Newborn Sleep Survival 101: How to Make it Through the First 3 Months

Dec 3, 2023 |Baby Care
Craving sleep with a newborn? Discover proven strategies for the first 3 months to transform night-time turmoil into restful slumber—for baby and you!
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If you’re desperately googling some variation of “newborn sleep tips” in the wee hours while patting a crying bundle of joy, take comfort that you are most definitely not alone. As an exhausted parent who’s been there, I promise the sleepless newborn phase doesn’t last forever (even if it feels like it will in the moment!) Getting rest is crucial for every member of the family during baby’s first three months. This post will arm you with practical tips to survive and set reasonable expectations for newborn sleep.

Sleep Survival 101: How to Make it Through the First 3 Months

Why Newborn Sleep Is So Tricky?

The first three months after childbirth are considered the “fourth trimester,” or an extension of baby’s transition in the womb. It’s normal for newborns to sleep a staggering 14-17 hours per day! However, they only snooze 1-3 hours at a stretch around the clock. Parents may feel they have a perpetually drowsy yet fussy infant.

Newborns lack the ability to self-soothe, sleep train, or even differentiate between day and night. They sleep and wake based purely on individual needs like hunger or diaper changes. Until the nervous system matures around six months, babies experience light REM-heavy sleep with lots of transitional arousals. That’s why seemingly innocuous noises or movements quickly disrupt their slumber.

Sleep impacts every aspect of development in babies. While new parents may prioritize feeding and changing as the top duties, ensuring quality rest is just as vital. Research shows that infants who get adequate, uninterrupted sleep in the first months display improved cognitive, motor, and emotional skills later on. Sleep also regulates crucial hormone production including human growth hormone.

Conversely, chronic sleep deprivation early on associates with issues like impaired memory, difficulty self-regulating emotions, higher infection risk, and even delayed speech or physical milestones. Bottom line – those precious growing baby brains and bodies require immense amounts of shuteye, even if their wake-ups don’t make it obvious!

While every fussy wake-up tests parents’ patience, try to remember your little one isn’t giving you a hard time purposefully. Align expectations with their developmental stage, and take comfort that the phase shall pass! Next let’s go over some key techniques to help everyone get rest.

Survival Strategies for the “Fourth Trimester”

The most vital concept I teach sleep-deprived caregivers is replicating the sensation of babies’ recent nine-month home. As womb graduates, swaddling, white noise, gentle motion, and snug quarters all provide comfort and familiarity. I lovingly refer to these first months as adjusting to the outside world bootcamp!When it comes to establishing sleep routines, focus on consistency in timing around feeding, bathing, soothing techniques, and overnight care. Be responsive to cries during the day to reinforce trust and allow baby to sleep for longer intervals overnight in the early months. Recruit family or friends to allow each parent at least one longer sleep block per 24 hours, even if that means bedsharing or tagging in and out of the nursery.Related swaddling info to help baby sleep better: Muslin vs Bamboo Swaddle Blankets: Which is the Best for Your Baby! (2023)

Lastly, remember to nap when baby naps during the day! Dishes and laundry will wait, but adequate sleep fosters patience and bonding during demanding feeding and fussy periods. Set reasonable expectations day-by-day rather than counting milestones. Your main job is keeping baby fed, clean, soothed, and resting well. TheMall can wait!

Sleep Survival 101: How to Make it Through the First 3 Months

Creating the Ideal Sleep Setup for Baby

As a new parent, one of the best things you can do is construct an environment in baby’s room that enhances quality slumber. Make sure the mattress and bedding follow safe sleep guidelines to reduce the risk of SIDS. Additionally, keep the room at a comfortable temperature of around 65-70°F. You can insulate walls and windows to prevent drafts or sound reverberations from waking baby. Strategically place blackout curtains or blinds to signal day versus night.

Incorporate the Momcozy Baby Sound Machine, which offers 34 meticulously crafted sounds like white noise or nature lullabies designed to envelope little ones in tranquility. More than just a noise machine, its warm nightlight casts a soothing glow perfect for midnight feedings or check-ins without disturbing sleep. Experiment with bassinets or sleep sacks that provide the snug, rocking sensation of the womb. Keep lighting dim and non-disruptive for overnight care. Tailor the space to soothe your infant’s senses, prevent overstimulation, and promote uninterrupted snoozing for both baby and exhausted caregivers.Explore more info about sound machine: How Sound Machines Can Lull Your Little One?

Optimizing Your Lifestyle and Nursery

In addition to incorporating white noise and motion into soothing strategies, make sure baby’s sleeping quarters align with safety guidelines. Room sharing close by to attend night feeds while having baby sleep flat on their backmakes attending to them in the wee hours easier.

Because exhaustion can cloud judgment, establish shift schedules where each caregiver rotates 5-6 hour blocks overnight to guarantee one slept parent at all times. For middle of the night diaper and feeding duties, set up stations with supplies and hydration within arm’s reach of wherever you attend to baby’s overnight needs.

When restocking the nursery, opt for dimmable lighting, rocking chairs, and a small bed or sofa for any sitz baths or nursing marathons. And don’t forget to tend to your postpartum recovery nourishment too – healthy snacks and drinks maintain energy levels when you inevitably survive on fractured sleep.Helpful ideas to set up a good sleep environment: How to Create a Safe Sleeping Environment for Your Baby?

Knowing When to Ask For Help

While the newborn phase poses universal challenges, sustained excessive crying or changes in sleep patterns warrant discussions with baby’s pediatrician. Call if inconsolable crying lasts over three hours a day for more than three days consecutively. Also touch base if anger, depression, or bonding issues arise. Sudden alterations in newborn sleep like resting less than 10 hours or appearing difficult to wake could indicate health concerns as well.

In most cases, babies thrive on caregiver bonding even amid fussiness or seemingly endless wake-ups. But don’t hesitate reaching out to your support circle with your family, friends, and professionals if the lack of sleep leaves you feeling tapped out or detached. There are no medals for martyrdom in parenting! The newborn phase certainly stretches endurance, but the cuddles make it so very worth pressing on.

Sleep Survival 101: How to Make it Through the First 3 Months

The Takeaway: This Too Shall Pass!

Keep in mind that while caring for a newborn feels all-consuming in the moment, their rapid development means this period remains relatively short in the grand scheme. The best gift you can give your baby is responsive attention and affection - the household to-do list can wait! Recruit any available family support, stick to fed-is-best feeding principles, and remember to show yourself compassion.

Before you know it, those delightful coos and first smiles make sleepless nights and endless laundry loads feel like a distant memory. Enjoy those precious baby snuggles and rest assured that more consistent sleep routines await right around the corner! You’ve got this, parents!

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