When there’s a new baby in the house, you can expect many sleepless nights. No matter if you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, a newborn baby will need to be fed every few hours. This means, lots of midnight feedings and lack of sleep for you. Having sleepless nights is actually considered a rite of passage for many new parents.
So, what can you do to get some much-needed rest? Consider the following tips for success to help your baby sleep better.
Learn Baby’s Rhythm
A newborn baby will sleep at least sixteen hours each day, however, they don’t sleep for 16 hours stretch. A new baby often sleeps for one or two hour stretches throughout the day. Your newborn’s sleep pattern will be erratic at first, which can truly exhaust you. As the weeks and months pass, your baby will develop a more regular sleep pattern.
By the time your infant reaches three months old, he can sleep for five hours (or more) at one time. By six months old, your baby can sleep through the night (anywhere from nine to twelve hours).
Although your sleep patterns are being disrupted initially, just remember that it won’t last forever. In fact, there’s a new study that links infant sleep to growth spurts. According to a 2011 research study, when babies start to take longer naps or increase the frequency of the naps they take, this means they will have a growth spurt soon.
Give Your Baby a Pacifier
Whether or not you should give your baby a pacifier depends on your personal preference, but there have been numerous studies that have linked pacifier use to better sleep. A fussy baby may settle down better when given a pacifier. In addition, using a pacifier can reduce your newborn’s risk of dying from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Use Stimulation During the Day
During the daytime hours when your little one is awake, you should stimulate all of his senses. Talk, play and sing to your baby. Keep your baby engaged and interested. All of this stimulation may help your baby sleep better at night.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
It may help your baby fall asleep better if he has a consistent bedtime routine to expect. For example, some parents bathe their baby before bedtime. Others spend time with their little ones reading a bedtime story. If you are consistent about your bedtime routine, your baby will soon associate these with sleep.
Remember to keep everything in perspective. You may have a difficult sleeper. Some infants are harder to put to sleep than others. Other babies may have trouble soothing themselves back to sleep if they wake up in the middle of the night. Just remember that it takes time to understand what helps your baby sleep, and what doesn’t work.