If you’re interested in learning some awesome newborn baby sleep tips, then you are in the right place. When your baby sleeps better, you will notice a more patient, more tolerant, more engaging baby after a good nights rest or quality nap. Be encouraged. It’s never too late to foster excellent sleep habits in a baby, and ultimately help yourself get some much needed rest as well.
(1) Limit the length of naps during the day
We know it’s hard to wake a sleeping baby, but sleeping too long of a stretch during the day can rob nighttime sleep. If the baby sleeps past the 2 – 2.5 hour mark, I would go ahead and wake the baby up, feed him, keep him a wake for a bit, and then lay him down for another nap. If you feel the baby truly needs longer naps, feel free to increase the nap limit to 2.5 hours. Breaking up sleep during the day will help your newborn baby sleep better at night.
There were, of course, times where our son was overtired and needed a little recovery nap. We would allow him to sleep for a little bit longer for just that one nap and then we started getting back on track with our daily routine.
(2) Follow the eat, wake, sleep cycle
The baby wakes from sleep and immediately eats. Then the baby is awake for a while to play. Then the baby goes back to sleep….
This cycle has several purposes. First, it encourages full feedings by allowing the baby to eat immediately after waking. The baby will have the most energy immediately after waking, making him more inclined to take a full feeding and go longer between feedings. Also, by feeding the baby after sleep rather than before sleep, the cycle prevents the baby from associating food with sleep or using food as a sleep prop. When using this cycle, a feeding before bedtime is typically only feeding before sleep.
(3) Use a pre-nap and bedtime routines.
Creating consistent routines for your baby will help bring order to a very chaotic world. Choose a pre-nap routine that works for you. A pre-nap routine may include taking the baby to his room, close the blinds or curtains, place the baby in his sleep sack or wearable blanket, turn on the white noise, sing a quick song, give a few cuddles, and say your sleepy words.
(4) Change your baby’s diaper strategically.
Changing the diaper before a middle of the night feeding prevents the baby from waking up too much after a feeding is finished. When the baby wakes up change the diaper and re-swaddle to prepare him for sleep immediately following a night feeding. If you change the diaper after the night feeding, the baby may become too awake, making it more challenging for him to fall asleep.
(5) Understand how a baby sleeps.
The more your baby sleeps, the more they will sleep. Keeping a baby awake in hopes of tiring him out will actually result in over-stimulation, and he will experience both difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. It is very likely an over-tired baby will sleep shorter, not longer.
Note: Sometimes this tip confuses readers. And it’s no wonder. First I said limit naps during the day, and now I said an over-tired baby will sleep shorter, not longer.