It’s said that the first three months of life are like the fourth trimester of pregnancy, so simulating a womb-like experience is important for your new baby. They need to feel safe and secure and connected to you, and feed and sleep at will.
Swaddling can be comforting for some babies as it re-creates the secure feeling of the womb. When swaddling, it’s important that baby’s arms are folded so their hands are up beside their face. Baby needs to be able to discover and explore their mouth area, and suck on their hands and fists.
A newborn will sleep for 16-20 hours in a 24 hour period. By one month, this is down to around 16 hours. In the first three months, babies rarely sleep for more than four hours at a stretch because they have tiny tummies and need to feed often.
Early signs that your baby is tired are staring into space, rubbing their eyes and yawning. As baby gets more tired, they will clench their fists, grizzle, screw up their face, and jerk their arms and legs. Crying and getting really distressed are signs baby is overtired.
Many babies need to be parented to sleep rather than just put down. Very newborn babies will often feed themselves to sleep, which is developmentally appropriate. Try patting, shushing and swaying.
The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a bassinet or cot in the same room as you, ideally with a new mattress. If a mattress has been used before, make sure it is clean, firm and flat, with no hollow, and that it fits the base snugly.
Always put baby to sleep on their back to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death, and place them near the end of the bassinet or cot, not at the end.