understanding the baby’s sleep pattern
In this handy baby sleep guide to newborn baby sleep, we’ll give you the down-low on everything you need to know as a new parent, from the science of sleep to recognizing sleep signs, sleep training methods to establishing a bedtime routine, and how much sleep your baby should be getting.
the science of baby sleep
A major factor why newborn babies are waking so often, other than being hungry, uncomfortable, needing their nappy changed, etc., is because they have a much simpler sleep cycle than adults. Adults have five stages of sleep within a cycle. A baby’s consists of only two stages, active and quiet sleep, with each cycle lasting a period of up to 50 minutes. Because they don’t stay in quiet sleep for long, they are far more likely to wake up frequently throughout the night.
The truth is, at this young age it is exactly what should be expected. In fact, if you hear new parents bragging about how their one-week-old baby sleeps through, then you might want to suggest that they nudge their baby awake occasionally. Newborn babies need to wake regularly to feed. This is so, they can pile on the baby fat and gain the strength they need to grow and thrive. Keep reading this sleep guide to getting some great ideas on how to establish a nice baby sleep routine.
how much sleep does a baby need?
All babies are different. While some are happy to sleep away for hours on end, others might find it harder to be soothed, settle, and sleep. This is by no means a reflection of your parenting. But as a rough guide, and something to look forward to over the coming weeks, here is an average of the amount of overall sleep, naps, and nighttime stretches you can expect from your baby up to the eight-month mark:
Baby sleep guide by age
How to Create a healthy bedtime routine with your baby
When it is time to go to bed, adults have our routines: a cup of tea, a good book, watch a little TV, brush your teeth, or take a relaxing bath. No matter what routine you have, it helps you to sleep better. Babies are no different. They need a routine to help them get to sleep as well. It is up to you to find out what works best for your baby.
Babies, the routines can be fairly simple and shouldn’t take too long. If it takes too long, the baby can sometimes get a second wind and be harder to get to sleep. A bath is nice to start the evening. There are even soothing baby baths that are nice to use. Then you can snuggle them into some comfy pajamas. After that, sitting together in a rocking chair is a nice way to spend some time together before the baby nods off to sleep.
Singing or playing some lullabies while you rock can help relax the baby to sleep. You have to be careful not to move too soon to put the baby in the crib, or you may find yourself starting over. Watch for steady breathing, and relaxed arms, and legs.
Another wonderful addition to any bedtime routine is reading bedtime stories. This is one that will continue as the baby gets older. Children love bedtime stories, and it also encourages them to become readers themselves. It may take a while to find what works best for your baby at bedtime. Give it a week or 2 before you make any changes to see if the baby will adjust to it. It is not at all working, try slight change, only replacing one part of the routine. Eventually, you will find the right combination.
Consistency is the key, once you have established a routine that works, it may be hard to keep up with it at times, but babies need that steady habit. Once they are used to it, bedtime won’t be a struggle, but enjoyable for both of you.
Baby sleep guide – natural products to help your baby sleep
Remember, every child is different, there is no one-trick to getting babies of all ages straight to sleep, even though we all wish there was! In saying that, there are several basic ways to make it more straightforward to ease into bedtime, including limiting electronics, establishing a set bedtime, and creating a regular nightly routine. For babies, it can be much harder, but there are a number of baby sleep guides and natural remedies which some parents swear by, such as natural lavender scented body lotion, calming teas and magnesium wipes. Now, let us take a look at natural sleep aids for babies:
Natural sleep aid #1 – Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream
Formulated especially to treat delicate and irritated skin, the Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream may help soothe and calm conditions such as nappy rash, cradle cap, as well as mild forms of eczema. Gentle yet nourishing jojoba, Avocado and sunflower oil, as well as Vitamin E and Aloe vera, deeply hydrate the skin, while naturally anti-inflammatory Kohuhu Leaf, Chamomile and oats may help relieve soreness and protect against further irritation.
Natural sleep aid #2 –Badger night night balm
With a gentle combination of calming essential oils including Chamomile, Lavender, Sandalwood, Spearmint, and Mandarin, the Badger night night balm has a base of nourishing Olive Oil, Beeswax, Castor Oil, and Aloe vera for easy application. Harnessing the aromatherapeutic benefits of essential oils, this natural sleep aid may help to calm the mind and relax and body after a busy, playful day, helping encourage deep sleep and regular bedtime routine. Ideal for children and babies over 6 months, this creamy balm can be applied to pulse points such as wrists, chests, and temples before bedtime.
