are one of the (only) 50% who will stick to them. 😉

How Will You Make 2012 a Year of Better Baby Sleep?

If you’re looking for ways to to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine, 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. 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.

November is Prematurity Awareness Month

Premature Awareness MonthLast year, I wrote about World Prematurity Awareness Day and how it just didn’t seem like it was near enough to raise the level of awareness needed about premature births. In the US, the entire month of November is dedicated to being Prematurity Awareness Month. For the entire month of November, the March of Dimes will work to help the nation to focus it’s attention on premature births. The March of Dimes launched the Prematurity Awareness Campaign in 2003 and since then they have made significant strides in raising awareness about premature births and in working towards reducing the rate of premature births but there is still a long way to go. Recent news reports that the premature birth rate is down slightly to 12.2% but still quite far from the March of Dimes goal of 9.6% by the year 2020.

Premature Birth Facts:

  • 1 in 8 babies are born prematurely in the United States
  • Worldwide, 13 million babies are born prematurely
  • Premature births are the number on killer of babies
  • Premature babies are at risk for severe health problems and lifelong disabilities.

As part of National Prematurity Awareness Month, The March of Dimes has released 2011 Premature Birth Report Cards by State. Overall the United States has a grade of “C” when it comes to preventing premature births. You can click here to view the map to see how your state ranks for preventing premature births. It’s rather alarming that we only have one state with a grade of “A” and four states have a grade of “F.” Clearly, much more still needs to be done towards working to prevent premature births in the United States.

November 17th is World Prematurity Awareness Day. World Prematurity Day is set aside as one way to honor the million babies who die each year from being born too soon along with 12 million who struggle to survive. See inspiring stories and get updates on Facebook by joining the World Prematurity Day Facebook page.

How you can help:

How will you help to raise awareness about premature births?