Snooze Series: 4 Easy Ways to Help Your Newborn Sleep Better
By Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns
Newborn sleep problems are common – but it’s actually a mystery why this is true. Babies in the womb sleep up to twenty hours per day, so newborns know how to sleep! The problem is that we unknowingly get in the way of their natural sleep process. Here are ways to help your new baby get more sweet dreams.
1. Don’t Exceed your Baby’s “Happily Awake Span”
Newborns can only last forty-five minutes to an hour or so between sleep sessions. By three months of age this can extend to two or three hours, maximum. If your baby is awake longer than biology allows then he’ll be fussier and cry more, and will find it harder to fall asleep.
2. Learn your Baby’s Sleepy Signals
Your newborn will give you signals when she’s tired. If you miss the signs, your baby will quickly become overtired. On the flip side, a baby who isn’t tired will reject efforts to get her to sleep. Look for that perfect sleepy moment. Babies share a few common signs of tiredness, such as quieting down, losing interest in people and toys, a slack face and jaw, and making slower movements.
3. Correctly Identify Sleeping Sounds and Motions
Newborns grunt, coo, twitch, and shift position during sleep. These noises and movements don’t always signal awakening. Rushing to pick your baby up during these occurrences can actually wake her up! So, take a pause to observe and listen. If your baby is sleeping – let her sleep!
4. Feed your Newborn Frequently – Day and Night.
Your baby doesn’t have a day/night body clock, so sleep and feedings occur throughout a 24-hour period. Your newborn’s teaspoon-sized stomach doesn’t last long without food. Newborns can’t sleep when they’re hungry and will keep waking up until they’re fed. It’s better to respond to feeding cues quickly so you can both get back to the important job of sleeping. Sweet dreams!
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