Tips for helping new baby sleep

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    How can I help my new baby to sleep?
    • If at all possible place you baby awake in the crib so that he can self-soothe himself to sleep. Young babies are very sleepy so sometimes you may not be able to and that is fine, but when you can, do.

    • If your baby is falling asleep while you feed him, remove the bottle/breast before he is asleep. If he wakes and hasn’t finished continue feeding, removing your breast or bottle each time his eyes get droopy until he has finished his feed. If he falls asleep while you are winding him then just wake him a little before you put him back in the crib so he is aware he is being put to bed.

    • Don’t use a soother as a sleep aid, it is perfectly fine for spacing feeds or to calm your baby but if used as a sleep aid your baby may wake frequently looking for it during the night.

    • Remember babies can be noisy sleepers, therefore if your baby cries while he is asleep, count to 10 before you go to him as he may be just dreaming. Don’t worry about moaning and groaning while he is asleep, if he is in distress he will cry.

    • Swaddling can be very beneficial to a small baby as it can recreate the warmth and tightness of the womb also, new born babies suffer a lot with “startle reflex” this is lots of jerky movements which can wake your baby. However if you are swaddling ensure you are swaddling your baby correctly, be sure your baby is not too hot and your baby can move his legs. If possible ask your public health nurse to check your swaddle to ensure you are doing it correctly.

    • If you are co-sleeping with your baby that is absolutely fine but again try not to let your baby fall asleep while feeding if you are feeding on demand during the night. If planning to co-sleep check out the sidsireland website for best practice.

    [b:agqtoznn]My baby groans a lot during the night does this mean he is hungry?
    ]- No – small babies spend most of the night in a light sleep, therefore they can moan and groan, whinge, move, cry on and off etc during the night. You should leave your baby alone while he is doing this. If your baby is uncomfortable, hungry or there is something wrong he will cry constantly until you tend to him. Babies can also give a cry while they are asleep, therefore it is important to count to 10 before you respond to your baby, if you baby is still crying after the count go and ensure everything is ok.

    When should I introduce a routine?
    It is important you get to know your baby first so relax for the first few weeks and give you baby a chance to get used to the world. I find between 6-8 weeks is a good time to introduce a routine.

    What routine should I use?
    When trying to get your baby into a routine you need to look at the needs of your family and ask yourself the following questions;
    – What time will I need to get up for work?
    – What time do I need to bring/collect the other children to/from school?
    – What time will I get home from work?
    Look at the time you need to start your day at, if you need your baby to be up at 7 then your babies bedtime should be 12 hours previous. You should always give your baby the opportunity of sleeping 12 hours at night.
    However if you do not return home until 7pm in the evening it will not be possible for you baby to go to bed a 7 so an 7.30-7.30 or an 8-8 might suit better.
    Whichever routine you choose the main nap of the day should be approx 5 hours after wakening, and ideally last for 2/2.5 hours. This is the middle of your baby’s day therefore it is the most beneficial time for your baby to sleep. Babies under 1 will generally need a little nap in the morning to get them through to mid-day and again another short nap mid afternoon to get them through to bedtime.

    When structuring your feeds, try and ensure that you baby is not always going to sleep after a feed, a baby of 3 months should be able to go 3-4 hours without a feed. At 3 months if your baby is having 4 good feeds during the day he may well get through the rest of the night on 1 feed at 10/11pm however many will still need a feed at 3am until they have been weaned onto solids.

    To encourage your child into a routine you will need to start the day at the same time every day, therefore if you feel a 7-7 routine is best for you, wake your child and feed your child at 7am, if your child wakes before 7 try and not feed him until it is 7am. If you have a set start time in the morning over a bit of time the rest of the day will become much more structured. Initially you will need to wake your child from certain naps to ensure he is getting his naps at the best time of the day.

    Why does my child always wake after 30 minutes?

    This is a very common issue especially during the day. The reason your child wakes is, yourchild is changing sleep cycle after 30 minutes and has not mastered the knack of going from one sleep cycle to the next. You will need to look into your child’s sleep aids, look at what your child needs to settle to sleep. If your child is very dependent on a soother/feeding/company to go off to sleep your child will probably wake after 30minutes as he will have sensed that something is missing and need this back in place before he can go back to sleep. The problem during the day is after 30 minutes your child does not feel tired enough to go back to sleep therefore he/she will remain awake. To break this, your child will need to learn how to settle himself to sleep without any aids. When he is going to sleep easily without any crutches, you should spend time trying to resettle him when he awakes, (at least 1 hour) this will help him learn how to get from one sleep cycle to the next without arousing fully.

    When should I move my child to a cot?
    2.5/3 is the ideal age to move a child into a bed. If your child is too young he will not understand that he needs to stay in bed. If he can get out he will. As soon as he wakes either during the night or in the morning your child’s initial instinct will be to hop out of bed.
    A child under 2 rarely will do something for rewards, they will accept rewards for jobs well done etc but if you try and get them to do something for a reward they will not understand what you want them to do and therefore will not be able to carry out the task. At night time you will spend agonising hours putting your child back to bed and probably end up losing your patience. For this reason it is worth waiting until your child is old enough to understand the rewards system and the concept that they need to do something in order to gaina reward, this normally happens when your child is about 2.5/3 years.

    Thanks to Edel at Baby Sleep Academy for providing Mumstown with this information and please see here for more: … 4QodnFgAPw

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