The first few weeks of your new baby’s life are exciting and exhausting. It helps when they sleep and stay calm. Although it’s natural for babies to get fussy, gassy and maintain irregular nap times, there are things you can do to help put them at ease and sleep more for longer.
1. Feed and Burp your baby
If there’s one thing that will wake a baby every time, whether breastfed or formula fed, it’s a hungry tummy. Fully fed babies, sleep soundly.
Nurse or bottle feed at least 20 minutes before the desired bed time. To minimize the chances of your baby becoming gassy, prop him up while you are feeding him. Ensure their belly is below their head in the feeding position. If your baby is 4 months or older you can add a very small amount of barley or rice milk to your breastmilk to fill their belly up even more and thus sleep for a longer period. Formula fed babies tend to sleep longer for this reason naturally.
Avoid extra gas and air bubbles by making sure to give them a gentle but firm burp after their feeding.
2. Get a Sleep Routine
Any parent would agree, children of all ages do best on a routine. The same goes for baby. To get your baby a consistent sleep, follow a routine such as feed, wake, activity, feed, sleep. A good rule of thumb is 2 hour intervals between feedings, this may be different for each baby and will change as your baby gets older. Always burp your baby before he lays down after any feeding period.
Add in a few other things to help him recognize the routine. Wrap him in a plush blanket for each feeding before sleep (keeping him wrapped in the same blanket when you lay him down will help ease the transition from arms to bed). Play some soothing lullaby music. Put him down in the same bassinet, bed or crib in the same location of the room each time he goes down for a nap.
A routine will help him know what to expect and what you expect from him.
3. Don’t Overly Stress
Regardless of your best efforts to give the best care for your baby, things can still go wrong. Your baby will cry and fuss no matter what you do. Sleepless nights will happen at some point.
Always remember, no one is perfect. Most times your baby just needs your comfort and love, the least helpful thing for them is to be exasperated or frustrated. Don’t stress yourself and enjoy these special times with your baby because this stage will come and pass.