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How do you Help your Newborn Differentiate Between Day and Night.

newborn sleeping in cot

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As new parents, you are filled with love, joy, and a touch of sleep deprivation. One of the biggest challenges during the early days is helping your newborn differentiate between day and night. As a sleep consultant, I understand the importance of quality sleep for both babies and parents. In this blog, I will provide you with valuable tips and strategies to help you create a healthy sleep routine for your newborn. When talking about newborns in this blog, I am referring to a baby aged 0-12weeks.

Differentiate between Day and Night for newborns: 

Newborns often have their days and nights mixed up, as they are used to the constant motion and warmth of the womb. To help them adjust to a day and night routine, expose your baby to natural light and engaging daytime activities. During the day, keep the environment bright, talk to your baby, and engage in stimulating activities such as tummy time. At night, dim the lights, keep interactions minimal, and create a calm atmosphere to signal it’s time to sleep.

Establish Consistent Sleep Cues for newborns:

Babies thrive on routine and cues. Establishing consistent sleep cues can help signal your little one that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.  From around 8 weeks you may feel ready to create a bedtime routine. This could include activities such as a warm bath, gentle massage, lullabies, or a bedtime story. By consistently following this routine, your baby will begin to associate these cues with sleep, making the bedtime process smoother.

Promote Healthy Sleep Environment:

Creating a comfortable and safe sleep environment is essential for newborns. Ensure that the room temperature is appropriate, between 16-20°C, and dress your baby in suitable sleep attire. Keep the room dark and quiet during night time sleep, and consider using white noise to dampen other household noises that may disturb your baby’s sleep. Ensure this is on constantly throughout any sleep situation as opposed to being on a timer or sensor.

Encourage Daytime Naps:

While it may seem counterintuitive, allowing your baby to nap during the day actually promotes better night time sleep. Newborns need frequent naps throughout the day to meet their sleep requirements. Between 0-6 weeks your little one will need 4 to 6 naps during the day. This will reduce when they are 6 weeks to 12 weeks down to 4 naps.  Pay attention to your baby’s sleep cues, such as rubbing eyes or yawning. Awake windows are so important to consider alongside naps. 0- 6 week olds will only be able to manage 45minutes to 1 hour. While 6 week – 12 week olds will manage to stay awake for 1 hour – 1 ½ hours.  Ensure you create a soothing environment for naps. Consider using blackout blinds to make the room as dark as possible during daytime naps. 

Practice Safe Sleep Guidelines:

Always prioritise the safety of your baby during sleep. We always recommend visiting the The Lullaby Trust website to get the most recent up to date guidelines. Remember to always place them down on their back in a clear, flat, separate sleep space. 

Place your little one at the bottom of the cot so that they cannot wriggle under covers. No toys, pillows, duvets, bumpers or weighted blankets should be used. If you are using a sleeping bag, no extra bedding is needed. The Lullaby Trust recommend that babies should always be in the same room as you for the first six months for sleep, day and night. This doesn’t mean you can’t leave the room to make a cup of coffee or to go to the toilet, it just means they are safest when they are close by.

Embrace Flexibility:

While routines are beneficial, it’s essential to understand that newborns are still adjusting to the world and their sleep patterns may be irregular. Be flexible and adaptable, as your baby’s needs may change from day to day. Trust your instincts as a parent and find a balance between establishing a routine and responding to your baby’s individual needs.

Differentiating between a day and night routine for your newborn may require patience and time, but it is an investment in their overall well-being and your own sleep as well. By following these tips you can set the stage for better sleep habits. Remember, every baby is unique, so be patient and allow yourselves to adapt to your little one’s needs. 

If you need support, please get in touch I would love to help.

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