There’s a myth that states You can’t help a newborn sleep better.
Although babies under 4 months of age are not developmentally ready to sleep train to be on a perfectly consistent schedule, there are definitely things that we can do to help them sleep more soundly and allow them to start developing healthy sleep habits.
First, recreating the womb can be a successful start during the 4th trimester… Shushing, Swaddling, Sucking (pacifier), & Swaying. – at this point sleep is very disorganized, so you let them sleep any [safe] way that helps them. Since they don’t know how to sleep on their own, using these calming & soothing behaviors helps encourage sleep.
And Remember wake-time windows are very short from 0-4 weeks. (Only about 30-45 minutes)
Then, Once they have an established feeding routine (they’ve gained their weight back & you have a healthy bond with baby) you can start having more of a flex window routine with feedings instead of just “on demand”.
This tends to be about every 2-3 hours during the day and 3-4 at night. (This just helps them to start understanding a routine for the future)
-I am a BIG believer on the “Eat, Play, Sleep” method. This is the first thing I ever did to help my twins start sleeping better at 2 months of age!
Again, remember wake-time windows from 4-12 weeks are still only 45-90 minutes!
Start putting them in a consistent sleeping place. Start with just 1 nap a day to help them ease into it.
-Flat surface, on their back, with no blankets or loose objects for safe sleep
-Motion/Vibrate free sleep
-Quiet (sound machines are great!)
For bed, develop a soothing routine. And by routine at this age, it can be as short as just a few minutes, but it can help consistently cue bedtime.
As you watch wake-time windows during the day, you can start putting them down awake when you know they should be getting sleepy soon. And if they start to fall asleep on their own, THATS AMAZING! If not, step in and help them by using those soothing cues that work best for them. (Hand on chest, replacing pacifier, shhh-ing, etc.)
This is a time where we’re just learning what our little ones sleep cues are along with knowing wake-windows so they don’t get overtired, what soothing methods work well for them, and allowing them to feel comfortable and safe in their own sleeping place. Experimenting With putting down drowsy but awake can only help them get used to sleeping on their own for the future. Just remember, if they end up needing a little help, that’s okay! You can always try again later.
I offer a newborn package, so feel free to contact me with any questions about helping your little one sleep better!