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Newborn Sleep Essentials

Newborn Sleep Essentials

Becoming a parent for the first time is the most fabulous and terrifying thing that will happen to you! Fabulous because you have a beautiful new baby, and terrifying because she doesn’t come with a handbook (or a volume control!)

While your ante-natal class will prepare you for the birth, what you really need to be prepared for is the first night at home with your baby. Your baby will start crying and may not fall asleep for hours! Once feeding is established, getting baby sleeping well quickly becomes the number one priority.

New parents are bombarded with contradictory advice......and don’t know what will help their baby sleep. Lots of parents choose to go with the flow and follow no advice, but sleep is too important to leave to chance!

Fortunately, there are a few simple guidelines that will help your baby settle more easily, sleep longer and sleep through the night sooner. A baby who gets plenty of sleep generally cries a lot less too.

A simple routine

Essential for getting baby to settle is recognizing your baby’s tired signs. If you miss the tired signs, your baby can quickly get overtired and be much harder to settle. Ask your Plunket nurse for their ‘Sleepytime’ video, which shows the tired signs.

Common signs your baby is ready for sleep include jerky leg movements, yawning, grizzling, eye rubbing and facial grimacing. Swaddle your baby and put her back into bed as soon as you see ANY tired sign.

The Sleep Store recommends the simple routine of Feed, Awake Time (Play), Sleep. Using this routine will mean you avoid the temptation to feed your baby to sleep, and learn other techniques to settle her.

It also gives you much needed confidence that you know if your baby is hungry or tired.

Whatever it takes

When your baby is newborn, we recommend you do whatever it takes to get your baby to sleep......even if she needs lots of help, such as rocking, to nod off.

There is plenty of time to teach self-settling. It's far more important in the early days that your baby is well rested and you feel able to calm crying and get your baby to sleep. Being a new parent is exhausting, and you need to get some rest when your baby is sleeping too!!!

Swaddling is another essential skill for new parents. Swaddling is the ancient art of baby wrapping. It replicates the snugness and warmth baby was used to in the womb and ensures that her ‘moro’ reflex (flailing arms) doesn’t wake her up. Swaddled babies generally enjoy an extra hour or two sleep per sleep. The majority of babies love being swaddled but they like it done right – a wrap that is too loose or comes undone easily will not improve sleep.

The Sleep Store newborn sleep essentials

  • Recognise your baby's tired signs & avoid your baby getting over-tired

  • Swaddle your baby for all sleeps

  • Use the Feed, Awake Time, Sleep routine When-ever possible put baby into bed awake so she learns to settle herself

  • But help your newborn to sleep if she struggles to settle

  • Resist getting baby up at her first grizzle – give her the opportunity to resettle.

  • Play loud white noise - your baby is used to constant noise louder than a vacuum.

  • More sleep during the day will mean better sleep at night.

  • Ensure your baby is sleeping safely

  • Use a dummy if it helps!!!


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