This post is part of our Sleep Series. Fellow moms helping you to rest easy!
The early days of bringing a newborn home are filled with sweet cuddles, baby coos, and watching the baby sleep. That’s all well and good for the waking hours, but what about after the sun goes down? After the first two weeks with a baby starting to catch onto my game, nighttime became a guessing game–how many hours sleep would mom and dad get? How many times would baby nurse? What time would we actually go to sleep? This is what spurred our new nighttime routine.
- Pick a bedtime and stick to it. Whatever time you choose: 8:00pm, 9:00pm, 10:00pm–keep to your bedtime. Don’t be afraid to make it a family bedtime. Everyone goes to bed at the same time. Several weeks on the same schedule will help everyone get used to sleeping with a newborn in the house.
- Turn down the lights before bedtime. Most of your early days will be spent indoors. During the day, open up the windows and let the sunshine in! But in the evening, turn the lights down low, turn the TV off, and help your newborn develop her circadian rhythms. This will help your baby develop better sleep patterns and help everyone sleep soundly!
- Give baby a bath before bedtime. Make bath time a nighttime routine and not a daytime routine. The cool down the body experiences signals to your body it is almost time to sleep. A regular, relaxing, nighttime bath will help baby get used to his routine.
- Pick your favorite baby-safe lotion, and give baby a gentle massage. Just like you are ready to nap after a spa appointment, a regular, gentle massage will help baby get ready for bed time and help her fall asleep soundly.
- The morning routine is just as important as the nighttime routine! Getting baby to wake up at the same time every morning may be next to impossible, but keep the activities the same. Change his diaper, change his clothes, nurse or feed him a bottle, then playtime.
One thing is certain, there is no magic pill to help your newborn fall asleep, but try these out and see if it gives you a night or two of reprieve from your newborn’s sleep-deprived adjustment to life on the outside!