The best time to experiment is generally for the first nap of the day when your baby is better rested from their night sleep, or at bedtime when the drive to sleep is much higher. However, don’t put too much pressure on it if your baby doesn’t settle. The main aim at this tender age is to help your baby get the sleep they need, so use your back-up sleep options if you need to.
- Implement a soothing routine for naps
By the 6-8 week period, your baby will be becoming a lot more aware of their surroundings and is less likely just to close their eyes and fall asleep. To help in preparing them for a nap, start a soothing routine. A soothing routine should be consistent and predictable, so your baby knows what to expect and that naptime is nearing. In the soothing routine you might like to include things like rocking, singing, swaddling etc.
- Implement a consistent & predictable bedtime routine
It’s never too early to develop and implement a bedtime routine for your newborn. I recommend implementing a consistent bedtime routine by about 6-8 weeks of age. It’s also at this time that bedtime should naturally start to become earlier, usually between 6-8pm. Work on a bedtime routine, and keep it consistent so that again your baby knows what to expect. You might like to include things like a bath, massage, story, cuddles, singing, bedtime milk etc. This shouldn’t take too long, approximately 20-30 minutes. A consistent bedtime and some simple bedtime rules, even at this young age, are important - it’s how they start to regulate sleep.
- Create a flexible feeding & sleeping routine
Don’t stress too much at this stage about a set daytime routine. Of course you don’t want total chaos, as some sort of organisation and routine can help to understand why your baby might be crying i.e. you can ask yourself are they due for a feed or how long has it been since their last nap. During the day, keep them on a 3-4 hour feeding schedule (wake them if you need to), so they get in all their calories during the day and keep their bigger sleeps for nighttime. With feeding, we suggest you do this when your baby wakes up from a nap (rather than just before a nap). This is because you want to avoid feeding your baby to sleep and it becoming a sleep association between feeding and sleeping, as it may cause problems later on. The exception is bedtime where you want a nice, long feed just before bed.
Hope these tips help. Enjoy this time with your newborn; the time will go by so fast and they'll be crawling and walking before you know it.
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