NEWBORN SETTLING SUCCESS
The stages from newborn through to 12 weeks is an ever changing period, your baby’s needs change every week or so around sleep, awake time thresholds, feeding times and demands - especially during those little growth spurts! At 6 weeks of age your baby’s maternal melatonin, which is passed on from yourself as the mother, is worn off and many parents report their babies becoming much more ‘vocal and awake!’ At this age! So, how can we better understand settling and sleep for the newborn baby, and what are come factors to consider in succeeding in this area, and gaining confidence? ✖️Day and night confusion is common for newborn babies, and can take around 1-2 weeks (where some routine is in place - a simple bedtime or Feed, Play , Sleep is enough for this age!) to sort itself out. It is simply defined as the period where they are more sleepy during the day and tend to have lengthier stints of sleep during the day, and smaller periods overnight broken by feeds. ✖️A way to assist with this is to sleep your baby in a dark room from 3 weeks of age, to help them understand day from night through the introduction of sleep in the dark, and awake time in the light! It helps to imitate the development of their biological clock and circadian rhythms which begin forming around 8+ weeks of age. ✖️There are some main reasons we usually see a newborn baby unable to settle. They are either hungry, have discomfort or pain (think wind like pains or the need for a burp), a soiled or wet nappy, tired or too hot or too cold. Work through these as a process of elimination, but you’ll soon recognize your baby’s cues and cries and match them up to these typical demands! ✖️Recognizing that newborn babies have a period of REM sleep when they are first drifting off, and they are asleep! This is characterized by fluttering eyelids, little grins/smiles or even grimaces, some small signs and body movements - if they aren’t crying then they are falling into that deeper transition of sleep which can take up to 20 minutes for some! Giving them the opportunity to lay there and sleep in this period will assist their settling, as they can also be easily woken from this lighter stage of sleep. ✖️There will be times where you may need to assist your child to sleep through an assisted nap - which is a-ok! Motion is the easiest way to achieve this for a newborn baby and anything that involves rocking or swinging helps! A pram ride, sling or baby carrier or baby rocker can get them into the deeper sleep stage around 15-20 minutes from them falling asleep, then you can transition them to their bassist or cot from this time. Always ensure that you never leave your baby unattended when having an assisted nap, safety first. ✖️Understanding your baby’s wake times will help to ensure they aren’t pushed into an overtired state and make settling and sleep harder to achieve. Slowly increasing their awake time by 5-10 minute every week, or a few minutes each two days will help them to slowly and gradually be able to stay awake for longer periods of time. Newborns typically can only handle 30-45 minutes of awake time which will most likely involve a feed and nappy change only to begin with! From 3-6 weeks this slowly increases and around 12 weeks of age they can manage an awake time of closer to 1 hour and 15/30 minutes!
If you’re struggling with settling your newborn baby, and would like more information surrounding their needs, awake times or some age appropriate routine/guidelines, you can find this in our Newborn Sleep Guide here.