Getting a newborn baby to sleep at night is not a perfect process. You have to try things and find something that works for you and your baby. When your baby sleeps better, you will notice a more patient, more tolerant, more engaging baby after a good night’s rest or a good nap.
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From birth to around four or five months of age, babies have a startle reflex, where they feel like they’re falling. This sensation of falling causes jerking movements, waking your baby.
A tight swaddle prevents your baby from startling themselves awake, so they can sleep better or longer. You can swaddle your baby before putting them in their cot or moses baskets.
Limit The Length Of Naps During The Day
It’s hard to bring yourself to wake a sleeping baby, but if you let them sleep for too long during the day, they may not sleep at night. If your baby sleeps past the two to two and a half hour mark, go ahead and wake them up, feed them, and try to keep them awake for a bit. You can lay them down for another nap afterward. If you think that your baby really does need a longer nap, increase the nap limit to around two and a half hours. Breaking up their sleep during the day will help your baby to sleep better at night. It will also allow you to fit more feedings in during the day, which can be very helpful.
There will be times, of course, when your newborn is overtired and will need a recovery nap. You can allow the baby to sleep for a little longer, just for one nap, and then get back on track with your daily routine.
Use White Noise
If your baby can hear noise coming from elsewhere in the house, it can be harder for them to fall and stay asleep.
Place a fan on medium in the baby’s room, but not directly next to the baby. You don’t want the fan to blow directly onto the baby, or be too close to their sensitive ears. White noise can help a lot when you’re traveling. In fact, with white noise, you can usually avoid having to ask anyone else in the house to keep the noise down or be quiet.
You can use a regular fan or a white noise machine.
Don’t Rush In
It can be easy to accidentally encourage the start of a bad sleep habit by rushing in whenever your baby makes a sound during the night. In fact, babies often wake up for a few moments and then fall back to sleep. They might even cry briefly, or even babble, and still actually be asleep.
Give the baby a moment and see if they will resettle by themselves. Don’t rush in and disturb this process in order to help your newborn to sleep better.
Wait for two to ten minutes to see if they settle. Listen to their cries. If they’re starting to escalate, then they probably need you.