This is the one right, we all think babies just sleep all day long and are quite happy to do so but in reality it is not so true all the time. Certainly in the first few weeks this may be the case but as they get older, the weeks turn into months and now your new-born is say 8 weeks old, perhaps she is not sleeping as easily as she did even just even a week ago.
Babies change so fast, this first year is when they do the most growing, developing and learning ever. Just 1 week may make all the difference in sleep and perhaps it is not so easy to get them to nap anymore.
So we know they need sleep but how do we help them along if they are refusing and struggling to fall asleep?
Here I am going to explain some ways for you to try to help support your baby to nap.
Your baby has spent 9 months all curled up and squished inside you, swaddling them not only replicates this to a degree and makes them feel safe and secure but also stops the Moro reflex that wakes them up. I often hear parents explain how they never swaddled or their baby just does not like to be swaddled and I have found that when we revisit this and perhaps try again it was just the wrong swaddle for them or it was not done to “their liking”! Swaddles come in different shapes, sizes and designs. Your baby may like to suck a thumb or their wrist and there are swaddles that will allow for this. Check out the “MIRACLE BLANKET” for one.
I would always recommend to swaddle from day one and you must stop swaddling the moment you see them making tracks to roll over.
Check out my favorite swaddle in my "PRODUTS" highlight on my IG www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/18124314952159581/
2. Support Them To Sleep
By this I mean to be there to help them along into that deep lull of sleep. This may look like a shhhh/patting motion, rocking, feeding or some other motion. You may have heard that these actions are not “positive sleep associations” but let’s get real here, your baby needs to sleep and if that means you need to help them along by doing these actions then surely that is a positive thing?! Of course over time as your baby gets older towards the 4-5 month mark you may find you need to pull back on how much of this support you give them as they do learn to fall asleep independently.
3. White Noise
This tool you will learn to love just like the swaddle. It will really help block out the external noises so your baby can sleep peacefully. Any sudden loud knock on the front door or a noisy toddler running around will not be heard when you have that white noise on! You will need to have it up quite loud, as long as it feels comfortable to your ears it will be perfect. Use it all night long and for the whole duration of the nap time. Also if you have twins or siblings sharing a room have this white noise machine in between them both.
Check out my favorite white noise machines in my "PRODUTS" highlight on my www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/18124314952159581/
4. Sling Wearing
Wearing a sling especially for busy times of the day can be your saviour. I was really against using a sling when Chloe my second came along but WOW! I never looked back once I tried it! When you are on the school run, running those errands or prepping dinner for the older siblings wearing a sling can really help with that last nap of the day, as it is also the hardest nap to achieve due to it being out with a biological sleep window.
Your baby loves to be close to you, feeling your warmth and heartbeat, being closer to their skin really will help them drift off to a peaceful sleep.
If you are not sure what is the right sling to go for check out my IGTV interview I did with Sarah from southlondonslings.co.uk/
Watch the video here www.instagram.com/tv/CNDi_DyCTeM/
We talk about different slings that suit different needs and desires from wraps to more robust slings with pockets and buckles.
1. Don’t let your baby fall asleep for long lengths of time in the car seat. Car seats are not designed for sleeping in, so long journeys advice from the Lullaby Trust says please make regular stops and do not let them sleep longer than 2 hours.
2. Don’t let your newborn get overtired. Watch for their sleepy cues, that may look like the obvious yawning and rubbing eyes but other signs to look for are sucking hands, /wrists, pulling ears, red eyes, glazed eyes or perhaps manic crying. You, the expert of your baby will come to learn these cues and know it’s time for that nap!
3. Keep up past awake windows. You will have an overtired baby on your hands and your little bundle will find it hard to nod off. You may experience frantic crying and ridged body that you find hard to settle. Check out my blog on awake windows here for a guide for babies up to the age of 15 months.
So there we have it, some advice on helping your new born to nap in the day. Please feel free to share this blog with a friend who may be expecting or may have already started this newborn napping journey and looking for help with their baby's naps!
As always, happy peaceful nights to you,
Your Paediatric Sleep Consultant