Do you remember being new at this mom or dad thing… You bring this sweet little being home . You want to watch your baby sleep (when you should be resting) . This little creature that you have created and have waited so long is finally here! Your baby has been sleeping on and off all day and exhaustion has caught up to you and you want to sleep . You lay your baby down and just as you drift off into sleep *wham* the baby is awake and crying . The baby cries, and cries, and cries . It is nighttime– why are you awake? You may ask yourself . Just go to sleep, go… to… sleep!!! Why won’t my newborn baby ever sleep?
You may or may not realize that your newborn baby’s sleep and awake times are opposite to yours . But why is that? There are a few reasons why this is happening:
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one: is that baby was lulled to sleep by your constant movement during the day . You may have noticed that when you rested at night that is when baby is more active in utero .
Two: You baby has yet to develop their circadian rhythm – this is what will help them develop a sleep pattern that will predict their optimal sleep times .
Ok, wait . Circadian rhythms first need to develop? But when the heck does this happen? Have you ever heard of “The Good, Bad, and the Ugly”? Well, it goes in the opposite order until their rhythms have developed (The Ugly, Bad, and the Good) . We generally see a baby’s circadian rhythm organize itself at around 12 weeks of age . This is the time where you can notice a pattern of sleepy cues (approx. 45 mins after being awake) . But the good news is by 8 weeks, you should see the night/day confusion start to dissipate .
You may ask “what can I do before my baby’s Circadian Rhythm develops? I need sleep!”
Here are some sleep tips to start preparing you and your baby for some great sleep (and these tips can be used for years to come!)
- Start developing a soothing, quiet, relaxing bedtime routine. This could look like a bath, baby massage/cream, story, songs . Do this is a lowlit room that is calming . This will help with the release of the sleepy hormone Melatonin . Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that will help your baby fall asleep and stay asleep . With this routine, it will eventually cue your baby that sleep is coming soon and create a wonderful habit, and not to mention your baby will have a positive association with sleep .
- When baby is sleeping or napping, have them sleep in a consistent place . To start, have baby practice their naps in their crib . This will familiarize them with their sleep space and will help with the transition out of the bassinet much smoother .
- When baby is sleeping, catch up on some zzz’s yourself . I am pro-care for yourself! (maybe, I will start a movement!) . Like I have mentioned, you need to take care of yourself if you expect to be caring for others .
So remember with a newborn, first comes the Ugly (not a lot of sleep), the Bad (frequent wakings, still not a lot of sleep), and the Good (positive routine and cue for bedtime) . This is such a short time when your baby is considered a newborn . Don’t wish it away . When your baby gets older (in just a few short weeks), if you still need help – reach out to us and we can help you with creating an awesome plan that will restore sleep in the whole household!
Hang on, you’re almost there!