7 Key Ingredients to a Good Night’s Sleep for Your Newborn

by Julie Trotter, Birth and Bereavement Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Newborn Care Specialist
 


Sleeping and getting your baby on a schedule are two of the most common subjects parents seem to have questions about. There are many scheduling options and philosophies on how to get your baby to sleep through the night. Read on to learn our tips.
 

 


I recommend you start your baby on a predictable routine between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Additionally, here are 7 tips to helping your baby get a good night's rest.

  1. Create a daily routine. Be sure you are feeding your newborn every 2-3 hours during the day to ensure baby is getting enough calories during the day and not wanting those calories at night. Every 2-3 hours means from the start of one feeding to the start of the next. For example, if baby ate at 7am, he would need to start eating again between 9am and 10am.
     
  2. Wake baby to feed during the day if it’s been longer than 3 hours since the start of the last feeding. This may be contrary to advice you’ve heard of “never wake a sleeping baby”, but if you leave your baby to do a long stretch of sleep during the day, you will not get that long stretch to be at night.  
     
  3. Purchase a sound machine to keep on during naps and nighttime sleep. Conair Sound Therapy found on Amazon is an inexpensive, great sound machine that does the trick. Be sure to have it 2-3 feet from baby’s crib and turned up loud enough so you can close the nursery door and still hear it when you are standing on the outside of the door. Note: Be sure the timer button on the side is OFF.
     
  4. Swaddle tightly with both arms down to baby’s sides. Swaddling turns off the “moro” (startle) reflex and flailing arms, creating a more calm and restful baby. Not sure how to swaddle? Check out our super easy swaddling technique below.
     
  5. Choose a designated bedtime for baby between 7:00pm and 8:00pm. Putting baby in bed early will ensure he does not get overtired or overstimulated.  
     
  6. After putting your baby to bed at the designated time, treat all subsequent feedings through the night as nighttime feedings. This means the feedings should be done in as much darkness as possible with the least amount of stimulation possible. You want baby to realize nighttime is for sleeping and daytime is for interacting. 
     
  7. Once baby has reached its original birthweight and the doctor has said it is ok to no longer wake baby at nighttime for feedings, allow baby to wake on his own for the nighttime feedings. This will help baby establish his own body’s circadian rhythm and pattern instead of creating a habit of being woken every 3 hours throughout the night.


Bookmark this article for future reference and if you've found these tips useful, please share this post with other new parents. I hope this helps you jumpstart your way to having the happiest baby on the block and a restful night's sleep.

If you want to learn more and are located in the metro Atlanta area, you can arrange a private in-home lesson from Parent Nurture to get one-on-one, hands on experience personalized to your specific questions and concerns. The newborn care specialists at Parent Nurture also offer postpartum/overnight care to help new parents and babies rest easily and settle into their new routine as a family. Review the details of our New Parent / Baby Care Package and reserve services here.