Whether it is your first time bringing a baby home with you from the hospital or you have done it before, it is always nerve racking. You are probably overwhelmed with emotions, exhaustion, and often times questions.
You have this amazing support network when you are in the hospital. Leaving that environment can feel like you are leaving a safety net before you are ready. On the other hand, you hardly get any sleep when you are at the hospital. Staff members, with the best intentions, are constantly entering the room to check on various things. This can be tiring and overwhelming.
When a lot of parents get home, they have this feeling of “What do I do now?”
Sleep For A Newborn – Three Steps to Focus On
Babies are never too young to focus on cues to help them settle into healthy sleep habits. Newborns may seem completely unpredictable, but you can take three steps to help guide them into a routine.
Focus on a BedtimeRoutine
The sooner your bedtime routine is introduced, the sooner your infant can begin to identify the sleep cues. Consistency is key with establishing a bedtime routine. Your baby will begin to be able to predict the steps of the routine and mental signal will trigger that time for sleep is coming. Bedtime routines may look like a bath, reading a book, singing a lullaby and a sweet bedtime mantra or prayer.
Focus on Feeding When Your Baby is Awake
Feeding your baby while they are wide awake might sound tricky due to the fact that they sleep so much. Try stimulating your baby before feeding them so that they are awake and alert before eating. You can tickle, talk to, or strip your baby down to their diaper. Get creative on ways to help your baby come out of their groggy state. The purpose to having your baby be wide awake for feedings is that they will eat fuller meals. Food also shouldn’t be used as a sleep cue, especially during the day.
Focus on Introducing Naps In a Crib for Bassinet
This step is just as much for the parents as it is for the baby. Yes, babies need to be held to bond, but it is ok to have some separation. It is healthy for parents and their newborn to have time to themselves, even if it is just for a brief window. Training your newborn to take at least one nap a day in a bassinet or a crib allows them to sleep in a safe environment while the parents can focus on what they need.
The first week may seem like a blur but hopefully these small steps can help you begin to put structure. Structure can help everyone’s wellbeing during this transition. The first year is full of new stages but laying a strong foundation for sleep can make it a lot easier to process. We are always here to help you through these transitions!