Are you an expecting or new parent? Sleep tends to be one of the areas that we overlook when preparing for a baby, but you can help your baby to develop healthy sleep habits from the beginning. Working on a baby’s sleep while they are 4 months or younger is commonly referred to as sleep shaping. My top three newborn sleep tips will help you navigate your baby’s first few weeks with added confidence.
What is Sleep Shaping?
Sleep shaping is vastly different from trying to adjust sleep habits in an older baby. Newborns typically spend more time asleep than they do being awake and understanding this alone can help ensure your baby is well rested. Experimenting with routines and understanding how appropriate room conditions can contribute to sleep are also important concepts to familiarize yourself with.
Newborn Sleep Tips
Here are my top three newborn sleep tips:
- Prevent fatigue. Make sure you follow your baby’s signs of fatigue. Watch your baby closely to understand what fatigue looks like for them. Keep in mind that a newborn should only be awake for 45-60 minutes before needing another opportunity to sleep. This means you have just enough time to feed, burp and change them before it’s time to go back to bed! As your baby gets older, their stamina and subsequently their ability to stay awake and interact with the world around them, will also increase.
- Outsource. The old advice was to “sleep when the baby sleeps.” And while that is still excellent advice, it’s hard to do! Instead, think about setting up a roster of friends, family and local service providers to provide you with an opportunity to rest and recover. Local meal delivery service options are my favourite way to save time and energy.
- Relax. Laying the foundation for independent sleep skills in a young infant can be tiring, frustrating and overwhelming for parents. If now doesn’t feel like the right time to start working on your baby’s sleep habits, then wait.