One of the most talked about topics among parents of newborns is definitely sleep. Understanding newborn sleep can be a complicated discussion. But it doesn’t have to be. Wee are here to give you the low down on sleep shaping and how to encourage strong sleep skills from the first night you bring baby home.
If you want to get a jump start on successful independent sleep, are committed to prioritizing and honouring your baby’s schedule, then sleep shaping is for you. Using a flexible eating schedule, feeding upon wake-up and putting them to bed awake and at bedtime can make for a well-rested family.
Formal sleep training shouldn’t take place until after your babe is at least four months old, but before then you can do gentle sleep shaping, focusing on night-time sleep – which develops first. Use swaddling, sleep sacks, shushing and physical and verbal reassurance to calm your wee one – no holding, rocking or feeding.
- Half Day Half Night: During the day take your little one out in the daylight. This helps set their circadian rhythm so they can separate the day and night. At night, keep any diaper changes and feeding quiet, dimly lit and boring with minimal interaction.
- Honour Their Sleep: 10-12 hours of night-time sleep is needed by all children. Late bedtimes and skipped naps create more night wakings, poorer sleep quality and one cranky babe.
- Eradicate Props: Don’t let your little one become dependent on nursing, bottles, and/or constant rocking to put them to sleep. It should be their job to put themselves to sleep.
- Avoid Overtired: Overtired=wired. When babies get too tired it becomes even harder for them to get to and stay asleep. Sleep begets sleeps. A proper age-appropriate number of naps coupled with an early bedtime will help you have less night wakings and more appropriate rising hours.
- Routine for the Win: A short bed-time routine every night helps your little one to anticipate that the “big sleep” is coming. Bath, story, bottle, bed. Simple, brief, calm and consistent.
When it comes to sleep shaping consistency is key. Pick routines and methods that work for you and your little one that you can reasonably follow through night after night. Remember: keep on top of what your baby’s sleep needs are as they age. If your wee one is chronically cranky, yawning, rubbing eyes or pulling ears than they are likely short on sleep. Even babies that are alert and bright-eyed can be more tired than you think. Jump start your sleep success with sleep shaping!