You’re so excited to meet your baby while you’re pregnant. You work really hard, your pregnancy finally comes to end, you meet your beautiful child, and then it hits you:
When I had my first baby, there was nothing in the world that I missed more than sleep. Then, I had twins, and I thought I might never sleep again! If you’re feeling this way now, worry not; I am living proof that you and your baby will soon sleep through the night again.
5 Effective Strategies to help your baby sleep at night
Because every child is different, no one magical strategy will help your newborn sleep whenever you want, but there are many helpful tricks. The truth is, sleep patterns are developmental and change as your baby grows. My very favorite resource for baby sleep is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Dr. Weissbluth guides you through establishing a routine for kids of any age. I highly recommend that book plus a few other tricks to help your newborn sleep at night.
Swaddling gives babies comfort and security. Wrapping a baby up tight keeps him from startling awake. All of my babies have been very wiggly boys since before birth. I thought I was pretty good at swaddling babies when my twins were born, but my mother proved me wrong. She’s a master swaddler; she can take any blanket and make a baby burrito that no little one can wiggle out of. I have only had success with muslin swaddle blankets, like Aden & Anais, and I wish I had tried the Miracle Blanket (it looks quite promising).
Help your baby establish his Circadian rhythm
Teach your baby the difference between day and night by keeping him in the light during the daytime and by keeping calm and quiet during the dark of the night. I have never used room darkening blinds in my boys’ room. In fact, when I was desperate for my twins sleep through the night, I actually pulled the blinds all the way up. They still took naps in the daytime and finally slept through the night.
The idea behind cluster feedings is that you can “fill up” your baby before putting her to bed so that she can sleep longer. For example, if you normally feed your baby every three hours, then for the last three hours before bedtime you would feed every hour. I’m convinced that cluster feedings helped my first baby sleep through the night sooner. I never tried this method with my twins because I didn’t feel like I could possibly feed babies any more often than I was already feeding my babies. So, if you have only one baby or a lot of help, you should give cluster feeding a try.
Establish a routine
Consistent routines are so important in creating an environment where your baby can thrive. I am certain that I would not have survived without solid routines for my kids. Each of my baby’s schedules was basically eat, wake, sleep, repeat. Dr. Weissbluth explains in more detail how you can create a solid schedule for your child in his book, which I highly recommend.
Give white noise a try
A lot of babies calm down with white noise. It can be comforting and remind them of the environment in the womb. Some babies respond really well to white noise, while others don’t love it as much. Here’s a good noise machine you can try.
I hope at least one of these tips gives you hope and helps you get some sleep again. Good luck, strong mama!