What can new parents expect from their newborns sleep patterns?

What can new parents expect from their newborns sleep patterns?

There is no greater feeling like a new parent cuddling into their newborn baby. The overload of love and connection flowing between the parent - baby duos is unexplainable. The honeymoon stage of newborn parenting is undeniably bliss. At first your sleepy baby gives the illusion of sleep all day, wake only to feed and cuddle to sleep cycles. Parenting appears to be easy......right?
Until, one day, we find ourselves in a bit of a frazzle, up all night, rocking and bouncing, running through the list of “what have we changed and why is this happening?” scenarios. 
The truth is, there is a very strong chance that YOU haven’t changed a thing BUT your baby’s sleep has.........
 
Thing is, baby was born with a jet pack of maternal melatonin. This is transmitted in vitro before baby is born. It makes your baby very sleepy in the first couple of weeks; thereafter, begins to wear off. Baby becomes more alert to their surroundings and harder to drop off to sleep if proper sleep hygiene has not been met. Sleep hygiene refers to external factors that play into how and where a baby learns to fall asleep.
 
A Gentle hands-on sleep plan is absolutely necessary at this point. 
Healthy sleep habits are a learnt behaviour and practice is essential.
There is a tiny hand full of babies who sleep like little angles from the start without any glitches what so ever; however for the rest of us we need to layer our new babies in a gradual introduction of healthy sleep habits. This takes time, patience and an understanding that these tiny little creates are “learning” a new skill and with that learning we have to remember consistency key.
 
To start we need to lay a foundation for healthy sleep and that involves the introduction of sleep hygiene, this in short means that we are going to create a safe sleep environment that promotes the best possible sleep a baby can achieve at any given time.
 

Good sleep hygiene consists of:

 
  • A firm breathable baby mattress in cot, bassinet or bedside co-sleeper
  • no loose blankets, sheets or toys in the cot until 6months plus
  • no cot bumpers – even the “breathable”
  • No bed sharing as this can cause suffocation, overheating and becoming wedged/crushed
  • Room sharing – IS recommend for babies up till 1 yrs. This will automatically sync parents sleep patterns with your baby. Closeness and bonding can be achieved through room sharing in a safe and controlled manner.
To start, our new babies are going to be on a 24hr cycle, meaning they will eat, sleep and poop around the clock. It is only from around 3-6 weeks that we will begin to notice a distinct difference in behaviour during the day and over night in our babies. This is the result of their “body clocks” developing. Their body clock is entrained by food, light and social interaction. It is really important from this stage to carry out a predictable and consistent day-night routine.
Tiny baby routines should not depend on a minute by minute timer however on a predictable series of events in order to satisfy your baby’s instinctive need for consistency in order to feel safe and secure.
 
It is also important to keep their awake windows in mind. These windows increase a few minutes every week as babies developing internal systems mature. For example, a 0-3 week old can only handle a 1 hr awake window. Anything more than this will result in a grumpy overtired newborn. However as your baby grows so will their tolerance to being awake development. The trick is to keep to the recommended awake windows and to slowly adjust according to their age.
 
 
The best way to encourage better newborn sleep is to actively lay the foundations slowly, gently and consistently. Ways in which we can do this is:
  • Introduce a wind down cuddle before each nap. Give lots of hands on attention letting baby know they are safe, loved and never alone.
  • A firm swaddle can do wonders to calm an over stimulated baby. Yes they may fight it however, once the sympathetic nervous system has calmed down through the deep pressure of the swaddle, baby will become calm and actually enjoy the swaddle for many weeks to come. YayBaby have stock of both flat and fitted swaddled perfect for the first couple of weeks when swaddling is greatly needed in order to calm that sympathetic nervous system.
  • White noise is a great way to keep newborn babies sleep environment consistent. As baby wakes through their sleep cycles the sound of the white noise will ease baby back to sleep. In fact, white noise can be used all the way up until a year.
  • An absolute must in newborn sleep is to support them while learning how to sleep in their own cots. The trick is to rock or hold them until they are drowsy but awake and only then placing them into the cot. This is where most new parents walk away and baby wakes. The trick here is to pat baby gently off to sleep. This can take as long as 20 minutes to start, however as baby becomes familiar and confident within the consistency of the nap routine will shorten considerably.
 
In some cases our newborn babies are just not getting enough sleep to start. Factors that contribute to this is:
 
  • Keeping babies awake for too long between naps which directly affect the duration of sleep in a negative way
  • Allowing baby to cat nap which never really gives the restorative sleep that their growing bodies critically need
  • A too busy environment causing overstimulation
  • Lack of sleep hygiene and proper parental support
  • A dysfunctional/ unpredictable routine
 

 How do you know if your newborn is getting enough sleep?

 
First and for most, a baby who sleeps well tends to eat well and flourishes in regards to meeting milestones. Our babies grow and organise brain activity during sleep. This results in a content baby, one who is easily pleased, less fussy and an absolute pleasure to parent. In a nut shell........ sleep is critical in the development of a young baby, however , HOW we teach baby to sleep is even more important. Our aim is to GENTLY instil a predictable sleep routine that allows baby the hands on security while gently reducing our input!!!! Magic!
The science behind sleep is awesome!!!!
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Nicci Proome is a certified Montessori directress, infant stimulation specialist, pediatric sleep consultant and safe sleep ambassador. She is passionate about empowering new and old parents striving towards being the best possible parents they can be through education, workshops and one on one mentoring.  
"Better sleep equals better parenting."

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We are proudly stocking some of Bedtime Baby Bliss' incredible sleep aids and soothers, including the Duudims Comforter, Baby Burrito Swaddle and her gorgeous (light weight, 4 way cotton stretch) arms up swaddle (SWAG).

 

Nicci offers consultations one on one, as well as via email and telephone. To get in touch with Nicci, you may contact her via the following channels:

Cell phone number - 082 565 1956

Email address - nicci@bedtimebabybliss.co.za

Intagram- @bedtimebabybliss

Facebook - www.facebook.com/bedtimebabybliss

Webpage - www.bedtimebabybliss.com

 

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