|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!|
With all the excitement and joy that comes with a new baby there are also many sleepless nights. When you talk to a new parent there is a gaunt, exhausted look in their eye along with feelings of sadness and desperation. Being able to get a decent night's sleep or even being able to sleep for a good 5 hours without having to wake up to shrills and cries can manna from heaven.
There are lots of tactics out there to sleep train your new baby as well as lots of myths and minsinformation out there. When new parents ask their pediatrician what to do they don't always recommend sound strategies.
Here are some of the common strategies and tactics new moms and dads use to get their little ones to get their winks in.
Sleeping with the baby in the bed is a tactic that many parents use. The benefit of doing this is when the baby cries you don't have to get out of bed. The downside is that they will be more dependent on you to soothe them to sleep. Also this can have a very negative impact of the intimacy of the couple since the baby's needs always come first and there are no boundaries. As the child gets older it becomes harder and more difficult to put them in their own room.
|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.|
Crying it out – This is a popular tactic with some parents and a very unpopular one with other parents. Some parents believe that the child needs to learn how to self-soothe, become more independent or to just tire themself out with the crying and wailing. It can be very difficult to not come to your child's side when you hear them crying and many parents don't have the ability to let them cry without coming to their side. Another option is to let them cry for a set amount of time before coming to their side. Babies don't know how to communicate their unhappiness besides crying.
Lighting in the bedroom. Make sure to have dim lighting in the bedroom and even if the baby cries at night do not turn on the light.
Night Feedings – Some moms believe that grinding up some baby oatmeal or cheerios and putting some in their milk at night is a way to get them to sleep through the night. Sometimes babies just cry because they are hungry so giving them some food at night is another tactic.
Infant Sleep Positioner – Having a way to position your baby so that it is in it's most comfortable postion is another tactic. Babies can't move their bodies that easily so helping it to get comfortable before it goes to sleep is another tactic.
Baby Sleeping Wedge – Using a device called a wedge can help the baby to feel more comfortable in it's crib.
|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.|