For most mothers with infants, sleep becomes the most precious and most elusive thing in the world.
Raising a baby is tiring enough but when you do that in a perpetually sleep-deprived state life can seem very hard and the days very long.
To make things worse, there is no shortage of information and misinformation on how much sleep your newborn needs, what is the best way to get them to sleep, what to do, what not to do. For already overwhelmed parents, this information overload can lead to more anxiety.
Having been there myself in the not so distant past and having then trained to be a fully certified Gentle Sleep Coach, I can feel your anxiety and I may be able to help you objectively address your baby’s and your sleep concerns.
First up, let’s look at some facts:
- Your newborn will sleep as much as he needs to and will get the amount of sleep that his body requires.
- Newborn sleep cycles are much shorter in the early months. In fact, naps and night-time sleep won’t even begin to evolve until they get a little older.
- Waking every few hours is normal and essential for your newborn, as he needs to eat frequently and wake as a means to have his primary needs met.
- Your infant will naturally move towards longer stretches of sleep by 3 to 4 months.
Sleep is about your baby’s maturity but it also requires a bit of nurturing on the parent’s part. So what can you as parents do in these initial months?
YOU DO WHAT WORKS.
Does your newborn baby nurse to sleep? That’s perfectly fine. She will only nap in the swing? No problem. She wants to eat every 90 minutes during the day? Great. You really are not going to create any “bad” habits in these first few months. Do what works for you and your baby now, so that you can rest and your baby can get the sleep (and feedings) she needs. You will not create any “BAD” habits in these initial months.
The good news is this phase is temporary. It’s not going to be long before your baby is sleeping longer stretches, and taking naps on a schedule.
These newborn months come with their own set of rules. During these times, babies go through a period of rapid growth. While it is normal for babies to wake during the night, some of them wake up more than the others. There are several gentle and natural strategies you can employ which will help establish good sleep habits for your baby. These strategies will help improve the length and quality of your baby’s sleep, and lead to better sleep for both you and your baby.