For the first three months, newborns spend the majority of their time sleeping or feeding. They’ll have short periods of alertness as they adjust to life outside your womb.
Some babies take some time to learn the difference between being awake in the daytime and sleeping during the night time. To help your baby adjust and settle, perhaps try gently rocking, swaying and walking around with your baby. Swaddling your baby can help, as your baby feels secure. Hold your baby close to you so they can hear your heartbeat and gently stroke their face around the hairline.
It can also be helpful to minimise stimulation, including TV and engaging toys.
Many parents find that a basic routine can help their baby know when it’s time for sleep and help them wind down.
Feed, Play, Sleep.
In the early days, your baby’s play time may be very limited. Play in the early days is pretty basic, you can watch the leaves in the trees outside or read a story together.
Then, when it’s time for bed, you could establish a small routine that might including drawing the curtains, swaddling and a kiss goodnight.
Many babies need a little help to establish sleeping patterns. You can help by learning to read their tired signs. Tired signs can include things like: rubbing of the eyes, yawning, being fussy, clenching fists, staring, frowning, and jerky limb movements.
It’s easier to get a baby to sleep if they are not over-tired.
It’s vital you have a safe sleeping environment for your newborn. You should always place your baby to sleep on their back. Keep their face and head uncovered by ensuring any blankets are firmly tucked in.
Have a smoke free environment before and after birth.
Put the baby to sleep in their own safe sleep space in the parents’ room for the first six-twelve months.
Research has also found that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of SIDS.
The early days are a time of learning for you and your baby. A schedule that’s time-focused and rigid generally don’t work for newborns.
They all differ when it comes to their feeding, sleeping times, and temperaments.
It’s best to think about your family and your own parenting style when looking to set up a schedule for your newborn. Keep in mind that your baby’s sleep pattern will change as they grow and each day is different.
If you’re struggling to settle a baby at home then you can pop baby down in the cot because it’s a safe space for them. Gather your thoughts, and just also calling a friend as well to confide in them about everything that’s going on.
You can find more support via our Mobile Midwife.
The fourth trimester
10 July 2021