Sleep Routines For Unsettled Babies

Newborn Tips#1: Don't Hush-A-Bye-Baby
You don't have to be quiet while the baby is sleeping. The womb is loud, and newborns are used to the noise. When ours first came home, we watched television and I would vacuum, wash dishes and talk on the phone around her while she slept. She got used to sleeping with noise, and I could get stuff done. I am still able to vacuum in her room while she sleeps (she is 14 months), and she is peaceful and well rested when she wakes up.
Newborn Tips#2: Soothe Your Wailing Newborn
When my baby cries, I comfort her by patting her back in a heartbeat-like rhythm. That helps her burp more quickly, and it also helps her relax if she's crying from insecurity. If this doesn’t work, I also try one or all of Dr. Harvey Karp's five calming moves: swaddling, shushing, holding her on her side, swinging her or letting her suck. Sometimes it takes all six!

Additional Information:

It's such a wonderful thing becoming a parent, but it does also come with its challenges. Your body and lifestyle has to get used to a whole new routine that is centred on your baby, which can leave you feeling drained and exhausted from all those sleepless nights and constant feeding. All this is perfectly normal, but establishing some kind of routine is a great way to get your baby into good sleeping habits and also help him feel more settled overall.

Up to twelve weeks, babies can't regulate their sleep cycles so they may sleep for equal amounts during the day, but by twelve weeks most babies typically settle into longer sleep patterns, particularly at night.

Generally if a baby is well rested, it will tend to feel more settled in other situations throughout the day, so encourage positive sleep patterns is a good place to start.

Bedtime Routine

From as early as six to eight weeks, it is a good idea to introduce a bedtime routine. It may be that your child isn't necessarily responsive at first, but it will soon become normal activity and signal it's time to go to sleep. Start by putting your baby to bed at a consistent time, make a bedtime story, cuddle or quiet game part of the routine before you put them down. Eventually this will mean your child will associate the routine with going to sleep.

Newborn Tips#3: Help Get Your Baby to Latch
If you are having latch-on issues while breastfeeding your baby, you can use breast shields to help the process. This was a wonderful tip that I learned from my lactation consultant. I had to use the shields for an entire month before my baby would latch onto my own nipple without them. Had it not been for the breast shields, I would not have been able to continue nursing my baby.
Newborn Tips#4: Get Prepped
At 3 weeks, babies’ days and nights become more predictable, and you can focus on yourself in addition to your newborn. One way to do that is by reducing your stress level - and having everything ready for your hungry baby and yourself is one way to do that. Start by prepping for the next feeding as soon as the previous one is over. For example, after an 11 p.m. feeding, get ready for the 2 a.m. one by prepping whatever you need for feeding and putting out fresh drinking water for yourself so you don’t have anything to think about in the middle of the night. During the day, take advantage of the baby’s naps to work out, shower or catch up on e-mail, or take a nap too.

Bath time

A great way to settle your baby is with a bath. Using organic baby bath products and organic essential oils, like lavender and camomile, are known to sooth and help with sleeping too. By using organic products they will be less likely to affect their delicate baby skin too.

Comforter

Many babies get distressed when the mother leaves the room, particularly at bed time, so it's a good idea to introduce a favourite comforter toy or blanket that they can snuggle with in the cot. Before you put your child to bed rub the item on your skin, so that it has the familiar scent of you, which will make them feel more relaxed.

Self-Soothing

To help your baby settle, it's important to recognise when they are tired and encourage them to self sooth their way to sleep. When they show signs of tiredness, then place them in their cot on their back. If they cry when you leave the room, try gently patting them until they stop and leave again. This can take some doing, but will be worthwhile in the end when your baby is settled.

Newborn Tips#5: Keeping Your Baby Awake During Feedings
When our baby was eating slowly and sleepily, my husband and I would massage her cheek to stimulate her to eat faster. A gentle stroke with a fingertip on her cheek was all it took, and on those long sleepless nights, this simple trick was a godsend! Our friends have found it works great with their infants too. When babies eat efficiently until they're full before going to sleep, they sleep for longer between feedings. And that means you’re both likely to be calmer!
Newborn Tips#6: Help Your Baby Bond with Dad
Make sure your baby has ample time alone with Daddy. His touch and voice are different than yours, and this will begin a bonding process and give you a break. Plus, it gets the baby used to being with someone other than you. The first few times can be hard. Make sure your baby is fed and well rested, as this will give you at least one or two hours before you're needed again. Then leave Dad and the baby alone. If you stay nearby, make sure the baby can’t see or hear you, and resist the urge to go into the room and "fix" things if she starts crying. Your baby cries with you and you experiment to find out what's wrong. Dads need time to do this too - in their own way. By allowing this time, your child will learn there is more than one way to receive comfort, which will help immensely when you leave your baby with a sitter or another family member for the first time. You could have your partner bathe her, put her to bed or just read or talk to her.
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