Newborn Sleep Advice from Certified Sleep Consultant Jessica Petrus Aird, owner of Burgeoning Bud Postpartum Doula and Pediatric Sleep Consulting
1. Try to get your baby on an Eat-Play-Sleep routine as best you can
- You can start this from day one. Know that the wake windows for babies 8 weeks and under are really only about an hour at a time.
- So that usually looks like: Feed (30-40 minutes), Play (10 minutes of Tummy Time on the floor or on your stomach, followed by 5 minutes of diaper change, etc.), then Sleep.
2. Try to get your baby lying in the Supine position (laying flat) and on a safe-sleeping surface like a firm crib mattress or bassinet
- Some babies are naturals at this while others need LOTS of practice. But remember that lying flat on their back wasn’t how they slept before they were earthside! It’s a learned skill. Try to give your baby every opportunity at nap or bedtime to try falling asleep in the crib or bassinet mattress instead of in your arms, on you, in the swing, or in the stroller. This helps them to learn the association of sleep time with their safe sleep space.
3. Newborn phase is HARD! Cut yourselves some slack
- The newborn stage of the first 12 weeks is ALL about survival. Some babies will naturally start out as strong sleepers, and others will really struggle with every nap. Remember that it’s all likely in the wide-range of normal for this age. As time goes on, your baby’s circadian rhythms will start to develop as well as their ability to sleep more independently. Often by 12 weeks, many babies are ready to start sleeping long stretches at night; maybe even all through the night! Until then, do what you can to prioritize your own sleep by asking your community for help with food, household chores, or hiring a postpartum doula. It truly takes that village!
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