It’s said that the first three months of life are like the fourth trimester of pregnancy, so simulating a womb-like experience will help your new baby settle off to sleep. They need to feel safe and secure and connected to you, and feed and sleep at will.
A newborn will sleep for 16-20 hours in a 24 hour period … although definitely not in one stretch! In the first three months, babies rarely sleep for more than four hours at a time despite how much their sleep-deprived parents will it! This is because they have tiny tummies and need to feed often.
Top 10 Tips
1. By one month, babies need to sleep for around 16 hours in a 24 hour period.
2. Swaddling can be comforting for some babies as it re-creates the secure feeling of the womb.
3. When swaddling, fold your baby’s arms so their hands are up beside their face. They need to be able to discover and explore their mouth, and suck on their hands and fists.
4. Early signs that your baby is tired are staring into space, rubbing their eyes and yawning.
5. As your baby gets more tired, they will clench their fists, grizzle, screw up their face, and jerk their arms and legs.
6. Crying and getting really distressed are signs baby is overtired.
7. Many babies need to be parented to sleep rather than just put down. Try patting, shushing and swaying.
8. Newborn babies will often feed themselves to sleep, which is fine or in expert speak: ‘developmentally appropriate’.
9. 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.
10. 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.