Healthy Sleep Habits from the “Bee-ginning”
Hive Life, Mama to Bee, Nurture Naturally | August 23, 2018
Supportive sleep tips for you and your little bee
If you have a newborn baby, chances are you’ve been asked the question, “Is your baby a good sleeper?”. This seemingly innocent question likely leaves you feeling very confused and a bit defeated because, frankly, newborns are lousy sleepers. And that is OK! Babies are not born great sleepers. But the good news is they can become amazing little sleepers by promoting good sleep habits right from the “bee-ginning”.
If you’re wondering what you can do to help support healthy sleep, you are in luck. I am going to share my top 3 tips on how to foster good sleep habits from the start.
- Establish a consistent bedtime routine. Does your baby sleep all day and party all night? If so, this tip is especially important for you. A solid bedtime routine will help your baby to separate day from night. It cues their brain and body that night is approaching and will allow them to begin to wind down. I recommend starting your baby’s routine with a bath using a gentle, soothing cleanser such as Burt’s Bees Baby Tear Free Shampoo & Wash.A bath indicates that a long stretch of sleep is ahead as it’s an activity that differs greatly from everything else your baby does throughout the day. Don’t forget to lock in the moisture from the bath by applying a calming lotion (I love Burt’s Bees Baby Nourishing Lotion – Calming) with a soothing baby massage. Finish the routine by putting on baby’s PJs (check these out), giving a feed, and then placing them in their crib drowsy but awake.
- Avoid over-tiredness like the plague. When over-tiredness ensues, babies, like adults, produce the stimulating hormones cortisol and adrenaline to fight fatigue. These hormones make it more difficult for people of any age (but most especially babies) to fall and stay asleep. Believe it or not, newborns are only able to tolerate being awake for about 45-to-60 minutes before sleepiness kicks in. I know – it doesn’t seem like a lot of time. But the good news is, as they develop, they will be able to stay awake longer, which will give you more one-on-one time with your sweet baby. Trust me, if you stick to the guideline of not allowing your newborn to be awake longer than an hour, it will be easier for them to drift off to dreamland.
- Adopt an Eat, Play, Sleep routine. Each time your baby wakes for the day or from a nap, feed them within 15 minutes. After the feeding, allow them to play for a bit (e.g. tummy time, walk in the stroller). When their wake window has expired, put them to sleep in their bassinet drowsy but awake (btw, check out these gorgeous sheets). The beauty of this routine is that you are feeding your little one when they are most alert, which allows them to better fill their belly, and in turn, sleep for longer stretches. Additionally, it will prevent your baby from forming a feeding-and-sleeping association, which will make it easier for them to drop night feedings (when waking throughout the night to feed is no longer needed for weight gain).
As joyous as having a new baby can be, it can be equally exhausting due to their inconsistent sleep patterns. It will get better, Mama – I promise! With a whole lot of patience and by following the tips I’ve outlined above, you and your baby will soon get the sleep you need to be your best.
About the Author
Kelly Murray is a certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant who resides in Chicago with her husband, two preschoolers, and fur baby. A lover of coffee, wine, old-school hip-hop and of course sleep! She specializes in helping sleep-deprived families worldwide obtain the restful sleep they so desperately need. Her approach is gentle, non-judgmental and customized to fit the child’s temperament and mom and dad’s parenting style. To learn more or book a free 15-Minute Sleep Evaluation, visit www.kellymurraysleep.com.