Professional doula, Gwendolyn Mccomsey shares her secrets for infant sleep on today’s guest blog.
Psst…..I have a secret to tell you. Did you know that you don’t have to suffer with never ending sleepless nights as a parent of a newborn?
You can set yourself up to have long stretches of sleep pretty early on in your parenting career. With a combination of willingness to learn and being diligent while collecting feedback from your baby, you have a pretty good chance at having a baby who has healthy sleep patterns and sleeps through the night at a young age.
This secret gets even better. Are you ready for this?
We know that no one wants to hear their baby cry unnecessarily for long periods of time. It may get results, but it is hard on the parents to go through this. Let’s face it, we have our whole lives to allow for opportunities for guilt as parents (a not so fun truth of parenting). So take it easy on yourselves these first few months. You have the opportunity to create healthy sleep patterns for your baby without using the Cry It Out method.
Here are some insights into infant sleep to get you started on the right path.
1 – Infants like to be swaddled.
If you aren’t interested in having your baby sleeping long stretches, then don’t swaddle them. When babies arms are not swaddled, they are likely to wake themselves by smacking their own face or mistaking their fingers for food. If your baby seems unhappy when swaddled, ask a swaddling expert for guidance. Developing good sleep habits while your baby is still swaddled will make transitioning to non swaddled sleep smoother. Swaddling ends when baby can roll over, which is approximately around 4 months.
2 – It usually takes an infant 20-30 minutes to get to a deep sleep.
Their sleep cycles are an average of 45 minutes long. They may stir around 45 minutes then drift back to sleep for another 45 minutes.
3 – Babies sleep the most during the first 6 weeks.
This is how photographers get all those adorable newborn pictures. You will see significant changes in your babies Circadian Rhythm from birth to 12 weeks. Teaching good sleep habits from the beginning makes it that much easier for babies to sleep through the night when their bodies begin to adjust.
4 –Create a calm, dark environment for baby to sleep in.
Are you watching TV or scanning your phone while your baby is trying to drift off to sleep? These screens (or the reflections or peripheral of these screens that baby sometimes sees if facing away from you) stimulates the babies brain making it difficult for them to sleep. Consider a different routine while you are putting your baby to sleep, keeping in mind this is a temporary phase of your life. Once your hard work pays off, you will have your child sleeping through the night with plenty of time to unwind in front of your TV or phone.
5 –White noise is magic.
White noise machines simulate the sound of the womb and can be very comforting for babies, helping them to drift to sleep in their crib without the need to rock them. A fan is another great option for white noise, which adds circulation through the room which decreases the risk of SIDS.
Interested in more secrets to infant sleep?
If you are the DIY type, see what Precious Little Sleep has to say after years of research, mentorship and experience.
If you enjoy the luxury of having the help of a local expert then call or email Colorado Mountain Doulas today to get yourself the gift of a postpartum doula in Denver, Colorado Springs, or your Colorado town. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving while you set your child up for lifelong healthy sleep patterns.
This blog was written by Gwendolyn Mccomsey of Keystone State Doula Services, Pennsylvania.