Sleep is fundamental to the heath and well being of both parents and baby. Sleep is vital for your babies growth and development but your sleep is important too! You need to be alert and attentive. We all know sleep deprivation can have a massive effect on our mood so make sure you prioritise both parents and baby’s sleep. The average newborn sleeps between 16-20 hours in a 24hr cycle. But this is never all in one go and doesn’t follow a pattern, particularly in the first few weeks and months. If you’re struggling with getting you’re baby to settle then here are some great tips for newborn sleep:
Know your 5 S’s
Have you read Dr Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s? They might be just the thing you’re looking for, particularly if your baby is less than three months old. It’s been well documented that the so called fourth trimester can mean that some babies find it difficult to transition into life on the outside. Some babies need more help to settle and soothe themselves. By emulating conditions in the womb, you provide comfort and much needed calm for upset babies, and therefore help them to sleep better. Da..Dahhh by no coincidence, this is where ewan comes into play; Baby sleep soothers such as ewan the dream sheep are an ideal way to recreate these womb conditions by emitting soothing womb sounds and a calming pink glow. Dr Karp calls these the 5S’s and here they are:
Shushing- has to be done loudly, and if done correctly will reproduce sounds similar to those in the womb.
Swinging- the motion soothes and calms, and is the reason why babies often fall asleep in the car or out in the pram. It’s thought that swinging best replicates the movements baby feels in the womb when mum is walking.
Sucking- some babies have a very strong sucking reflex, so sucking on a dummy, teat or nipple can be comforting and soothing for many.
Side- it is not recommended that you put your baby to sleep on her side, but some babies find it of comfort to be positioned in this way. You can buy special cushions that support your baby’s side.
Swaddled- babies who are swaddled are thought to be soothed due to the fact that it suppresses the startle reflex. See this post for more information.
Dr Karp believes that incorporating these elements into your settling routine works wonders and I have to say that I’ve tried it too, with success. Of course, all babies are different but there is lots of research that supports his theories.
Get a routine
Get into a good routine. Bath, Bottle/boob, Bed. Dr Ewan’s 3 B’s haha, slightly tongue in cheek but you get the idea. It’s never too early or too late to have a good sleep routine, and that goes for the whole family. Make sure your little one knows when it’s bedtime, and don’t be tempted to skip it for any reason. Even if you’re running late, a shortened version can still work just as well and as long as the order of events remains the same baby should be settled and calm when it comes to going down for a sleep.
Make your house the perfect environment for sleep; draw the curtains (blackout blinds are good for summer evenings), make sure the bedroom is the correct temperature and turn down the loud TV. Some babies are light sleepers and even if you think your baby is not, there are so many things that can wake them. So look at your evenings and assess how important sleep is to you all. You can obscure household noises by using a baby sleep soother as part of your bedtime routine. Make sure bedtime is at a reasonable hour. Make sure they have been fed, have a clean nappy and are in comfortable clothing. And most importantly, make sure you prioritise sleeping.
Keep the house calm. Keep it dark. And keep baby asleep! If your baby is not sleeping well, make it a priority to find out why. For more baby sleep advice contact your health visitor.
Dr Harvey Karp – “The Happiest babies on the Block”