Newborn baby sleep tips

Understand the needs of a newborn baby

Newborn babies sleep most of the time, and according to the National Sleep Foundation, newborns should get 14 to 17 hours of sleep every 24 hours, and some may sleep as much as 18 to 19 hours.

They also need to be fed every 2 to 4 hours day and night, usually sleeping for two to three hours between feedings, and generally cannot sleep through the night.

How can you tell when your newborn needs to sleep or be fed? Observe your baby’s cues, your baby will show whether they want to sleep or be fed through subtle body language or expressions.

Help your baby establish a sleep pattern

You can also establish a daily routine of feed, play, sleep for your newborn:

  1. Feed your baby when they wake up,
  2. Change their diaper,
  3. Talk, play, hug and interact with your baby,
  4. Finally, put your baby to sleep.

Following this routine according to your baby's needs, you can observe the baby's cues and reactions. Your baby may show signs of fatigue soon after feeding, which means that it is time for your baby to sleep, even though there wasn’t much time for you to play and interact with your baby.

Also, your baby may show signs of hunger after play time, just give your baby another feed before putting your baby to sleep. Your baby will naturally sleep better with a full tummy.

Newborn babies occasionally have an extra-long sleep, and that's okay. Unless your baby has jaundice or if there are other special circumstances, there is no need to wake your baby to feed.

How can I help my newborn baby fall asleep at night?

At night, it's best to put your baby to sleep right after feedings, not after play.

You can establish a regular bedtime routine for your baby, such as giving them a warm bath,a diaper change, then putting them on the bed. Play soft music or hum songs, and dim the lights in the room to create a warm and cosy atmosphere, these can help your baby fall asleep and learn to distinguish between day and night.

Some experts also suggest that when your baby is drowsy in your arms, put them on the bed and let them fall asleep. This helps babies learn to fall asleep on their own, otherwise once they get used to falling asleep while nursing or in your arms, in future, you may have to hold your baby in order to get them to sleep.

Important things to note when your baby sleeps

To prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS, accidental death of a baby while sleeping), keep the following in mind when preparing your baby for sleep:

  1. Place your baby to sleep on their backs: Sudden infant death syndrome is usually related to the position of sleeping on the stomach because it puts your baby at risk of suffocation, hence sleeping on their back is the safest.
  2. Don't sleep on a soft bed: An overly soft mattress can increase the chance of sudden infant death.
  3. Keep the crib free of clutter: Do not put too many pillows, blankets and toys. If you need to cover your baby with a blanket, it is recommended to cover it below your baby's chest.

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