Navigating your day on only a few hours of sleep makes you wonder if the sleepless nights will ever end. Newborns sleep a lot, but they often wake frequently at night for feedings. Infant sleep strategies help your little bundle of joy ease into a sleep pattern so everyone can get a little shuteye.
Regulate the Environment
A consistent and comfortable sleeping environment helps your baby ease into sleep each night. Factors that affect the environment include the temperature, light, noise level and bedding. While you don’t want your baby to freeze, a hot room is uncomfortable for sleeping, too. Aim for about 68 to 70 degrees F, but let your baby be the guide. If he wakes up shivering or is constantly sweaty while he sleeps, adjust the temperature or his pajamas accordingly. A fan or white noise machine creates a constant and consistent background noise that could help soothe your baby at night. Lowering the lights as bedtime nears signals to your baby that sleep time is near.
Keep It Low Key
Newborns wake up in the night, but how you handle your baby during this time can affect how easily she goes back to sleep. Avoid turning on the lights, making a lot of noise or otherwise stimulating your newborn. Singing, playing or even making eye contact with your baby can get her excited and make it more difficult to fall back asleep. Unless her diaper is soaked or she is uncomfortable, you don’t need to change it every time she wakes up. The less you do, the easier she will go back to sleep.
Watch Your Diet
If you breastfeed, the foods you eat could affect how your baby sleeps. Consuming large amounts of caffeine can make it turn up in your breast milk, which could make it more difficult for your little one to sleep. Some foods you consume might cause your baby to be gassy. If you notice fussiness after eating a particular food, try cutting it out and then reintroducing it to determine if the food really is affecting your baby. Since discomfort from gas can keep your baby up at night, avoid those foods that seem to affect him.
Relaxation is probably the last thing on your mind when you’ve already been up with your baby three or four times in one night and he’s crying again, but your own tension might rub off on your baby. Focus on slow, deep breathing as you hold your baby at night time. Try to relax your muscles so your baby doesn’t feel the tension. It seems like the newborn phase will last forever, but it is soon over. Keep your expectations realistic for sleep and other tasks, like cleaning and cooking, to avoid stressing yourself out.