Newborn Sleeping Tips
Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD
When preparing for baby, one thing on your mind will be
to have your newborn
sleeping well. Some tips to help you make your choices.
much should a newborn sleep?
her own crib or co-sleeping?
Is it OK
to rock her to sleep?
Wake her up
for a feeding?
Is it OK to
crying it out?
sleeping products are helpful?
How to teach
her to self soothe?
first weeks with your baby are very special. It's when you have your
first encounters and get to know each other. Enjoy these newborn weeks
they last. You can indulge, hold your baby as much as you like. She is
too young to be spoilt or learn bad
so no need to worry about
holding or soothing her
Most newborns will sleep a lot. 17 hours a day is the average. Average
means that there are many babies sleeping much less (down to 11 hours)
or even more (up to 23 hours).
To know if your newborn
it's much better just to observe her to see if she is content, check how
much sleep is enough
for detailed guidelines. If you are
unsure or worry, ask
Do you have to put your
newborn down awake
? Learning to self soothe is indeed an
important skill for a baby to learn. Putting her down in her crib awake
is the always heard advice for this. For some newborns, this works;
have a natural skill to just lie down and sleep. And that is a
wonderful skill you'll want to keep going.
others though, this advice is a joke (it was for me with my babies!).
And at this age, they're too young to be forced (let alone cry
!). They will easily rock
or nurse to sleep
be held a
bit and then continue to sleep in their crib. Between 4 and 8 months is
when most babies easily do start self
. You can then guide them
by gently decreasing the holding, rocking or nursing to sleep.
Use effective newborn
to soothe your tiny baby when she cries.
Newborn Sleeping Must-Haves
Basically, there are only two things you need:
safe place to
and a dimmable
you want baby sleeping
in her own room or cosleeping
in your room is a very
personal choice. Often also practical matters play a role: do you have
separate room available, and do you have space in your bed or next to
your bed for a crib.
And also, when baby is finally there, many parents find themselves
doing the exact opposite of what they had planned, just because it
feels right at that moment.
In the first weeks and months, having
in your own room
has quite a few advantages
allows you to respond
quickly to baby's needs; you may find you can often soothe her by
simply reaching out your hand on her belly, long before she cries or
asks for a feeding (a great practice towards self-soothing!).
Breastfeeding moms also find it very comfortable not to
have to get up completely for night feedings.
co-sleeping or not
, the main thing is to create
a safe sleeping place
. A safe
(on the back is recommended) and a
are important to avoid injuries and to reduce the
risk of SIDS.
an alternative to in-bed
can highly recommend a cosleeper
That is a
side car bed
attached to your bedside.
her own crib space, but she is
still near you for feeding, soothing and for you to watch over her.
Read about one mom's experience with a cosleeper in this one
week old sleep diary entry
The other must-have is a
, preferably one you can dim and brighten as
needed. Light and activity cues help steer your newborn's sleep
by teaching her the all-important difference
During night awakenings and feedings, the adjustable nightlight helps
you keep the
and still give you enough light to see what you
are doing. As baby grows, a
dim nightlight will reassure
her and keep her from
being scared in the dark.
More tips to help your newborn sleeping well in
To find out how to teach your new baby the right sleeping
skills now, when it matters most, you may find the Complete
Newborn Sleep Guide