This episode is brought to you today by my free Clean Sleeping Guide that I have on my website. Now guys, this guide is the first step I take parents through when I'm looking to help them improve their baby or toddlers sleep. You are literally getting free access to the first pillar of my triple c approach that I use to improve baby and toddler sleep, so head on over and download yourself a copy today jenniferbutler.com.au/clean-sleeping. Okay, let's get into today's episode. Okay, so let's dive into my top five tips on settling a newborn.
Tip Number One:Respect awake times. This is going to make settling so much easier. I have done an episode on tired signs in the newborn baby, so pairing this episode, with that episode, is going to help so much in understanding when you should be settling your newborn. A newborn is only going to be awake for a short amount of time. The younger they are, the shorter the awake time, the older they are, that begins to lengthen.
When they're first born, basically they will just have their feed and fall straight back asleep. As they get older you will notice some playtime or some awake time extends into that. The thing that happens is that around the three to four-week mark you might notice a shift where your baby, who used to just feed and fall straight back asleep, is now having a bit of awake time and not just falling straight back asleep. And while parents are expecting that to happen, what the baby might be doing or what is happening to the baby is progressively getting more and more overtired, meaning that they're going to be harder and harder to settle. So, the first four weeks can lull you into this false sense of security, that they just fall asleep when they're tired, but for most babies, this isn't the case, so respecting their awake time and their tired signs, is going to make settling so much easier.
Tip Number Two:Swaddle your baby. I hear quite often that babies don't like to be swaddled, and I mean every baby is different, but perhaps it comes down to the way they're being swaddled. Quite often I see that military straight arm swaddle happening. The thing with a newborn baby is they don't like to be swaddled like that, because that's not their natural position. They are flexed, by nature, developmentally, that is the way they're supposed to be, and in utero they're hands are to their heart, they're not straight down their sides like we try to swaddle them.
I did a video that's on my YouTube Channel that you can access here, demonstrating a wrap that I love called the angel wrap. It is a hands to heart swaddle and it does involve being able to keep those little arms contained but doing it in a way that respects their natural posture. The reason I talk about swaddling is, going back to the fourth trimester (which again I've done a video on which you can access here), they’ve just come from an environment where they're contained all day. Babies have a relfex called the Moro, or startle reflex, which is where you see their arms come up and thrown up when they hear a loud noise or they're cold or they're moved quickly. Ideally, we want that reflex to be contained, otherwise, those flaying hands are going to wake them and it's going to make settling so much more difficult. So, keeping those arms contained in a swaddle is the best way that you can help to settle a newborn because it's helping to mimic the life that they've just come from for the last nine months.
Tip Number Three: Give your baby something to suck on. So whether that is a dummy, the breast, the bottle, whatever it is, sucking can help to lull your baby into a beautiful deep sleep. It is one of the easiest ways to settle a baby and I am so pro dummy in the first three to four months, I think that they are such fabulous tools to help a baby settle. It's also possible to use your breast or a bottle, but it can also be good just to have something that's less reliant on you, so that it gives you a little bit of a break as well, as a new mum.
Tip Number Four: Fill their tummies. Hungry babies don't settle well. There is this real culture that we need to fall into a "feed, play, sleep" method, and that babies should either feed three hourly or they should feed four hourly. No, babies need to feed when they're hungry. And if that's only an hour after the last feed, that's okay. If it's three hours after the last feed when usually they don't feed until four hours, that's okay. You're actually only setting yourself up for more trouble, in settling, if you're trying to follow strict feeding routines, especially in the early days and even as they get older, because the reality is, we are hungry when we're hungry, and especially for a newborn baby who has just come off a constant food source, they are not going to cope with having the feeling of hunger, they've never felt it before and they're going to be pretty blown away by this new sensation and they ain't going to be happy about it and they sure as hell ain't gonna want to sleep. So fill those tummies Mumma.
Tip Number Five: rock your baby. So often I hear about parents worrying about whether they are creating a rod for their back in holding or rocking their baby. My answer to that is no, you are not making a rod for your back, in fact, it is what your baby needs. In my video on the fourth trimester because it delves into all the tips around the fourth trimester, but this is something that your baby is going to love is the motion of moving back and forth or being worn in a carrier or a sling. All of these things are beautiful for them and will help to settle your baby with ease, without much effort on your part.
But for now understand that newborns need something or someone to settle them to sleep. I hope those tips have been useful. I would love to hear from you over on my socials @jenbutlerearly parenting, if they have been, or let me know other things that have worked for you. Anyway, I'll be back here again next week with a brand new episode. Catch you then.
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