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Recipe For Sleep

WHAT NEW PARENTS NEED MOST, MORE SLEEP!

The first few weeks you are home with your newborn are full of learning many parenting tasks! Feeding, changing diapers and making sure she has everything she needs can be exhausting. Unfortunately, the first few weeks are also when many newborns and their parents are sleeping for short periods of time potentially making these tasks more difficult.

THE RECIPE FOR SLEEP 

1. A Well Fed Newborn

2. A soft, clean & Dry Diaper

3. White Noise or Static Radio

          4. A Secure Swaddle in A Swaddlekeeper Blanket 

You will notice your newborn going through several sleep cycles in 2-3 hours. In a light sleep a newborn will move her arms and wiggle. If the newborn is not swaddled securely she will wake herself.

Your newborn needs boundaries. Even though newborns first cry when swaddled, they will soon settle down when they can't wiggle out of the blanket.

White noise helps decrease the background noise that your newborn may hear. The constant noise also reminds her of the sounds she heard while in the womb. This is very comforting to your newborn.

"SWADDLING MADE SIMPLE....PARENTING MADE EASIER!" 

CLICK HERE to try the SWADDLEKEEPER, designed by Kim Stolte, RN.

CLICK HERE to see our complete selection of swaddling blankets.

WHY SWADDLE?

Newborns are often easily awakened because they miss the security of being inside the womb. One way to replicate the security of the womb is keeping them tightly swaddled. Newborns instinctively struggle against the blankets and often try to get a hand to their mouth to suck. This was fine when they were inside the womb, but now that they are on the outside, it is important to provide that security with a secure swaddle. Successful swaddling with a standard receiving blanket require specific techniques and each blanket used swaddles differently depending on the thickness of the fabric and the size of the blanket.

Getting your newborn baby to sleep can be very challenging, especially if she is over-tired.

A newborn can go from starting to get tired, to over-tired, in an incredibly short time. The difference of even 5 to 10 minutes can make it so much harder to settle your baby. The result may be a baby that cries for hours and ends up missing a whole sleep as a result.

Therefore recognizing the signs your baby is tired is an essential skill. These are the cues that it's time to stop whatever you are doing and get your baby into bed.

Sometimes a newborn can start to show tired signs after only half an hour of waking up. It doesn't matter how quickly it happens, just get your baby back to bed before she gets over-tired!

Newborns are generally ready to be back to bed within an hour of the start of the feed. If your baby is up for much longer than an hour, you may be missing her tired signs. This is especially true if you are finding it very difficult to get your baby to sleep, even though you can see she is tired.

Signs your baby is ready for sleep include:

-- jerky leg movements 

-- yawning 

-- wriggling 

-- making fists 

-- eye rubbing 

-- a fixed stare 

-- facial grimacing

Your baby may show one or more signs, but swaddle your baby and put her into bed as soon as you see ANY tired sign. Remember, the quicker your baby is put into bed after showing a tired sign, the quicker she will settle. An over-tired baby will cry harder and take much longer to settle. 

NEW BABY ROUTINES & SLEEP TIMES:

A very simple routine can really make a difference to how your baby sleeps – both how easily it is to settle your baby and how long she sleeps for.

Some experts recommend the simple daytime routine of Feed, Play, Sleep. 
Using this routine will mean you avoid the temptation to feed your baby to sleep, and learn other techniques to settle her. This will make it easier get your baby to learn to sleep through the night as she gets bigger. Newborns need about 20 hours of sleep a day, so that doesn’t leave a lot of time for anything other than feeding, a quick kick on the floor and back to bed. For night feedings always try to have your newborn back to bed within an hour of when you started feeding. This will get easier as you get quicker at feeding.

The first few weeks your newborn should be eating every 2-3 hours. If she is gaining weight, having 8-10 wet/poopy diapers a day then she could skip a feeding during the night. In other words, she could go 4-6 hours between feedings ONCE a day. If your newborn skips a feeding during the day, then she needs to be awakened at night to catch up on that feeding. Brain development and growth is the most rapid during the first few months and years of life (and again when they are teenagers), so feeding your newborn frequently will provide enough calories for the brain.

Daytime schedules will differ from the night schedule. Your newborn should be played with, talked to and generally speaking 'up for the day'. This will help her adjust to sleeping longer at night eventually.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to help your baby sleep through again is the dreamfeed. You may have dropped feeding your baby at about 10pm once she was sleeping through, but re-introducing it can be the difference you need to get a full night sleep! Try to get your baby out of bed ASLEEP, do the feed ASLEEP and put her back into bed ASLEEP. This prevents her building a sleep association with being feed and going to sleep. And her tummy will be full, which should help her sleep till morning. The night feeding should be all business and no talking or playing. Keep the lights dim and voice very quiet. Your newborn will soon learn that she needs to eat and stay asleep.

Once your newborn reaches the magical weight of 12-14 pounds, she can skip more feedings or extend the time between night feedings. She should still be gaining weight and if breastfeeding, having frequent bowel movements and wet diapers. Check with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your newborns eating and sleep routine.

Kim Stolte, RN copywrite 2007