So you have finally given birth and have brought home your baby. It’s been several days since you and your newborn have settled in and you look forward to getting enough rest and sleep after months of carrying your baby in your tummy. After all, everyone knows that getting a good night of sleep is beneficial for your physical, emotional, and mental health.
Sadly, it feels like you can count on your fingers the number of hours of sleep that you and your spouse have had. Sleep is a precious commodity for you and your baby but it seems that only your newborn is having the most of it – not you!
While newborn babies sleep anywhere from 14 – 18 hours a day, their sleep pattern is erratic in the first few weeks and even the first few months from birth. This means that every now and then, your baby will wake up. That makes it difficult for you to get a healthy number of hours of uninterrupted good quality sleep.
Babies also have very small stomachs. That means they need to feed every 1 to 4 hours. And if you are a breastfeeding mom, that means your baby will be latching on to you quite often, during unknown times.
Also, hunger is not the only reason why your baby will wake up at ungodly hours. If your baby needs a change of diaper, you would know right away thanks to your baby crying their lungs out.
No wonder you feel sleep-deprived. And while eventually, your baby’s sleep pattern will regularize, that might take a while. So if you feel that it is nearly impossible to get the amount of sleep you need every night, we sympathize with you very much.
But don’t worry – read on for our eight tips to help you make your baby sleep throughout the night and make you less sleep-deprived.
8 tips for moms to make babies sleep through the night:
1. Establish a nighttime sleep routine with your newborn.
Set a particular time of the night when you start to lull your baby to sleep. Whether it’s 8 PM, 9 PM, or earlier or later, it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s your preferred time. Set the lights low and keep out distracting noises to establish that quiet ambiance. You may want to hum a soothing lullaby to promote relaxation and induce a sense of calm in your baby. You can also try playing a white noise soundtrack.
2. Change your baby into nighttime clothes.
Change your baby’s clothes to fresh and comfy warm nighttime wear just before bedtime. A fresh set of clothes prior to your baby’s sleep at night adds to your baby’s sense of comfort and relaxation. Hey, anyone who has new clothes will feel fresher and sleep better, right? Plus, the fresh clothes will serve as a signal to your baby that it is time to sleep, especially if you do it regularly.
3. Designate the crib as your baby’s nighttime sleep space.
Let your baby get used to being laid gently in the crib for nighttime sleep. Strategically place the crib in an area of the nursery where there are only dim lights and minimal noise. Make sure as well that the crib is free of physical clutter that often serves to distract the baby from sleeping, such as toys.
4. Find the right room temperature for a comfortable sleep.
Keep the nursery temperature comfortably cool – or warm – for your baby. Once you find that temperature that your baby likes, keep it consistently at that level every night to signal to your baby’s body that it is sleeping time.
5. Keep yourself calm and relaxed at night.
Babies have a keen sense of the energy around them. If you are stressed out, your baby feels this energy and may also exhibit signs of stress. This does not promote an environment conducive to the baby’s good sleep through the night.
Try to settle on a nighttime routine or habits for yourself as well that will help you feel calm. This will rub off on your little one and will ensure good sleep for you and your baby.
6. Solicit the cooperation of the whole family.
Oftentimes, noises around the house might startle your baby and wake them up. And that would be very annoying, especially if you’ve already finally gotten them to sleep!
Make sure to bring the whole family on board regarding the sleeping schedule you set for your baby. Better yet, designate a quite zone around or near the nursery where noise level should be kept at the minimum to avoid startling your baby and disturbing their sleep.
7. Train your baby to self-soothe.
As already mentioned above, it is normal for babies to wake up in the middle of the night. If you are sure that your baby is not hungry or uncomfortable, just spend a few moments with them until they go back to sleep on their own. Eventually, your babies will learn to rely less on your presence and soothe themselves on their own until they are able to get back to sleep.
8. Be patient with yourself and with your baby.
It will take a while and lots of sleepless nights for you and your baby before your little bundle of joy settles on his or her sleep pattern. Know that this is natural and that all moms go through this, so be patient. You are not being a bad mother for not getting your baby to sleep as quickly as you’d like. Just be patient with the process, and stick to your plan. You’ll eventually get the result you like, as well as a good night’s sleep.
If you need to, get help.
Following these tips can form part of your baby’s sleep plan. It can definitely be overwhelming, especially for first-time moms. After all, when you bring your baby home, there are a million things to do that will demand your energy and attention.
But just remember, you are not alone here. Discuss your plan with your partner, family, and circle of support. They may even be able to offer some suggestions to help you manage your baby’s sleep especially through the night. They can also offer support for you to carry out this plan, with each one of you having a role or responsibility in implementing various aspects.
And if you feel you need further help and support, don’t hesitate to look for it or ask for help. Your search may just lead you to consider the services of a doula to help you have that constant physical, emotional, and informational support and presence from a trained professional outside of your family before, during, and after childbirth. Having a doula by your side as you navigate your motherhood journey can help you gain more confidence in taking care not just of your baby but of yourself as well.
Contact us today at Northeast Doulas. We have been providing professional doula services to families in Greenwich, Westchester & NYC for over 18 years. We’ll gladly walk alongside you to help implement your goals.