Make your baby’s bedtime routine a bonding time with soft music and rocking. Try practicing your singing skills with a soft, gentle lullaby. Many online companies actually make a sound machine that re-creates the same sounds that are present in the mother’s womb. These machines make a swish, swish “white noise” sound that has been proven to help soothe newborns to sleep. Try swaddling your baby to help them feel safe and comfortable. Many young babies enjoy a swaddle as it re-creates the safe, close-comfortable feeling they had in the womb.
For the fussy baby that will just not go to sleep, consider the reasons why. Check your baby’s diaper again to make sure it is still clean and dry. Clean diaper conditions can change drastically in just a matter of minutes. Hold your baby upright and pat their back to see if any more burps need to come up. Uncomfortable gas will cause your baby to pull their legs up over and over again in a painful gesture.
If your baby cries and cries for hours on end, they could be over stimulated or have colic. Over stimulation is when they have been overloaded with too much noise and sound. Try swaddling, cuddling and rocking to get your baby to quietly settle down. If you suspect colic, talk to your doctor about over the counter baby gas drops or other pediatric recommendations. Remember it may take a few hours of cry time, but eventually your baby will wear out and go to sleep.
Once your baby is asleep, be careful of the transition period when you lay them down. A slight movement could stimulate your baby to jerk awake with a “startle reflex.” This is where baby will move an arm and/or leg suddenly to jerk themselves awake. Swaddling has been known to help babies sleep longer and prevent the startle reflex. *The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends laying a sleeping baby on their back to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, also known as SIDS.
Some babies will prefer the crib while others will want a snuggly place to snooze. If your baby can’t stand the crib, try one of these sleep space alternatives; a comfortable car seat, bassinet, cradle or a smaller sized crib. However, never, ever leave a baby alone in a sitting car. Garage fumes can build up and cause irritation to a baby’s sensitive lungs. Heat could cause the baby to die of heat exposure and cold can cause death from hypothermia. It is always better to take your baby in the house and let them sleep in a safe, climate comfortable, stimulus free room. Never justify leaving a baby in the car just so you can avoid the risk of having them wake up when you take them out of the car.
For the first eight weeks to three months, your baby will wake up at night for one to three feedings based on how much they ate and slept during the day. Before a growth spurt, babies will eat more and then finally get to a stage where they eat less and sleep more. Prior to a growth spurt, your baby may wake up at night for an extra feeding. After you feed a baby at night, you may be so tired that you just want to go back to sleep, but baby may have different ideas.
Baby may stay awake to digest all of the food and then have a bowl movement. Baby may also want to play. It is important during these early months that you gradually adjust your baby to their new environment. If you are so exhausted that you can’t think straight, try getting some relief by night shift trading with a spouse, aunt, sister, grandmother, mother or mother-in-law. Chances are they will jump at the chance to get some hands-on-experience with your new little bundle of joy.