Life with a newborn often feels like a personal challenge. You’re learning how to keep your little one healthy — personally tracking every diaper, nap and meal — and you’re doing it all on very, very little sleep. Meanwhile, your baby has zero concept of 3:30am versus p.m.
To your little bundle of joy, any time feels like a great time to be awake. However, there is a way to get your Zzz’s back — if you’re willing to teach your baby that there really is a difference between day and night. Wait — that’s something you have to teach? Yes! Read on and learn how easy it is in these three steps.
1. Daytime has lights and sounds. It’s so, so tempting to dim the lights and tiptoe around when your little one finally falls asleep during the day. Especially if you’re planning to get some of your own personal stuff done! But try to resist the urge to create a soundproof cocoon during daylight hours. Start your baby’s sleep habits off on the right foot and teach them that the daytime is for busy and noisy. They should nap several times a day, but it doesn’t have to be pin-drop quiet. Go ahead and talk on the phone, get stuff done around the house and live your day! Be sure to keep the shades open too. The natural daylight may encourage your little one to take shorter snoozes during the day — which can result to longer stretches of sleep at night — and will also reinforce the daytime feeling when they wake up and see light.
2. The night is dark and quiet. First, try to establish a bedtime routine that teaches baby that nighttime sleep is about to begin. When your baby wakes in the night to eat, try picking her up without any other sound other than shushing or soft whispers. Keep the lights off if you can. If that’s not possible, just keep them very dim. After the feeding and diapering, go right back to swaddling, quiet rocking, swaying or whatever soothing technique your baby enjoys. If your baby is awake and playful, keep the mood mellow, the lights low and the sounds very quiet. Don’t play with your baby, simply continue soothing and creating a calm environment until she finally drifts back to sleep.
3. The morning is exciting! When the baby wakes up at the time of day you call morning, make it exciting! Open the shades, turn on the lights and greet your baby in your normal speaking voice. Show her that the morning light means that activity is starting again in the house. It may seem silly to do this with a newborn, but they really are soaking up everything around them.
What newborn sleep tips were most helpful to you? Tweet us @BritandCo!
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