There’s plenty to think about when your new baby arrives, but, at the top of most new parents’ mind is one thing: sleep. Whilst getting a newborn to sleep can be the most challenging aspect of parenthood, especially during the first few weeks, it’s not something that will last forever. There are plenty of ways to speed up the process of establishing an effective newborn sleep schedule for you and your baby. Here are six tips to help you develop a newborn sleep routine.
How to Develop an Effective Newborn Sleep Schedule
Choose the Right Bedroom Furniture for the Nursery
Developing an effective newborn sleep schedule for your baby starts way before they’re born, when you choose the bedroom furniture for the nursery. Ensuring you choose the right furniture is one of the best, and easiest, ways to guarantee your baby will sleep comfortably, which is incredibly important to develop a regular sleeping pattern.
The most important aspect for the baby is the mattress. There are so many different types available, each with a long list of benefits and drawbacks. Take a look at this useful guide to crib mattresses to work out which is the best option for you.
Start as You Mean to Go On
When your baby first arrives, you’ll be overwhelmed by your new responsibilities as a parent. It’s a time when you’re constantly learning how to be a good parent, but it’s important not to lose sight of the plan. As soon as your baby arrives home, you should be monitoring your baby’s sleep patterns to devise the most appropriate routine.
Once you learn to recognize your baby’s cues, you can start developing a sleep routine that works for them, and therefore schedule your own sleep accordingly. If you do this from the very beginning, it will be much easier to influence your baby’s sleep patterns as they grow.
Do the Same Things Every Day
The key to implementing a successful sleep routine is consistency. Your baby needs to know exactly what to expect, and changing the routine regularly will make this difficult. Develop bedtime habits early on, and repeat them each day (when possible) to get the best results.
Adapt the Routine According to Your Newborn Baby’s Needs
Of course, sometimes you’ll try things only to find they don’t work. You should always monitor your baby’s cues to make sure they’re adapting to the routine. If they aren’t, identify what’s going wrong, and change this element of the routine. You should always try to put your baby’s needs first, even if you’re feeling tired and sleep deprived yourself.
Have Some Quiet Time Before Moving to the Nursery
Don’t take your baby to the nursery before they’re ready to fall asleep. You need to ensure your baby associates the nursery with the room they go to when they’re sleeping, not when they’re playing.
It’s a good idea to do something playful with your baby before bedtime, to enable them to expend their energy before bed. Once playtime is over, schedule some quiet time outside the nursery. Dim the lights, remove any distractions, and do something relaxing (such as reading a bedtime story).
As soon as your baby’s ready for sleep, you should take them to the nursery and place them in their crib. Minimize distractions in the nursery to ensure they stay within their relaxed state, despite the change in environments.
The most important thing to remember when trying to develop a newborn sleep schedule into a regular sleeping pattern, is that these things take time. If things don’t go to plan, stick with it and be patient.
You may also want to check out this video at kidsinthehouse.com of Pediatrician, Lawrence Kagan, MD, and see his advice for getting baby to sleep. It is a short to the point video that I think is full of good advice.
Also, have faith in yourself. They is always plenty of advice on how you should bath your newborn, feed your newborn, and put your newborn to sleep. My ultimate advice is arm yourself with knowledge and a plan but always listen to your mother’s intuition. Have you developed a newborn sleep schedule? What are your best tips or crazy stories?