My husband and I have lived through the newborn stage three consecutive times. I think that is quite an accomplishment! Having a newborn is no easy thing. Their only form of communication is crying and they are up anywhere from every five minutes to maybe every 4 hours if you’re lucky and you are willing to risk a low milk supply! That being said, while my mantra was always “if we can just make it to the two week well visit we’ll be good” I do miss those early days and tiny babes. Today I wanted to revisit those memories and share with you my tried and mostly true tips and tricks for helping your newborn or young baby sleep longer (because sleeping through the night is a myth!) at night.
1. SWADDLE. I can’t stress this enough! Newborn babies have what is called the startle reflex and it is exactly as it sounds! If they aren’t swaddled at night, they will startle themselves awake over and over again! Double swaddling worked like a CHARM with all three of my boys. Here’s a tutorial my best friend wrote!
Sometimes people think their babies don’t like to be swaddled because they cry while they are wrapping them. But usually their tears have more to do with you messing with their limbs than with the swaddle itself. And can I just be real for a minute? Even if your baby doesn’t like it, it is proven to help them sleep better and sleep is very important for their brain development not to mention your sanity! Newborns cry, it’s what they do. I know it’s hard to stomach but a little fussing for a short period of time is okay as long as you are comforting and loving on your baby.
2. Heating pad! Before you start baby’s bedtime routine, go plug in a heating pad and place it where your child will be sleeping. When it comes time to lay them down, remove the heating pad and place baby onto their now cozy sheets. The warmth makes it less obvious that Mommy is catching a breather.
3. Rice Socks! When my boys were newborns, I filled a couple of socks with rice and positioned them around their bottom half. I would even put one (that only had a little bit of rice) over their chest. The slight pressure made them feel like I was still holding them and would often help them sleep longer.
4. White noise!! Our neighbors like to play their bass at all hours of the night. Thankfully having a steady background noise cancels out their poor taste in music. :-p I use the app Chroma Doze. You can download it for free on android phones. I am not sure if it is available on the iphone but I would assume that there is at least one app out there that would do the job! If all else fails, a box fan will cut it.
5. Kissing baby’s eyes! When baby is very young, kissing their eye or eyebrows every few seconds will force them to close their eyes often enough that it will put them right to sleep.
6. Room Temperature. Make sure baby is not too hot or too cold. That can majorly affect their ability to sleep. The rule of thumb is to take what feels comfortable to you and and add a layer for baby.
7. Frequent Daytime Feeds. This right here is key! Make sure you feed your baby often throughout the day. My goal was every two hours. If you go 3-4 hours, while it probably will not hurt your child, he will make up for it that night and nurse more often which means he will wake up more often.
8. Reality Check. Remember that it’s normal for newborns to wake up often. No matter what you do, sometimes your baby will be up every 30 minutes. Don’t spend the night stressing and worrying that something is wrong. As long as baby has plenty of wet and dirty diapers and does not have a fever, he is most likely just going through a growth spurt which means cluster feedings! At the beginning, those nights can sometimes be more often than not and it is easy to get discouraged or feel hopeless. But it’s important to remember that this is temporary. It is a season and like all seasons this too shall pass. As with every season we go through, the Lord has things that he wants to show us and opportunities for growth that are unique to that particular time. Don’t miss out on those things like I did with my first! Set your blurry sleep ridden eyes on Jesus and ask him for strength, wisdom and endurance and ask him to draw near and grow your faith.
Hope these tips help!