Baby is Sleeping, for Now

Shh… Baby is Sleeping, for Now

May 11, 2022 Infant

SHH…

Baby is Sleeping, for Now

As a new mom, I thought I would never get a full night’s sleep again. It seemed as soon as I would get to sleep, the fussing and crying would start. But, eventually, I got a full four hours of sleep in a row and it was amazing! I felt like my brain could work again.

Being a new parent and not sleeping much is hard. Understanding why your baby wakes up so often can make things a little easier.

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Babies begin sleeping before birth, but their sleep patterns are often the opposite of ours. When you move during the day you naturally “rock” your baby, but when you lie down at night, the rocking stops. You may think your baby has days and nights mixed up but it’s really because they haven’t developed their natural sleep rhythm yet. The “circadian rhythm” is the body’s internal clock that sets sleep cycles. It’s controlled by a part of the brain that doesn’t develop until about 6 weeks of age.
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Newborns fall asleep dreaming and keep dreaming for 20-30 minutes after falling asleep. When your newborn dreams, they are in a light sleep and can wake up easily. They may twitch, move their eyes, make noises or startle. You can help them stay asleep longer by continuing to hold them during this lighter sleep phase and lay them down after they are fully relaxed into a deep sleep.
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During your baby’s first month, you can help them feel more secure by swaddling them in a light blanket. This keeps your baby feeling cozy and warm without being overheated. As your baby gets older, they will need space to roll around in their crib — you should stop swaddling and put them to bed in the center of the crib.
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Creating a safe sleep environment for your newborn is essential to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). A newborn should always be put to sleep on their back on a firm mattress with nothing else – no blankets, toys, or pillows. Your baby should share your room, but never your bed. Keeping them close to your bed in their own cradle, bassinet or crib is a good idea for the first few weeks.
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It is normal and important for your newborn to wake up every 2 to 3 hours to eat, have their diaper changed and bond with you. Newborns have very tiny stomachs and need to be fed often or “on demand.” Over time, you will learn your baby’s different cues and when you need to respond right away and when you can let them calm down on their own.

Newborns sleep in short periods of time which add up to 16-18 hours a day. Babies begin to have sleep patterns when they are about 6 weeks old. By about 6 months, most babies have a fairly regular sleep cycle, but that doesn’t mean all 6-month-olds will sleep through the night!

Health

Having a newborn often comes with lack of sleep and fatigue, so here are some words of wisdom:

Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: