Though sleep can be chaotic initially with a newborn, there are some methods that can be implemented in order to create a happy, healthy, child when it comes to sleep. In the baby sleep world, we like to call this a healthy sleep foundation.
The foundations for healthy sleep include; adequate nutrition, an ideal sleep environment, implementing a bedtime routine, a consistent morning wake up time, and making sure emotional needs met. When all of these concepts are addressed, it can make a huge impact. Let's discuss these further.
First, and most important, is nutrition. This means making sure that the child is getting adequate nutrition during the day, whether from breast milk or formula. In the early newborn days, you have to watch for hunger cues and feed your baby based on that. You may be doing some cluster feeding in the evenings or feeding more frequently during times of growth spurts. After a while you may be able to get on a routine of feeding your baby every 2.5-3 hours. This will ensure that your baby is getting enough feeds during the day and it helps to fill up your baby’s tummy, which may help you get longer stretches at night. This also avoids getting into a pattern of frequent snacking throughout the day, which means less calories overall and more feedings in the night.
Next is the sleep environment. You want to set up the baby’s sleep space to make it ideal for good, comfortable, safe, sleep. Its ideal to have a cool room with nice air flow (like a fan). And a good temperature range is 68-72 degrees. You want the room to be dark. I mean, no light coming through. Black out curtains are definitely recommended. Continuous white noise should be going, and it should be about as loud as a shower running. The crib needs to have a flat firm mattress with a fitted sheet, and nothing else in the crib with the baby until over 1 year old.
Bedtime routine is next. Babies thrive on routine and when they know what steps to expect next, it can be comforting and relaxing to them. A good age to start is 8 weeks old. Believe it or not, it is beneficial this early on. A simple routine may look something like this; enter the room and dim the lights, change diaper, put on pajamas, put into swaddle or sleep sack, read a book, turn the sound machine on, rock for a minute or two, and place your baby in crib nice and relaxed but awake still.
Like the bedtime routine, a morning routine is also important. You'll want to wake the baby about the same time every day. When I say this, I mean that you should have a 30 minute range. If you generally get your baby up for the day at 715, its ok if you get them up anytime from 7-730. You can have a morning routine which just emphasizes that its time to start the day. This could look like; change diaper, dress your baby for the day, and feed them. Make sure to get a lot of active/play time and get outdoors if possible during the day!
The last foundation for healthy sleep is that emotional needs are met. This means spending quality uninterrupted time with your child and showing them some love. This leaves the child feeling assured, safe, and loved.
These are things that can be started early on to lay a healthy sleep foundation. But, its never too late to start any of these things! I hope this is so helpful! If you still have some sleep concerns, please reach out. Click that button at the top of this page to book a free discovery call or DM me on instagram to discuss how I can help you with your baby sleep needs!
- Your Sleep BFF,