If you feel like you haven’t had a good night’s sleep since your baby came into the world, you’re not alone. The truth is that sleepless nights are like a ‘rite of passage’ for new moms and dads – the issue is of course that lack of sleep doesn’t just impact the parents, it also impacts the baby as well. Babies need to get enough sleep.
According to the Mayo Clinic, newborns should sleep for at least 16 or more hours a day – usually this is in a few short bursts of time. By the time a baby reaches three to four months old, they should be sleeping for stretches of five or more hours at a time – and within the first year, they will eventually begin sleeping for 10 hours through the night.
The Sleep Foundation reports that sleep is paramount for young babies and children, because early in life is when babies tend to undergo the most incredible development that impacts the body, brain, emotions, and behaviour, setting the stage for their growth into childhood and then adulthood.
In light of the importance of sleep, it’s easy to see how important it is to ensure that your baby sleeps well and gets all of the sleep that he or she needs. The question is, what do babies actually need to sleep well?
1. A Sleep Schedule
If you want to help your baby get plenty of sleep, it’s important that you implement a sleep schedule and stick to it. Babies need consistency and a set schedule will help to regulate their body clock.
Should you want to change your baby’s sleep schedule slightly, make sure that you take the time to do so slowly. Start by moving every task, from mealtimes to bedtimes up by 15 minutes each day, until you’ve changed the sleep schedule to what you need it to be. Your baby’s body clock should adjust within a week.
2. A Comfortable Swaddle or Sleepsuit
Swaddling your baby or making sure he or she is in the right sleepsuit is important. You want to ensure that your baby is in a sleepsuit that allows them to be as comfortable and content as possible, such as using a Magic Sleepsuit that’s designed to mimic the womb-like sleep environment while also keeping your baby safe while he or she sleeps.
Another option is to swaddle your baby. Even if swaddling hasn’t gone well in the past, don’t give up on it. Babies are always changing and developing and what wouldn’t work at two days old, might work wonders at two months old. Don’t give up on swaddling – just make sure that you know how to swaddle safely.
It’s no secret that babies need peace and quiet to sleep properly but what happens when everyday sounds – think: car doors, dogs barking, and people talking – wake your baby up? How can you create a quiet enough environment for your little one to get all of the sleep that they need?
The answer is simpler that you might think: drown out the noise. Sounds strange but a white-noise machine or phone app can be life-changing for your baby’s ability to sleep. Couple this with a blackout blind and you can turn your baby’s nursery into a womb-like space, designed to perfectly meet your baby’s sleep needs.
4. The Right Nutrition
Did you know that a baby’s nutrition can and does affect their sleep? What your baby eats has a big impact on how well they sleep, which is why it’s important to ensure that you’re feeding your baby foods that will aid their sleep in a positive way.
A key tip is to feed your baby until they’re full – this is when they either turn their head away or refuse to open their mouth.
There you have it, a guide to everything that you need to know about what babies need to sleep well.