Let's start with a fact…you will get sleep again! But, sleep sure looks a bit different, and there’s a lot less, when you have a newborn. Our Summer Health sleep experts are here to share a few tips to improve those sleepless nights.
“Newborns don’t know the difference between night and day when they are born. That’s one of the reasons why you feel like they are up at all hours,” says Dr. Alisa Roysman, who specializes in baby sleep training. “Establishing a consistent routine can be tremendously helpful for getting more sleep with a newborn.”
Don’t forget to try and catch up on the rest you also need. Taking naps while your baby sleeps or asking for a few hours of help from a friend or family member can be tremendously helpful.
“Within month two, you may notice your baby has started to develop new patterns such as a more consistent feeding schedule and being more alert in the morning,” notes Dr. Ali Alhassani, Head of Clinical at Summer Health. “Remember every baby is different and it is important to stay flexible during this stage. Your baby may get a good stretch of regular naps, but then a growth spurt or travel may move them off this new rhythm. Be patient, you will continue to find more of a routine as your baby gets older.”
“At this time, your baby has started to learn the difference between day and night time,” explains Dr. Alisa Roysman “Keeping a consistent wake-up time and bedtime schedule can now become a routine and help transition your baby to a full night of sleep.”
Around week 10-12, you may notice that your baby is a little small for a bassinet. Most bassinets are safe for 3 months or younger, so as you get closer to 12 weeks it is good to consider transitioning your baby to a crib.
Crib safety is important, you can help to make sure you have set up your baby’s new sleep environment safely by reviewing these tips. You won’t need any blankets, pillows or bumpers to keep your baby comfortable at night – and it is important to keep their crib empty to keep a safe environment.
For some babies it takes time to transition to their new sleep environment. To start, it can be helpful to have them nap in the bassinet and gradually add more sleep time to their new sleep space. Remember to try and follow the same sleep schedule through the day and keep your baby on their back.
Newborn babies should sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). However you’ll likely see at some point your baby has rolled over onto their stomach in their crib.
“Once a baby has the ability to roll from their back to their stomach on their own, it is usually safe for them to sleep on their stomach,” notes Dr. Alisa Roysman “This usually happens between 4-6 months of age.”
Once babies are rolling, or even getting close to rolling, it is important to take them out of their sleep swaddle for safety. A nice transition is a sleep sack or even the “Zipadee-zip” for babies that like to feel their arms inside cloth.
Every day brings something new for your newborn. Flexibility is key and always follow your baby's cues.
Spitting out their pacifier? If it is no longer helpful for soothing them, this can be a great time to let the pacifier go and prevent the amount of times you need to go into your baby’s room. If your baby relies on it heavily for sleep, you can scatter several throughout the crib for easy access in the middle of the night.
Wondering when your baby can go without a nighttime feed? Most babies wean off between 4-6 months, however many factors influence when the right time is. It’s important to talk with your pediatrician before making this transition. If you would like to speak with one today, reach out to Summer Health and we will connect you to a licensed pediatrician in 15 minutes.