A newborn baby sleeps approximately 16 hours a day, but the Mayo Clinic states that these hours are not all at once. In fact, your newborn may only sleep for a couple of hours at a time and not develop a regular sleep cycle for several months. This can leave you feeling overtired and stressed, wondering how you will ever get your baby to sleep better and longer. There are methods for you to try, but remember that consistency is key to helping your baby sleep well.
Your baby will probably show signs that he is starting to get tired, such as rubbing his eyes or becoming quiet. Learn to recognize his tired signs so that you can put him to sleep while he is drowsy but still awake. This will help him learn to put himself to sleep in his bed, which will also teach him to soothe himself if he wakes in the middle of the night.
A regular bedtime routine can signal to your baby that it is time for bed. Over time, she will be able to associate a consistent routine with sleep, which may help her sleep better. Try giving her a bath, reading a book and then singing a song before putting her down for bed. Be sure to be consistent in order for her to develop sleep associations.
If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, do not pick him up right away. If he is gaining weight properly, he may not be hungry. Wait a few minutes and see if he is able to soothe himself back to sleep. If he doesn’t stop crying or you feel that he may be hungry, go ahead and feed him, but give him a chance to self-soothe first.
Night and Day
Establishing a difference between night and day can help your baby learn when it is time to be awake and when it is time to sleep. Fill her awake time during the day with natural light and a lot of talking, singing and playing. Stimulate her senses as much as she allows. As the day winds to an end, make the activities quieter, such as reading stories or playing with soft toys. When you feed and change her during the night, limit your interaction with her. Resist the urge to talk to her or turn on the light in order for her to learn the difference between night and day.