In the first weeks of your baby’s life don’t worry too much about how much they are sleeping or how they are transitioning from awake to asleep. Newborns do not understand or respect consistent routines or obey stringent day-to-day guideline. You will need to submit to their unpredictability and avoid unrealistic sleep objectives. The key at this young age is being flexible with their feeding and sleeping routine one is intractably linked with the other. And here is a golden rule – put your baby down drowsy but awake at least once a day just to start teaching them to self-settle.
Aside from feeding, there are other soothing techniques to be learned. Like using a dummy (if you choose to) or using a swaddle to make your newborn feel safe and secure. Swaddling also assists in decreasing a baby’s Moro reflex which is the involuntary reaction to a sudden loss of support/sensation of falling.
When it comes to swaddles I always recommend Love To Swaddle UP as it is the only swaddle on the market that allows babies to sleep in their natural position with arms-up, thereby giving them access to their hands to self-soothe.
At six weeks of age comes a little game changer, in that your baby is becoming a more aware and will also start to differentiate night and day. In order for your baby to know its bedtime at night, it is essential to establish a good bedtime routine and it is important to do this by six weeks of age.
It¹s a great idea to start with a nice warm bath, then go to your baby¹s room (or wherever she/he sleeps at night) and give your baby a gentle massage. Then either breast feed or give your baby a bottle. Have a nice hug and tell your baby it is sleep time; pop them into their Love To Swaddle UP and put them into bed.
In the colder months you can add the Love To Layer ON Merino over the top of the swaddle as a safer alternative to blankets. The Love To Layer ON Merino has been specifically engineered to fit over the swaddle, ensuring the baby stays snugly wrapped and warm all night without the potential dangers associated with blankets such as tangling or suffocation.
Once your baby starts to roll-over (typically between 4-8 months) it’s time to transition them out of a swaddle and into a sleep bag. When transitioning a baby from swaddle to sleep bag parents usually go ‘cold turkey’ but in many instances this can be very unsettling for babies as they have become used to the security of a swaddle. This is when I recommend the Love To Swaddle UP 50/50 as it helps babies adjust to full blown freedom slowly by giving parents the option of removing one arm at a time, so one arm is free and one is still swaddled. Once your baby gets used to this new sensation, the other arm can also be removed. And from here it’s time for your baby to move into a sleep bag!
As your baby gets older you can of course introduce additional activities into their bedtime routine, such as singing or reading books together. Whatever the age, it is so important to have some wind down time and establish sleep routine cues so your baby understands it’s bedtime.