Sleeping Doesn't Come Naturally for Newborns
When a baby is born everyone has to make adjustments, including the baby. The baby is used to sleeping in the womb anytime. The mom's movements during the day provide a comforting rocking motion. Once you come home from the hospital, it is time to start establishing routines that will help everyone adjust.
As you observe your little one, you will notice some signs that they are beginning to get tired, including yawning, stops playing, getting a dazed look and wanting to nurse - even if they ate not long ago. When you start seeing these signs, it is time to start the bedtime or nap routine.
There are a few things that are usually good to include in a bedtime routine. A bath followed by getting into pajamas will soon become a signal that it is time to settle down. There are some baby bath products that are supposed to help calm fussy babies, too, and help them relax for bedtime. Follow the bath with some time in the rocking chair and hopefully the baby will be drifting off soon.
By singing lullabies or reading stories, the baby falls asleep knowing you are still close by. This helps them feel safe and secure and able to fall asleep quicker. As they drift off, some babies can be placed in their crib while drowsy and they will fall to sleep the rest of the way on their own. Other babies need a little more time to fall into a deeper sleep before being moved.
There are two schools of thought on where the baby should sleep. Some are firm believes in the baby sleeping in their own crib. They use the "cry it out" method to help the baby learn to sleep on their own. Others use a "visit and leave" method, extending the amount of time the parent comes in to check on the child before returning to their own bed. When they come in, they don't pick the child up, but rather comfort them while they remain in the crib. This assures the child that the parents are near by and they are safe.
On the other hand, some parents prefer to co-sleep, letting the baby sleep in the parents' bed (with precautions to baby-proof the bed). This allows the child to be near mom all night. If you co-sleep, the baby might not go to bed until you do, allowing the baby fall asleep as they nurse. Many families prefer this, as it also allows for less missed sleep during the night. Sometimes neither the mother nor baby wake completely for nightly feedings. Some feel that this leads to too much dependence on the mother, but studies have shown it actually helps children to grow up feeling much more confident and closer to their parents.
You have to decide which works best for your family and establish routines to fit that choice. Once the baby gets used to a routine, and it works, continue with it each night. It may not be easy at first, but the consistency will pay off once everyone is getting a good night's sleep.
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