The arrival of my new nephew has me thinking non-stop about newborns! Those first few months are hard!! At this very early stage sleep patterns are not organized because biological sleep rhythms simply do not exist. Often this is when you will hear parents say the baby has its days and nights mixed up. I remember thinking my first baby was so so sweet all day long and then night time would come and she would wake and fuss and cry! As soon as I would find something that I thought was working her needs changed because she was ever-changing!
There are a few easy things you can do to help your baby differentiate between daytime and night time.
- Start your day at a similar and predictable time by having a little “wake up” routine. The wake up routine should be fun and playful.
- Get your baby dressed for the day. This may seem silly but it shows your baby physically there is something different happening here. Plus all those newborn outfits are SO cute and your baby will grow out of them really really fast so make a point of getting them on your baby while you can.
- Set the tone. Daytimes should be fun, loud, busy and bright. Turn on the lights, open the blinds, turn on a radio or background music.
- Talk to your baby, play and engage as much as possible in between naps
About 12 hours after you have started your daytime routine start your night time routine.
- Nights should be boring, turn down the lights and quiet things down as much as possible.
- Start introducing a very basic bedtime routine which signals that something different is happening.
- Put your baby in pajamas and swaddle him or her if you are using a swaddle. Here are some things to consider if you are planning to swaddle your baby
- Ensure you put your baby down with a nice full belly but try not to feed to sleep to prevent this from becoming a strong sleep association.
Don’t stress too much if your baby wakes often during the night. This day-night confusion will sort itself out over time as your baby grows and starts to develop some organized sleep patterns. This is a great time to ask for help, reach out to your support system and get the rest that YOUR body needs to heal and recover from child birth.