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The Midwife Mumma: 'The most important advice I give new mums about babies and sleep.'

I get a LOT of questions about sleep and the best ways to develop the perfect sleep routine that will have a baby literally ‘sleeping like a baby’. 

Mostly these questions come from first time mothers who are understandably looking for as many tips and tricks as they can get when it comes to the first few weeks and months with their little ones. 

The first six weeks post-birth, commonly known as the fourth trimester, is a crucial time to develop a bond with your baby and establish a successful and gentle feeding and sleeping routine. 

Watch: How to get a newborn baby to sleep. Post continues below.


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The fourth trimester is a time of rapid growth for your baby - a time in which they will learn to adapt to the world outside of your womb. Naturally, it is also a time of pure joy and happiness, mixed with absolute exhaustion as you all adapt to your new normal together. 

So, to the question you’ve been asking since getting home from the hospital: 

How do I get my baby to sleep?

First and foremost, do not lose your mental health over sleep. Easier said than done, I know, I totally get it. But if I look back I definitely wish that I didn’t fret over sleep as much as I did.

Start with some basic positive sleep associations from day one. A swaddle for your baby, a dark room and some gentle lullaby music. 

'Feed play sleep' is key.

All you need to remember is this; for the first three weeks of your baby's life, they will spend more time asleep than awake. This is totally normal.

Listen to Mamamia's podcast for new mums, Hello Bump. Post continues below. 

The reason for this is that when they are born, their mother’s melatonin hormone (the sleep hormone) saturates their bloodstream. 

This means they will sleep a lot because this hormone is so high in their bodies. From three weeks of age this hormone starts to wean out of their system, and they are now responsible for creating their very own sleep hormone for the first time ever.

Once they hit three weeks, your baby will essentially ‘wake up’ to the world and start to spend a lot more time awake and alert. This means they might be a little harder to get to sleep (sorry!).

At three weeks old, your baby will also undergo their first growth spurt. You will need to feed more regularly at this age, or when your baby demands it.

From this age, we recommend starting to sleep your baby in a pitch-black room as this helps them produce the sleepy hormone melatonin that is essential for wake and sleep patterns. The darker the room the better.

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💤🍼 🅑🅔🅓🅣🅘🅜🅔 🅡🅞🅤🅣🅘🅝🅔🅢>> your bubba is never too young to start a simply effective bedtime routine. In newborns particularly, it helps decrease colicky witching hour periods and helps establish their natural circadian rhythm. From birth Essie was bathed at 5:30pm & breastfed and in bed asleep by 6pm. Rarely did she fuss or have restless periods in the evening and I swear it is because of this. I learnt all of this after being at sleep school with Alfie and my goodness the benefits of a solid, relaxed bedtime routine are endless. Baby knows what is coming and their body clocks naturally adapt every day. Mum & dad can enjoy some baby free time and actually finish a meal without being interrupted or overwhelmed. Of course the baby always comes first but do not underestimate the importance of having your own time each day. That cup needs to be constantly refilled. Baby Hart here loving his bot bot and brand new sleeping bag and cot sheets from my store. He has the same routine every night and settles and sleeps like a dream boat. How did your little ones sleep last night?

A post shared by  Amelia Lamont (@themidwifemumma) on


This means that for all sleep times, putting them to bed in a dark bedroom, and then when baby wakes bringing them out into the bright lounge.

On this note, it is also important for your baby to spend some time outdoors during the awake time. Vitamin D is so important for their little bones and the bright outdoors also works in conjunction with their melatonin hormones. 

At six weeks of age, your baby will have its second growth spurt along with their first developmental wonder week leap, which can lead to a very hungry, tired and fussy baby! 

Be patient. Once again, feed on demand and practice some floor time so they can practice their 'tummy time' and rolling skills, along with stimulating their busy brains as they are forever evolving. 

Cat-napping also commences at this age because their sleep cycles and patterns are starting to change. This is where you need to be patient and know that it won't last forever.

Although I recommend a 'feed play sleep' routine from birth, now is the time you may wish to start a basic routine. It doesn’t have to be strict, it just needs to be tweaked a little for your baby to get some more solid sleep.

You may be able to extend the awake time to beyond an hour at this age, which will allow your baby the time to build up enough sleep debt and also enough time to tire themselves out before their next sleep time is due. 

In relation to cat-napping, what we recommend is picking one of the naps of the day and spending that time resettling and assisting them to link their sleep cycles. 

Babies of this age respond beautifully to the pick-up put-down method or the 'shhh' and pat. Both of these are super gentle and easy to implement.

The most important thing is to be kind to yourself and your baby.

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Now that we've talked about all things sleep, here are a few of my top tips that I share with my mothers upon leaving the hospital with their new bub.

1. Rest when you can.

Now, this isn’t a simple case of ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’. Honestly, that doesn’t really happen and it puts instant pressure on you (and bub). It is simply about sitting down with your feet up, or even better, laying on the couch watching your favourite TV show, because trust me - you need it more than you think! The journey your body has been on over the past nine months is huge, and that doesn’t even include the recovery of your birth. Your body needs respite now more than ever.

2. Breastfeeding is a process.

It can take a good six weeks to establish breastfeeding. By this stage, it should be much easier to feed your baby and your milk will be more regular. However, I tell all of my patients that breastfeeding will be the hardest part of motherhood... well, for the first few weeks anyway. Despite it being natural, it doesn’t come naturally to everyone and that’s okay! Take a deep breath and relax. Take your time. The more you relax come feed time, the better your baby will feed. This includes relaxing your shoulders and body, as well as your mind. Once the anxiety of feeding goes away, you’ll feel a million times better. For those that find feeding comes naturally, brilliant! Be mindful though that you will go through periods of cluster feeding and this too is very normal. Take each day as it comes. 

3. Bottle/Formula feeding is totally okay.

For whatever reason you can’t, or choose not to breastfeed, please feel okay with this decision. It is up to you and your body and everybody around you needs to respect your decision. If you are bottle feeding, ensure that you educate yourself with how to correctly sterilise your feeding equipment and familiarise yourself with the correct amounts to feed your baby depending on the formula you choose. Always position yourself comfortably along with your baby to prevent yourself from getting an uncomfortable neck or back. The same applies to breastfeeding mothers - the correct positioning is super important.

4. Hydrate!

Hydration is SO underrated when it comes to postpartum recovery, particularly for those mothers who are breastfeeding. Essentially, you need to put back what your baby takes out, plus a lot more. On average, two litres of fluid (preferably water) a day is needed to maximise your recovery. 

5. Make time (even 15 minutes) for self-care.

The most important piece of advice of all! If you don’t practise self-care, you will not be able to be the best version of yourself. Trust me, I am extremely passionate about mental health and this is why I strongly advocate the need for self-care. 

It's easy to get caught up in the throes of motherhood and completely lose ourselves, our sense of identity and our autonomy. I recommend taking at least 15 minutes a day just for you and you only.

This could be before a partner leaves for work, or during the day or evening if you have an extra set of hands for help.

I know this might sound impossible, or you might simply be too exhausted, but PLEASE try to make it a regular thing. You’ll thank me later.

Amelia Lamont, AKA The Midwife Mumma, is the co-founder of Baby Sleep School. These tips, along with many others, also feature in their popular Baby Sleep School PDF sleep guides. 

You can follow Amelia on Instagram here.

Feature image: Instagram/Amelia Lamont.

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