10 TIPS on HOW TO GET YOUR BABY TO SLEEP
Sleep deprivation is a common phenomenon in parents with new-borns. Sleep is the one factor that keeps you sane, alert and calm throughout the day. Lack of sleep has a negative influence on your physical, emotional, and social wellbeing. Fatigued babies are also affected in the same way and are often too tired to learn the necessary positive coping mechanisms needed to deal with stress.
The following tips may be useful for you:
- UNDERSTANDING THE FOURTH TRIMESTER:
The fourth trimester is the 12-week period immediately after you have had your baby. The human new born is very immature when compared to any other new born in the animal kingdom. It is a time of great physical and emotional change as your baby adjusts to being outside the womb, and you adjust to your new life as a parent. New borns’ only truly “become babies” after about 3 months. It is thus very important, during the fourth trimester, to help babies make a gentle adjustment to their new world outside the womb. The sleep environment for your new born baby should mimic the womb environment. The nurtureOne nest was designed and developed to meet these needs. The nurtureOne nesting cushion assists with a snug position for sleeping (like the experience they have in utero) which also encourages calm and relaxation. In other words, your environment for your new born should promote a sense of calmness, quiet and simulate and can also mimic the rhythmic movement of the foetus in utero without too many bright lights and distractions. This can make a huge difference to how the baby sleeps, feels, and reacts to everyday events and stimuli.
- SLEEP CYCLES:
Understanding your new born sleep cycle can assist you in having a clearer appreciation of their behaviour. During the light sleep cycle, your baby will tend to wake easily from noise while during the deep sleep cycle they will sleep heavily. Be aware of babies sleep cycles; 45-50 minutes from drowsy to light and into deep sleep. The period of deep sleep is vital for the recuperation of their bodies and their growth and development.
Creating boundaries for your new born, gives them a sense of security similar to the womb environment. The nurtureOne nesting cushion creates such boundaries (mimicking the fourth trimester). Swaddling can also meet these needs. However, muscle development occurs through movement and so it is recommended to swaddle with this in mind. Some babies prefer not to be swaddled while others want to be. If your baby needs to be swaddled, swaddle them in a stretchy cotton blanket before you put them down to sleep. This will keep them snug and contained and prevent them from waking due to their body’s own jerking movements when falling into the deep sleep cycle.
Encourage self-regulating sleep by offering a sleep soother. This will limit separation anxiety from the mother, which occurs usually between 4 and 6 months. The sleep soother in turn encourages independent sleep whether co-sleeping or sleeping in their own crib. Examples of sleep soothers include a dummy/pacifier or a blanket or even his or her nurtureOne nesting cushion as it becomes part of the sleep routine. If your baby needs more assistance with self-regulation, then a weighted soother can be beneficial.
- FEEDING & SLEEP PREPARATION:
Make sure your baby is not hungry before they go to sleep. Also ensure that their nappy does not need changing. In other words, ensure their basic needs are met. It is recommended that the environment where your baby sleeps is dark (use block out curtains). Keep any other form of stimulation away from your baby’s sleep environment (such as a mobile over the sleep area – rather have this over the change table). Ensure that your baby is not too hot or too cold.
Here is a guideline for how warm your baby should be . It is based on a baby wearing a nappy, a vest and Babygro. It is advised that your new born is dressed in 100% cotton and has 100% cotton covers (cotton is breathable).
(Source: Foundation for the study of infant Deaths)
12- 14 degrees 4 blankets
14 – 16 degrees 3 blankets
16 – 18 degrees 2 blankets
18 – 20 degrees 1 blankets
20 – 24 degrees Sheet only
(Source: Foundation for the study of infant Deaths)
6. BATH & MASSAGE
At night, bath your baby close to bedtime and massage their whole body with soothing baby oil. The heat of the bath and the deep pressure of the massage have a calming effect on babies and make them drowsy, which will help them to fall asleep quicker.
Holding your baby, while humming softly and rocking them rhythmically will encourage sleep (mimicking the fourth trimester). If you are putting your baby down, remember to put their bottom down first, then their head, otherwise they may wake from an innate reflex. This is part of the calming reflex and mimics the movement your baby experienced in utero.
8. SLEEP ROUTINE:
Try to establish a sleep routine for your baby from early on. This will prevent an overload of stimulation which can affect your baby’s sleep. Introducing a sleep association assists with establishing appropriate sleeping routines. It is important to be realistic, adopt a flexible approach and accept that you will have “bad days” from time to time.
During your baby’s wake cycles make sure that they get enough movement. Activities like going for a walk in the pram or in a kangaroo pouch or sling, communicating with them while in the upright position, and rocking them for example. Remember to support your baby’s head if it still appears slightly floppy.
10. RAISE THE HEAD:
Reflux can contribute to lack of sleep in babies and it is advisable to consult a medical practitioner in this regard. To assist your baby with this, try to keep them in a more upright position during feeding and after feeds. The nurtureOne nesting cushion can also be of assistance here as you can elevate your baby to a good position using the nurtureOne nest. Please have a look at this link for more information on reflux –https://nurtureone.co.za/how-can-the-nurtureone-nesting-cushion-be-used-during-reflux-management/