I was at a party recently, with my eldest son, and was chatting to another mum. She had a daughter of a similar age to my own and was asking for tips on getting her into a routine. It got me thinking that, perhaps this information wasn’t readily available, or if it was, it was too time consuming or confusing to digest. I thanked her for the inspiration for my next three blog posts, the importance of a good routine with tips – the first being newborn tips.
If you are a new mum then I’m sure you have heard loads of times that your baby will get themselves into a routine. They probably will…but that may involve sleeping long periods in the day and partying at night! Not ideal for day to day life! Babies and young children thrive on routine, they crave the security of knowing what is coming next. It also gives you a clue about what the grumpy face or tears may be about, hungry, getting tired, overstimulated?! Knowing what your baby needs and when s/he needs it is incredibly important to their welfare (not to mention your sanity)! I’m certainly not suggesting you should start waking your six week old to fit in with a routine but, at this age, you can start introducing the idea of night and day so your little one knows when s/he should be playing or sleeping!
- In the day time make sure the room is bright and noisy (no problem if it’s not your first child)! At night ensure its dark and quiet.
- As a rule of thumb, newborns can’t stay awake longer than 2 hours (as a maximum) without becoming way too overtired. Some little ones can’t manage much more than 45 minutes-1hour, especially if siblings make their waking time like a baby sensory class!
- Keep an eye on the signs they are becoming tired so you don’t end up with an overtired newborn, that’s no fun for anybody.
- Feed your baby when s/he wakes up so you avoid feeding them to sleep during the day. Initially this is unavoidable because, no sooner have they fed, they are ready for another snooze. After the first few weeks you can encourage them to ‘play’ a little (if there is time) after they have fed then ensure they have a good nap before you repeat this.
- Once your little one is a few weeks old you can start to introduce a bedtime routine, a signal that this is a different time of day then keep the room quiet and dark. The guidelines are clear that your little one should stay in the room you are in until 6 months, to help prevent SIDS, so this will need to be relative, until they can go into their own room.
- While I know it is totally gorgeous for your little one to fall asleep in your arms, you may not be able to keep that up forever. Try to put your little one down before they are fast asleep. This is the same if your little one feeds to sleep. I know it’s almost impossible to stop in the first few weeks, my daughter has recently reminded me of that! Just bear in mind the aim is for your little one to be able to connect being tired with falling asleep. Otherwise they will want to recreate the same way they went to sleep each time they wake up, to the detriment of consolidated and incredibly important sleep (not to mention sleep for sleep deprived mummy or daddy)!
- Finally, enjoy these precious weeks, be kind to yourself and try to relax a little. Babies’ circadian rhythms will mature and develop over the coming months so (if they are guided in the right way) they will be more alert in the day and give you a few hours, much deserved, sleep at night.
As always, if you’re experiencing any problems with your little ones sleep, please do get in touch for a free 15 minute chat – We would love to help!