Having a newborn baby is a thing of joy as you watch life being formed in you and coming out of you. You watch them lap up your milk and grab your pinky with all the might their little hands can muster. It is a feeling so unique that even the best essay writer on earth will have a hard time putting it into words.
You smile as you watch your baby sleep. Now, it is time to go back home with them — away from the doctors, away from the nurses, away from the hospital. You begin to wonder how you are supposed to handle them. There are 3 things to look out for when taking care of a newborn baby. These 3 things are feeding, hygiene, and sleep. How well these 3 things are handled determines how well your child grows. In this article, we are focused on the aspect of taking care of the sleep cycle of your newborn baby.
According to scientists, newborn babies need at least 12-16 hours of sleep per day. How do they sleep for that long in a way that would be healthy? Let us find out.
Make Your Newborns Sleep On Their Backs
Sleeping on the tummy for newborns is very dangerous as it increases the risk of suffocation and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). You can keep them swaddled but as they grow, you should loosen them up so they can move more freely during sleep. This will also help them avoid suffocation if they ever roll onto their stomach.
In the course of sleep training newborns, you should always put them to sleep on their backs. Putting them to sleep on their sides does not prevent choking (unlike many myths suggest) as it is still easier for them to roll off onto their stomach. The best approach is to have your baby sleep on their back.
Co-Share A Room With Your Newborn
For the first 6 months of your newborn’s life, you should share a room with them. They need a lot of attention at that point and probably a lot of milk too. As you enter the deprived parent stage, it would be a huge gamble leaving them on their own as you may start to resist the temptation to go check on them.
So what should you do? You should get a crib or a bassinet for the first 6 months of their lives and place it in your room. Yes, they are your bundle of joy, but do not sleep with them on the same bad. It could be dangerous too, as you may roll on and suffocate them. Newborns are very delicate and should be handled with care.
Keep All Toys, Blankets, And Pillows Out Of The Crib
One of the best things you can do for your sweet little baby is to keep their cot clean. This is also intended to avoid the risk of suffocation. Some toys are soft and squishy and can be hazardous to a baby’s breathing when they lie face down on them.
You may probably be wondering, “What if it’s cold?” Then the solution is to have your newborn baby sleep in a warm room. If you have a thermostat, that is great! Ensure that the room is not too hot, and not too cold either. Newborn babies do not need cold temperatures.
Develop A Pattern
Newborns are supposed to sleep for 16 hours or more, but it does not always happen at a stretch. You should have a newborn sleep schedule and be consistent with it. Fixing a sleeping schedule helps your newborn baby’s body tick, and with time, they will get used to it.
Have a consistent bedtime routine. The pattern should not be just for your baby’s sleep schedule, but for all the other activities leading up to putting your baby to sleep. These patterns help adjust its body naturally to those environments and your baby will sleep more smoothly.
The baby’s room should be softly lit once it is bedtime. Bath your baby, cuddle them, play soft music for them. All of these indicate to your newborn baby that it is time to sleep. Once it is bedtime, everything should be done quietly.
Study Your Baby’s Habits
Parenting a newborn is not a competition. You are not in a race with other parents to determine who will take care of their baby better. You have to know how your baby reacts and be patient with yourself and with them.
Find out the kind of personality your newborn baby has and readjust your schedule to suit it. If they enjoy staying up late, adjust to that. Do not force your baby to sleep or expect that the way other people treat their babies will work for yours. Remember that all newborns are not the same so study and understand your baby’s sleeping habits.
Do Not Use Food As A Way To Lull Your Baby To Sleep
Feeding your newborn baby to sleep will become a ritual for your baby which will eventually tire you out as they become used to it. Newborns tend to fall asleep during breastfeeding but do not encourage that habit in them.
Feed your newborn baby earlier than their bedtime. With time, they will get used to it. Then put them to bed when they are drowsy and not fully asleep. Remember to place them on their backs.
Having a baby can be as harrowing as it is fun. When it is nap time, you need all your wits just to get your little one to close their eyes. It can be stressful, but it is something we all have to go through as parents. With time, our bodies get used to the experience.
As a parent, your mental health is as important for you as it is for your baby. Do not allow parenthood to steal your life from you. Hang out with friends, watch your favorite shows, cuddle with your hubby, and when in doubt as to how to care for your newborn’s sleep, refer to this article as a guide.