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.
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.
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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.