Sleep training and newborns

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Newborns can be sleep trained; we do it very gently by “hinting” some ideas to them.
The goal in this phase is to get the baby to find some ways to fall asleep on his own without always relying on you to do the work for them.
Try and put them down in their cot/ bassinet before they fall asleep in your arms. We all love and appreciate a lovely sleeping baby in our arms, but don’t make a habit of it; only do it once in a while otherwise baby will soon enough expect to fall asleep in your arms every time.

Signs of fatigue in the newborn:
Newborns can only tolerate 45 min of activity time before becoming tired and cranky.
We often mistakenly confuse tiredness for hunger because they look so similar.
Signs to look out for are red-rimmed eyes, a glazed-over look, or baby pulling at their ears rubbing over their face. They often arch their backs or twist and try to hide against your shoulder.

Where should newborn babies sleep? 
Anywhere that works for you. Some parents can’t sleep with the baby in their room and for the sake of their own sanity move the baby to their own room. Other parents can’t bear the thought of moving the baby to his own room and the baby sleeps in a cot or bassinet in their room. Whatever works for you is fine at this stage.
Co-sleeping is dangerous and not recommended. The risks involved in co-sleeping are even higher for obese parents, smokers, and parents who drink alcohol or use any drugs.

Surviving the first two weeks: 
Your main goal is to establish a good feeding schedule and work on full quality feedings at the feed times.
If you don’t do this you will be trapped in a routine or habit of  “snacking and snoozing”.
Be flexible but try to keep feed times 3 hours apart.
A feed shouldn’t last longer than 30min unless your baby has medical conditions.
Remember; be good to yourself and take naps where you can. There are no rewards for martyrs!

Example of a newborn routine: eat, play, sleep:
Baby wakes up in the morning and receives his or her first feed out in the family room. (30min)
Have the room nice and light and normal family activities are continuing.
After his feed, it is “playtime”. Baby can be entertained by his siblings, receive cuddles and kisses, etc.
After 45 min the baby goes back to his cot for another sleep ( remember baby should be awake).
This is valuable because the toddlers in your household won’t develop jealousy because the new baby isn’t glued to the mum.
Try to do your baby’s daytime naps in the same place he sleeps during the night.
Be flexible though; life goes on for the rest of your family. The baby can therefore have some naps in the car seat or pram.
Keep repeating the 45 min awake; feed, play than sleep routine till bedtime around 8 pm.

Bedtime routines for newborns
Start from day one!
Babies love routine.
Routine gives them cues that it is a transition time to sleep.
One of the best cues is a relaxing bath.
The only exception where you feed before bedtime is the last feed before bedtime.
Feeding baby before bedtime fill their tummy and might make them sleep longer.
Put baby to bed while still awake
Night feeds will and should happen; however, don’t wake your baby up if it goes past his feeding time (only if he is underweight and you were advised to stick strictly to feed times by your paediatrician)
Babies who are jaundiced also need to be wakened up because they need a lot of fluid to get rid of the bilirubin and not dehydrate.

Sleep Well

Christine