Natural sleep aid #3 – Traditional Medicinals Organic Chamomile Tea
It is always a good idea to have some chamomile around when you have kids. It is a great herb that treats a variety of ills, colic, colds, headache, irritability, indigestion, and more. It has a mild sedative effect, so if you give your child a cup of chamomile tea before bed, it will help ease her into sleep. For babies, you can have chamomile bath oil to induce sleep.
Natural sleep aid #4 – Raise Them Well Magnesium Oil with Aloe Vera
Studies have found that having insufficient magnesium in the body can lead to a host of issues including insomnia, this affects both adults and babies. Fortunately, you can boost your child’s magnesium levels with supplements, sprays, and this Raise Them Well Magnesium Oil with Aloe Vera. Infused with diluted magnesium oil, that is perfect for your child’s bedtime routine. It helps relieve mild anxiety and restlessness, eases growing pains, and promotes restful sleep.
Natural sleep aid #5 – Plagentra Ato Sleeping Balm
Plagentra Ato Sleeping Balm can help create a skin barrier to be able to keep the baby’s skin moisturized and prevent the drying skin problems which cause irritation and itchiness. It has a calm and soothes blend of the natural essential Neroli oil which provides relief for skin stress so it also promotes a sense of well-being so that babies can sleep naturally without scratching.
safety concerns for baby while sleeping
Becoming a parent for the first time can be overwhelming, no matter how well prepared you may feel. Once the baby arrives, everything changes. You go through so many emotions and changes, but the most important thing is making sure the baby is healthy and safe. Your home is baby-proofed, but what about the baby’s crib? Here at baby sleep guide, we want to make sure that SIDs never happens to you, by giving you a short baby sleep guide about safety concerns for baby while sleeping.
Here are a few things you can do to help reduce the risk of SIDS even more:
- Put your baby to sleep on their back – this is the most common advice you will hear to avoid SIDS. The newborn should always sleep on their back on a firm mattress and tight-fitting sheets. Sleeping on their stomachs can cause problems such as baby breathing too much carbon dioxide back in with each breath. Sleeping on their stomach increases the change of sleep apnea as well.
- Keep the extra pillows away from the crib or where your baby sleeps – parents like to purchase cute beddings, pillows, and stuffed animals. Unfortunately, these things may contribute to SIDS. The bumper pad can reduce the flow of fresh oxygen into the crib. Stuffed animals are also a danger in the crib. If comforters get near the infant’s face, it can cause the same rebreathing of carbon dioxide as if sleeping on the stomach.
- Proper clothing during cold weather – the baby needs to be warm, but not overly warn, as this can also cause problems. Since you should not use a comforter, there are other options. A warm sleeper that has feet and mittens attached is usually enough. Another option is a sleep sack. It is kind of a sleeping bag with head and armholes. It keeps the baby safe and warm.
- Keep things away that could suffocate the baby such as blankets – you should not use blankets for your newborn baby, but rather buy overall sleeping pajamas for babies that will keep them safe and warm.
sleep training method
Most parents ask themselves when is the best time to start a sleep routine with their baby. To include a baby sleep routine to our baby sleep guide is truly a must, there are no products or sleep aids that can help you if you do not start your baby’s sleep routine as early as possible. Some parents advise to start the bedtime routine from 4 to 6 months, however, there are also some parents who advise starting as early as possible with some simple ways to make your baby understand that it is bedtime. Here we have gathered baby sleep guide sleep routine training ideas.
Keep in mind that sleep schedules should be considered according to their age and every child is different.
Baby sleep guide – 1 week old
At one week old, of course, the baby doesn’t need to be put on a type of routine yet. They are learning to feed, sleep, and be alive. The trick here is to keep your baby awake during feeding time, this way the baby will not be awakened up by hunger.
How to keep them awake long enough to feed?
- Rub their feet and hands
- Wipe their forehead, neck, and face with a wet wipe
- Strip baby down to their diaper and un-swaddle or wrap them so they are not too warm.
