Before we had our son, everyone told us that we would be tired. Not just tired, but exhausted. Well, exhaustion took on a whole new meaning when we were getting a mere 3-4 hours of sleep each day, for days and days on end. Read on to learn my 10 tips to help your newborn sleep better.
10 Tips To Help Your Newborn Sleep Better
1. Bed Time Routine
At first, I didn’t believe that babies need a bedtime routine, but I was wrong! Around 5 weeks, we started a bedtime routine with our son. It doesn’t have to be much, but it sure did help. Not only did it help prepare him for bed, but it helped prepare us as well. So the first of my tips to help your newborn sleep better is to start a simple bedtime routine.
Each night, we go for a family walk to get some exercise and fresh air. When we come home, we spend some family time relaxing on the couch with our pets. Then it is diaper change, lotions, jammies, nursing, and bedtime. I love the California Baby Everyday Calming lotion before bed. I massage it into my son’s hands and he just melts! This routine, even at a young age, is signaling to him that it will soon be time for bed.
2. Find The Right Swaddle
This was a struggle for us. We tried a few different swaddles and our son tried to Hulk his way out of each one. He would strain his arms trying to bust them loose. So we tried no swaddle. But then his arms would flail around, startle him and was a sure-fire way to keep him awake all night. We finally settled on the ergo pouch swaddle. We love it because it is nice and warm, keeps his arms contained, but he can still move his hands some, which he likes. (Our baby boy is so sweet and likes to hold his hands while he sleeps, which he couldn’t do in other swaddles.) As far as tips to help your newborn sleep better go, this one is a must.
3. Sleep Temperature Matters
As clueless new parents, we weren’t sure how warm to dress our newborn. They say to put the baby in one additional layer to what you are wearing. Well, I am always cold and my husband is always hot. He can wear shorts to bed and wants no blankets. While I am fully dressed, with socks and a down comforter. So we quickly realized that our precious little bundle was not bundled up enough. Babies like to be warm, at least ours does. Even though it is the middle of summer, our house is cool with the A/C running. So we put our son in a long sleeve onesie, footed pjs and the ergo pouch swaddle. This seems to be the perfect sleeping condition for him.
4. Day Versus Night
I so badly wish that our son could tell time. Like all babies, he was born with no clue about the difference between night and day. We had to try to “teach” him that difference. Of course, he still sleeps on and off all day and night, but there is a vast difference between what his awake time during the day looks like verses when he is awake at night.
We limit his naps during the day. Yes, you read that right. You might think I am crazy, but we will wake up our 6 week old after a long day time nap. Please don’t ignore this as one of my tips to help your newborn sleep better. You want to make sure they don’t get too much sleep during the day that they won’t sleep at night. However, it is impossible and not healthy to try to keep a baby up all day. This will likely cause your newborn to be overly tired and quickly backfire.
5. Stay Calm
I repeat. Stay calm. Babies have a way of sensing your fear. Those first few nights, we panicked. We didn’t know what was wrong, why our son was crying or how to calm him. Our family was in desperate need of some tips to help your newborn sleep better. My husband and I are good parents, I swear. We have lots of experience with little ones, but not with crying newborns from 2am-5am at night. We learned that the more we can stay calm, relaxed and confident, the better the experience is for all three of us.
6. Prep The Environment
Whether you chose to breast or bottle-feed, you will want to have everything you need within arm’s reach for those middle of the night feedings. I “prep” my nightstand each night with snacks, water, and mints. I also make sure I have my favorite breastfeeding products nearby and anything else I might need to get through the night. Having everything within arm’s reach allows me to stay in bed, keep the lights off and not disrupt the pets.
7. Avoid The TV
In the beginning, when I would wake up to feed my son, I would turn on the tv, play on my phone, read, etc. Anything I could do to fully wake my sleep-deprived body up to nurse. After doing this a few too many nights, I realized this was destroying my sleep and making it even worse. As tired as I was, I found myself getting caught up in a show, too intrigued by an article, or knee-deep in facebook. This made it hard to fall back asleep and turn my brain off. As far as tips to help your newborn sleep better, listen to this. Strive to wake up just enough to safely feed them before you both go back to sleep.
8. Nighttime Is Not Playtime
According to my pediatrician, one of her tips to help your newborn sleep better was that “nighttime is not playtime”. She encouraged us to have limited interaction with our son at night. We need to meet his needs; feeding, burping and diaper changes. But this is not the time to engage him in silly faces and dance moves. He needed to learn the difference between night and day and that night time is not fun, so no need to be awake!
9. Be On The Same Page As Your Partner
Find a system that works for you and your partner and don’t be afraid to change it as needed. Decide who will take the middle of the night diaper changes, feedings, burping, etc. The first few nights, we were both awake all night trying to handle this as a “team”. Which was great in theory, until we were both too tired to function or think straight. We found that tag-teaming worked better for us. Find your rhythm and adjust as needed.
10. Get The Hatch Baby Rest+
We were gifted the Hatch Baby Rest+ to review and found it to be a lifesaver. It incorporated so many of my tips to help your newborn sleep better all in one product. This machine does so much! It is a sound machine, night light, audio monitor and has time to rise indicator that is portable and Alexis enabled, plus more!
A sound machine is a must-have with a newborn and very commonly mentioned amongst tips to help your newborn sleep better. Newborns are used to the sound of your heartbeat and blood flowing through your body. So a sound machine can be very soothing to them and remind them of being in your womb. The Rest+ comes with a library of 12 snooze-inducing sounds, and white noise.
The Rest+ has a built-in nightlight with 10 preset colors and a customizable option. Did you know that red light at night is easier on your eyes and less stimulating than any other color? Including your standard white/yellow light. That is what I have my Rest+ set to right now.
Two-way Audio Monitor
Check-in with your baby without cluttering up your life. Listen and talk to your child through your phone. Safe and secure to ensure your privacy. No extra gadgets are necessary.
Time To Rise
Once your baby is older, you will love the Rest+ time to rise feature. Which cues your child as to when it is time to get up by changing from a red to green light.
Tips To Help Your Newborn Sleep Better
Of all my tips to help your newborn sleep better, my biggest tip would be to get the Hatch Baby Rest+. It really is an all in one machine that can be used throughout your child’s life. Save on having various items cluttering your nightstand and keep life simple with the Rest+.