Those first few weeks with a new baby in the house – who didn’t come with a manual – can be very tough. Between the endless feeding and lack of sleep, things can really start to feel like they are caving in.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. By employing some of my little tips and tricks you can start to establish healthy sleep habits in those early weeks that you will see the benefit of in the months and years ahead.
I can’t tell you how wonderful swaddling is and it works. It helps a new baby feel secure in their new environment. It also protects them from being woken by their startle reflex and also their hands – which they have no control over! You will find lots of videos on YouTube that show you how to swaddle – here is one – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6BdAtlV79g You can also purchase swaddling blankets in the likes of Mothercare. Please ensure you dress your baby appropriately for the bed to avoid overheating.
Put your baby to sleep on their backs only. Ensure that their sleep environment is a safe, secure flat surface only. Cots, Moses baskets & cribs are recommended. No loose blankets, toys, teddy’s or cot bumpers are to be placed in this sleeping environment. Bed-sharing is not recommended.
This will help them get their nutritional needs during the day and so help limit their requirement for feeding through the night. This does take time to establish however with a good feeding structure through the day you will see the rewards at night.
Never allow a baby to sleep through a feed. You will only see the impact of this through the night where they try to make up on the nutritional needs that they have missed. Always wake a baby during the day to feed.
This will help avoid creating sleep associations between feeding and sleep. Practice a feed, play, sleep cycle.
If you find this has come to your door simply give your baby a little chance to settle themselves. Often by giving your baby a little space they will have settled in minutes. Study their cry’s and get to know the difference between each one.
Give yourself a break and remind yourself that you are amazing! Those first few weeks can be very tough but it will come together.
Erica Hargaden is a certified Child Sleep Consultant and Mum of 3. Through her private practice, Babogue works with families 1:1 and via her online program The Sleep Series to bring the Gift of Sleep to as many families as possible. To find out more about Erica & Babogue check out www.babogue.com, @babogue_sleep, email email@example.com or call +353 86 8260887