- Burp the baby thoroughly when you change nursing sides, or halfway through with the bottle. When you begin nursing, encourage your baby to take a full feed. This will vary depending on the baby, it will not be 5 minutes, then falling asleep.
If your baby falls asleep after only a few minutes, gently rouse them and encourage them to continue feeling. If you can get your baby to take full feeds for the first week they will naturally rest well, both day and night.
Baby sleep guide – week #2
By now you are probably well and truly exhausted. And, if your baby has their days and nights mixed up, even more so. Maybe you have even fallen prey to the biggest baby myth. As you keep working on giving your baby full consistent feeds, you can also begin working on their night/day confusion.
- During the day when the baby is awake and feeing, open windows, turn on lights and keep things very bright.
- At night around 8 PM and later, do all feedings, hugging, cuddling, diaper changing, in very dim or dark conditions.
- After feeding your baby during the day, attempt to keep them awake for at least a few minutes by singing, cooing, playing, and bonding,
- If your baby seems fully awake in the middle of the night, try turning on very bright lights which will cause the baby to shut their eyes, some parents have reported this as a very nice trick.
- Don’t allow more time than 3 hours between feedings during the day, even if they are still sleeping. Wake them up and feed them again if they continue sleeping. You don’t want 5 hours stretch to happen during the day, you want it to happen at night.
- At night, feed them whenever they wake up and are hungry, but let them determine how frequent that is
- At night, avoid stimulating, playing, cooing, singing, or any other behaviors that will encourage the baby to stay awake.
Baby sleep guide – Week #3 – Newborn sleep schedule
Now that your baby is getting the hang of full feeds and has their days and nights mostly fixed, it is time to start thinking about teaching your baby to fall asleep on their own. Weeks old babies go to sleep on their won without much fuss easily, and if you want that to continue then now is the time to start good habits. As babies get bigger they will stop this and that is when you get in the pickle. Having to jump through hoops and use newfangled vibrating equipment, washing machines, and cars to get your baby to sleep.
Baby sleep guide – use these baby sleep checklist
- Do not let your little ones get overtired
- Learn the fine art of putting your baby to sleep awake but drowsy – this means before your baby has fully conked out, but while they are yawning, doing the eye-roll or rubbing their eyes, you can set them in their crib to do the final hard work of falling asleep on their own.
- Use the pacifier –this is one of the best ways to help your baby learn to calm down on their own. The pacifier also becomes a positive sleep association and gives your baby away to soothe themselves into sleep.
- Perfect naptime or bedtime routine – as another positive sleep association. Songs, rocking, hugging, and patting are great ways to help the baby calm down. Diaper change lights down low, and white noise communicates sleepy time.
- When the baby us fed, changed, and not overtired – you can then put the baby in their won crib while they are drowsy and let them learn to fall asleep on their own. They will likely stare off into space for a time, if not fall right to sleep. This is ok, this is right.
popular and effective sleep training methods
So which do you choose, if any at all? Well, that is entirely up to you as a parent, however, here is another sleep training method that is popular amongst moms.
- The Ferber method – Otherwise known as controlled crying, which is a gentler approach to the full “cry-it-out” method. Essentially this means putting your baby down and then checking back in on them at regular intervals, starting at one minute, increasing to three minutes and gradually up to 15 minutes mark, so that they are aware you are nearby. The Ferber method advocates not picking them up or feeding your baby, as the aim here is to teach them to fall asleep on their own.
- The Fading Sleep Method – possibly one of the most gentle sleep training methods around. The FIO champions rocking, feeding, or soothing your baby to sleep, but over time doing it less and less, so your baby has to work harder themselves to sleep.
- The cry it out method – does it pretty much exactly what you expect it to do, and while some parents swear by it, the Cry it Out method or CIO approach remains one of the most controversial sleep training methods around. Why? Because when your baby cries and isn’t associated with neurological specialists with anti-social behavior and abandonment issues later in life.
consistent routine is the key
Baby sleep guide is a guide and suggestions based on professional statements and advice from mothers, still, it is up to you and your baby how you will get some rest and consistent bedtime routine. However, it is great to start somewhere, there are lots of baby sleep guide online to read, read as much as you need to just to get the sleep routine right.