Many new parents don’t realize that you can start implementing strategies that will help their newborn establish healthy sleep habits right from day one. We can’t guarantee they will get your little one sleeping through the night on day one (how incredible would that be?), but they will help them establish a routine and form better sleep habits in the future.
Lori Wade from Newborn Care Solutions has shared her 5 tips for helping your newborn establish healthy sleep habits with us.
Black-out curtains, not room-darkening curtains, ensure that there is no natural light entering the room while the baby is sleeping, allowing your baby to sleep for longer periods of time.
Using red light bulbs in your baby’s room can be beneficial, as do not act as a stimulant the same way blue, white, or other light hues do. Red light also does not block melatonin production, so it can help your newborn transition into a more restful sleep. It is also recommended to turn off all electronics (phones, tablets, computers, televisions, etc.) before bed, as these devices delay the body’s circadian rhythm (internal clock), suppress the release of melatonin, and make it more difficult to fall asleep.
It is important to avoid overstimulation, especially at bedtime, and using a sound machine that emits white noise can be very helpful. White noise contains different frequencies that mask or block out other sounds. Unlike other “soothing sounds”, white noise frequencies are equal in intensity and provide an even sound that does not disrupt sleep. You can turn on the white noise machine 15-20 minutes before starting the bedtime or nap routine and leave it on, or you can leave it on continuously throughout the day and night. This way, every time you go into the baby’s room, they will already be conditioned to start the wind down process.
Swaddled babies tend to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer than unswaddled babies. This is because swaddling mimics the environment that babies were used to in the womb, and it keeps the Moro (startling) reflex from waking or startling a sleeping baby. It is also recommended as a safe sleep practice that may reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Laying them down early
It is recommended to lay your baby down when they are drowsy, but not fully asleep. Once they have been fed, burped, changed into a clean diaper, and showing signs of sleepiness, it is a good time to put them down in their crib or bassinet. That way, your baby will start to know what to do, and by around 12-16 weeks of age, many babies can easily fall asleep on their own, as well as fall back to sleep when they wake up.
We hope that you find these 5 tips helpful for establishing healthy sleep habits in your little one. Having a baby that sleeps through the night benefits not only the infant, but the whole family!