It is a well-known fact that your first few weeks with a baby can be challenging in addition to being euphorically beautiful, to say the least. The phenomena “sleep” and “lack thereof” have everything to do with it. It’s a simple sum: baby + little sleep = mother with even less sleep. But how do you get a baby to sleep?
Although sleeping from the first week may be a tempting thought, it is of course not the intention. After all, a newborn wants to be fed every 2-3 hours. But after a few weeks, when the real (deep) night food is allowed off the schedule, there are indeed tips that help you get and keep your baby asleep.
First of all: every baby is different!
First of all, let it be very clear that every baby is different, and therefore the sleeping habits and needs of every baby are different. The 7 tips below are merely advice that can help you make the (continued) sleeping conditions for your baby optimal.
- Recognize your baby’s (sleep) signals
Even though you may not realize right from the start, your baby will let you know when it is time to sleep. In the beginning, these are mainly signals such as howling and rubbing. But staring, blurry eyes and tugging are also things that babies often do when they are tired. Once you recognize the sleep signals, you can put your baby in bed and assume that he will fall asleep not long afterward.
- (Some form of) regularity helps
The kite that a baby who sleeps little during the day sleeps better at night does not apply. On the contrary, a baby thrives best with a regular sleep pattern – even during the day. Keeping him awake is not only sad but also very unwise. Without having to keep Gina Ford-like schedules (unless you want to), it is best to let your baby sleep when he is tired. In short: with regularity. This also applies to the eating pattern: a baby who is well-fed and has a full belly, sleeps well. A child who is hungry / gets awake. Just like us, great people.
- Avoid naps just before the evening sleep
If you want your baby to be ready for “the big night’s sleep” around seven, avoid a nap from five o’clock. If mr or mrs is very tired you may not be able to prevent this, but try to see if you can stretch something and bring the bedtime forward.
- Create an oasis of tranquility
In the evening you switch to “night mode”. Voices are muted just like the light. Singing with a full breast and hyperactive peekaboo we do it again tomorrow morning.
- Set a routine
Make certain rituals a regular routine. Babies can of course not see the clock yet, but they are sensitive to patterns, certainly from the age of three. Consider fixed sequences such as a bath or massage every night before going to sleep. Chamomile and lavender as a bath oil or body lotion have a natural calming effect, so fine. A sweet lullaby is also possible, and reading a few months later is also a good idea.
- Zero light policy (have a dimmer installed)
Make sure the bedroom is as dark as possible to get your baby to sleep. The temperature is good and if you go and have a look in the evening (because your baby is crying, for example) you only switch on the light very dimly, or rather not at all. Even if your baby needs a clean diaper at night, try to do so in the dark (admittedly, that can be quite a challenge). And keep whispering to him.
- Avoid night feeds
From the moment that your baby can do without the nocturnal food, really stop doing that. If he wakes up at night and is crying, gives him water instead of a breast or bottle. Why? Because that way he definitively withdraws milk at night. Otherwise, his body will consciously ask for milk (and you will continue to be the loving bobbin).
Finally: if your baby tries to fall asleep but it just doesn’t seem to work, you’ve already seen what happens when you stroke with two fingers from the center of his forehead, down between his eyes (over his nose) ? Give it a try…