Sleep training and newborns

Newborns can be sleep trained; we do it very gently by “hinting” some ideas to them. The goal in this phase is to get 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 crib/ 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 or twice a day otherwise baby will soon enough expect to fall asleep in your arms every time. Signs of fatique 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 is 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 new born baby sleep?  Anywhere that works for you. Some parents can’t sleep with baby in their room and for the sake of their own sanity move baby to their own room. Other parents can’t bear the thought of moving baby to his own room and baby sleeps in a crib or bassinet next to their bed. Whatever works for you is fine at this stage. Co sleeping is dangerous and not recommended. The risks involved in co sleeping is 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 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 2-3 hours apart ( this is generous) 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 baby goes back to his crib 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 mom. Try to do your baby’s day time naps in the same place he sleeps during the night. Be flexible though; life goes on for the rest of your family. Baby can therefor have some naps in the carseat or stroller. Keep repeating the 45 min awake; feed, play then sleep routine  till bedtime around 8pm. Bedtime routines for newborns Start from day one! Babies love routine. Routine gives them cues that it is 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 (drowsy is ok) Night feeds will and should happen; however don’t wake your baby up if she goes past her feeding time (only if she is underweight and you were advised to stick strictly to feed times by your paediatrician) Babies that are jaundiced also need to be waken up because they need a lot of fluid to get rid of the bilirubin and not dehydrate.

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