written by Irene Makriplis
Are sleepless nights with your newborn leaving you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed? Sleep is so important for our overall health, especially as a new parent! But how can we get better sleep with a new baby at home who’s waking every few hours?
Here are a few expert tips from Lullaby & Me’s Pediatric Sleep Consultant, Irene Makriplis, to help you navigate the exciting yet challenging world of newborn sleep.
1. Be realistic & don't compare your baby to others.
I'm sure we all have someone who brags about how their newborn was sleeping straight through the night, but the reality is that newborn's need to wake often to feed. Some babies may be capable of sleeping through the night by 3 months old and others may still need one or two overnight feeds until 6 months old. So let's get rid of the expectation that our newborn will be sleeping 12 hours straight without an overnight feed. Still that doesn't mean we can't get some decent stretches of sleep!
2.Do NOT Sleep Train and do NOT implement cry it out before 3 months old.
Don't get me wrong, leaving your baby for 2-3 minutes to see if they can settle themselves is fine but infants under 3 months old cannot be sleep trained, especially not using the "Cry-It-Out" method. Their tiny brains are not capable of understanding what’s going on and many newborns may have a hard time self soothing. A newborn cannot manipulate you and they will most likely need their parent nearby to help soothe them.
3.Let’s help develop their Circadian Rhythm.
Daytime/Nighttime confusion is real! Some newborns can sleep all day but then be up all night. Infants are born without a circadian rhythm and we can help develop their circadian rhythm (their internal clock) by keeping things quiet and dim at night and a little more exciting during the daytime. Taking your baby outside for some fresh air and sunlight can also help!
Nothing is worse than an overtired baby. I can’t tell you how many parents have come to me thinking their baby is colicky or that their baby just has a difficult personality when all the meanwhile they were just really overtired. Be sure to follow age appropriate Wake Windows and do whatever's necessary to get your baby sleeping before they hit that overtired limit.
5.It’s never too early to start a Bedtime Routine
It doesn’t have to be complicated or long. At this age a quick 15-20 minute routine before bed is all you need to help cue to your baby that it’s time to sleep. That could mean a quick bath, baby massage, read a book, swaddling and then put them down for bed.
6.Optimize your Baby’s Sleep Environment.
If your baby is struggling to sleep well, help them out by making sure the temperature is okay, that the room is dark enough and possibly consider using a sound machine if you don’t already. Check out my favorite 5 Best Sound Machines for Sleep!
7.Swaddle to Help their Moro “Startle” Reflex.
Ever notice your newborn jerk their arms up like they are falling? The Moro Reflex doesn’t start diminishing until 3-4 months of age so help your baby stay asleep longer by swaddling.
8.Avoid too many overnight diaper changes!
This is a big mistake I see a lot of parents make. Every time their baby wakes up during the night or every time they need an overnight feed, a parent will also change their diaper. If your baby has soiled themselves or if the diaper is clearly full to the max, then of course a diaper change is necessary. But if it has only been a couple of hours and their diaper isn’t exactly full, avoid changing their diaper in the middle of the night. Diaper changes can be extremely overstimulating and can really disturb a baby during the night making them restless and making it difficult to fall back to sleep. Opt for some overnight diapers for extra absorbency to try to get some longer stretches! If you do need to change your baby’s diaper, then be sure to make it quick, keep the room dim, avoid conversation and avoid eye contact.
These are just a few quick tips from Irene, one of NYC’s Top Baby Sleep Consultants! If you need some more in depth tips on how to really get your newborn’s sleep on track from the beginning, this Newborn Sleep Guide was designed to provide new parents with expert advice and guidance. Irene’s Guide is an invaluable resource for ensuring a good night's sleep for both baby and parent.
Experience the joy of parenthood without the exhaustion and confusion, as Lullaby & Me’s comprehensive guide takes you through the essential steps to establish healthy sleep habits from the very beginning. You'll gain confidence in navigating this transformative journey, ensuring your little one gets the restful sleep they need for healthy development.
Go Download the Guide here and use the code BADASSMOM for 50% Off!