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Baby care 101: Sleep



Sleep, sweet sleep. Babies need it, parents desperately want it. As vital as sleep is, it can be the most challenging aspect of caring for a new baby. And to make it even tougher, the more tired you are, the more challenging everything feels. Our babies need to be guided in the process of learning to find their sleep, and as they get older, to settle and re-settle themselves. So, as hard as it can be, it is worth investing time in the journey of ‘parenting our children to sleep’, as Dorothy Waide refers to it. Our best advice, when it comes to infant sleep, is try and relax as much as possible. Babies sense our feelings and calm breeds calm. There is plenty of time ahead for establishing more stringent routines, but in the early days, your baby has a routine of their own - they feed, they need a nappy change, they sleep. Sometimes that sleep will be in our arms, sometimes it will be in baby’s bed.

Read more on baby sleep, settling and re-settling, including many detailed articles by Dorothy here.

Five tips for newborn sleep:

1.  Brand new babies will sleep anywhere, but as a general rule, a dark room is a great place for baby to sleep. Babies need darkness to produce melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep/wake cycles. Blackout curtains are a sound investment for any nursery.

2.  Try not to let your baby get overtired or over-stimulated - a baby under the age of six weeks will ideally be up for no longer than 45 minutes to an hour at a time.

3.  Babies take their cue from you, so take a deep breath and try to relax when settling your baby. 

4.  Don’t underestimate the power of a song. Singing a lullaby calms both parent and child.

5.  If your baby wakes and needs re-settling, do it with as little fuss as possible, avoiding talking and eye contact.

Sleep support

Tiny Heart Gold   You have a wide range of options when choosing a bed for your baby: Moses basket, bassinet, cot, safe co-sleeping pod, Natures Sway baby hammock, you could even make like the Finnish people and use a specially designed cardboard box when baby is small! Whatever your choice, ensure the mattress is new, as previously used mattresses can harbour mould and other nasties.

Tiny Heart Gold   Consider using a Safe T Sleep, a wrap that safely holds your baby in a snug sleeping position with their head and face clear from suffocation risk. Check out safetsleep.com for more information.

Tiny Heart Gold   Merino is an ideal fabric for baby sleepwear, for its temperature-regulating properties. Merino sleeping bags and swaddles have become many a parent’s must-have items.

Tiny Heart Gold   Swaddling new babies has been proven to enhance their sleep as it controls a baby’s startle reflex and also creates a cocooned feeling of security, replicating the womb. The key is to have the swaddle firm over the arms and torso, but loose over baby’s hips, allowing hips and legs to move freely.

 



  


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