It's no surprise that common questions from new parents revolve around sleep. 'How do we start a good sleep routine?' 'What are the key steps?' 'When should we start a sleep routine'?
We recently caught up with Courtney Garland from Mama Linc who has over 10 years combined experience as a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse, Lactation and Sleep Consultant.
Courtney has coached and assisted over 1,000 families and has kindly put together this piece to help answer some of your questions on sleep routines for babies.
We hope the following will help you and your baby catch some deep and restorative zzz's!
How to start a good sleep routine?
A sleep routine is good to have no matter baby's age. It is a way of preparing your baby for what is to come and helping reassure them for a safe and secure sleep. A good sleep routine doesn’t have to be elaborate or long. It just needs to be the right one for your family!
You want your little one to start recognising certain cues occur before they sleep. This way as your baby gets older, these healthy habits will encourage baby to be aware of what is coming.
So, what does a good sleep routine look like and when should I start?
It usually shocks parents to know you can start a sleep routine as soon as you bring baby home. This doesn’t mean a set regiment because a newborn doesn’t follow any routine or structure. Initially they are trying to sort their day from night and getting use to being outside of the womb. And let’s be honest, all they really want is to be cuddled, fed, have their nappy changed and sleep. This is why I recommend a light routine. One that mimics the womb to make it an easier transition for your little one and makes them feel safe and secure.
So how do you mimic the womb?
You want to make it warm, tight, loud and as dark as possible. It may surprise you to think, loud, but while baby was in utero it was very loud. They constantly heard the swishing of your heart, your booming voice and the gurgling of your intestines. Sounds like these are reassuring for your little one. This is why I suggest using the heartbeat or shushing sound on your sound machine.
And to make it nice, warm and tight, swaddle your baby. By swaddling tightly, you are preventing baby from waking themselves with their startle reflex but it is also mimicking how tight and confined they were in the womb. Babies like being swaddled tightly, it instantly calms and relaxes them.
One key thing with swaddling is to make sure you are using a jersey wrap! The stretch in the material allows you to be able to swaddle tightly and make baby nice and snug. And just remember nowadays we do not recommend tucking the legs into the swaddle, just the arms and keep the legs free to kick to help prevent hip dysplasia.
Once you have baby swaddled, in their dark room with a sound machine on you can cuddle, feed, rock or pat them to sleep. As they are dosing off give them a warm reassurance by saying your positive goodnight phrase. By starting a positive goodnight phrase from a young age it becomes second nature for you but it also becomes a verbal sleep cue to reassure baby as they get older. My favourite goodnight phrase is “I love you! Have a good sleep! Mama/Daddy is right here”.
For the first few months you are going to want to keep baby close by and baby will want the same. I also know it isn’t realistic to hold a baby all day. Using a product like the DockATot, allows baby to be close and comfy. Please remember all naps in the DockATot must be supervised and you can never use the DockATot in a crib or bassinet. Always remember to follow safe guidelines for sleep per your country or health region.
Written by Courtney Garland BScN RN IBCLC and Sleep Consultant from Mama Linc.
Simplifying life for new parents, DockATot is your extra set of hands.
The multi-functional DockATot is the perfect place for your baby to lounge, play, rest, cuddle, and enjoy tummy time. The DockATot is here for you no matter where the day takes you! Created to mimic the womb and voted as a must-have baby product, parents and babies around the world love DockATot.
From parents who know:
"Life saver! No matter if we are home or out and about, we always take our DockATot with us. So easy for on the go and also easy to clean." - Alexia D
"My little girl absolutely loves her DockATot! Would 100% recommend this to anyone having a baby. Sadie has excellent supervised naps and I do believe this is one of the reasons why." - Carmen F
"This has honestly been my lifesaver post c-section. The DockATot means I can have him next to me all the time and not move around too much." - Meagan L