Getting a newborn into a routine can be extremely helpful for new parents. A baby who is in a routine is normally one that is happier and more content as the routine foresees its needs. The result is a baby that is well rested and well fed, leaving parents time to sleep themselves as well as enjoy their new baby who is more settled throughout the day. Grizzling and fussiness is kept to a minimum as the newborn will be far more relaxed.
However, while routines are there to help, sometimes they can be tricky to implement. This is only exacerbated by the fact that when a newborn arrives, the parents are sleep deprived and coming to terms with a major shift in their lives. Additionally, new mums have to cope with the huge raft of hormones racing through their bodies too.
Here, in this blog, we look to make implementing routines easier by explaining why newborns struggle to sleep for long stretches of time. We also suggest a number of products that can help your baby sleep soundly that also help reduce SIDS.
Why Babies Don’t Sleep Well At First
Understanding why babies don’t always sleep well when they are newborns is essential. By knowing what causes a baby difficulty in getting to sleep, parents can address any issues in future. It then means that new parents are capable of amending a routine for their own baby’s specific needs.
- Over stimulation
One of the main reasons that newborns are not good sleepers is they are learning how to live outside the womb. The result is that the majority of babies are over stimulated. They therefore become tired far more quickly than new parents realise. This culminates in a baby who is so overtired that getting to sleep is incredibly difficult for them. Imagine times that you sleep well - do you sleep well when you are relaxed and well rested? Or do you sleep better when you are stressed out with lots of things on your mind? The same is true for your baby. Try to calm them down before putting them in their crib for a sleep.
- Day night confusion
Newborns do not understand the difference between day or night yet, which can make them bad sleepers. To help them sleep better, it is a good idea to try to get them used to the idea of light meaning play, and darkness meaning sleep. Always try to put them down for any naps in a darkened room and if you need to change or feed them in the night, try to keep lights as dim as possible.
- They’re not feeding well
Finally, babies need to be fed well to sleep well. Again, think about when you tend to sleep better. Is it when you have eaten well throughout the day, or when you have skipped meals and are thirsty? The same will be the case for your baby.
However, be aware that feeding can be a big comfort to newborns, which relaxes them instantly. They then have a tendency to nod off and it is tempting to let them sleep on you. Yet, it can be better to rouse them so that they finish their feed properly to encourage a better sleep pattern. With a breastfed baby this can be hard to ascertain but a good feed should usually last longer than 15 minutes for a baby only a few days or weeks old.
Products That Can Help Introduce A Safe Sleep Routine:
There are a number of products that can be bought that can help you introduce a safe sleep routine more easily.
Dummies can be quite controversial when it comes to sleep patterns and newborns. In fact, the NHS recommends only introducing one after 6 weeks when they have got used to the technique of feeding.
On the plus side, what is great about dummies is that they can comfort a baby without the need of their mother’s breast or a bottle. Dummies can therefore stop newborns from comfort feeding when they are fraught with overstimulation. It has also been seen that dummies can reduce SIDS.
- Angel Baby Box
The Angel Baby Box is a multi-functional baby crib that can help parents implement a sleep pattern more easily into their baby’s life. This product is great as it can double up as a playmat, whilst also being a place that can be folded up for your baby to sleep. It is safe, non toxic and luxurious providing your baby with an environment that helps encourage your child to relax. The added convenience of this product is that it can double up as a travel cot for whenever you leave the house. As your baby will know its smells, it will find going to sleep in new places easier too.
- Sleep Sacks
Sleep sacks, for the correct age, can be a good idea to introduce to your baby’s routine. They are a good cue or indicator to your baby as to what is going to happen when you put it on them. Your baby will soon learn that when he or she is being dressed in a sleep sack, they will be put into their cot to go to sleep. Cues are one the best ways you can help them learn how to go to sleep.
Safe Sleep Routines for Newborns - The Bottom Line
Above are a few suggestions on how to implement a safe sleep routine for your baby. However, it is important to remember that every baby is different, but so are their parents. One of the best things you can do to help your baby sleep is be a happy and relaxed mother or father for them. For, if a mother or father is stressed when putting them down for a sleep, the reality is that the baby will find it difficult to relax too.
Bearing that in mind, have confidence in your abilities as a parent and remember that your baby adores you. Also remember that this is a time of huge change for both them and you. Mothers in particular have to deal with the big change in their bodies - whether they are breastfeeding or not. So be kind to yourself and try not to add to the pressure you will undoubtedly be feeling already.
Parenthood is a continuously steep learning curve, you won’t get everything right straight away - and that includes how quickly you can introduce a routine. Some babies will take to it quickly, others will take a little while longer.