Newborns & Sleep Conditioning
Gentle Baby Coach: Robin Norris
As a Newborn Care Specialist, I have always noticed that one of the biggest challenges when bringing home a newborn is getting acquainted with their schedule. Newborns sleep around 15-17 hours per day, and although they require a lot of sleep, the length of time they spend sleeping can vary. This is why it is so beneficial to hire a Newborn Care Specialist.
Infants establish their sleep patterns over the first 12 weeks of their lives. As I have witnessed during my years as a Newborn Care Specialist, there are many factors that affect a newborn’s ability to fall asleep, and stay asleep. Newborn sleep patterns differ greatly compared to the sleep patterns they will have as a toddler and beyond, which is why a Newborn Care Specialist can be extremely helpful during your baby’s newborn stage.
Another important fact to be aware of is that when newborns sleep, half of that time is spent in what is called REM sleep, and this in turn causes them to be light sleepers. During REM sleep, babies dream, and their brains are growing and developing. In fact, while infants dream, blood flows to their brains and neural connections are made! This is why teaching your baby how to fall asleep, and stay asleep, is so vitally important. While in the REM sleep cycle, newborns go into a “partially awake state,” and do not yet possess the ability to “self soothe,” which is a skill they need in order to put themselves back to sleep. Therefore, giving your baby the tools he or she needs, as early as possible, enables them to develop healthy sleep habits that will set them up for sleeping success!
As your Newborn Care Specialist, I will teach your baby how to “self- soothe” and fall back asleep on their own. In my experience, a well-rested baby leads the way when it comes to having peace and order in your home.
Having a consistent routine throughout the day and into the evening is also “key” to getting your newborn to start recognizing the difference between day and night. As your Newborn Care Specialist, I will help you get your newborn on a wonderful daytime routine which will include feeding time, awake time, and sleep time. A consistent daytime routine will also allow your baby to start stretching their nighttime sleep. Of course, you always want to make sure all your baby’s needs are met before you put him or her down to sleep. A newborn cannot be expected to learn to self soothe if his or her basic needs have not been met.
If there is one thing that I have learned during my years as a Newborn Care Specialist is that every baby is unique. Some babies will peacefully fall asleep after being swaddled and put down, while others might need to fuss a bit before drifting off. Hiring a Newborn Care Specialist can help you learn to “listen to your baby” so that you are able to recognize the unique way your baby puts himself or herself to sleep.
While sleep conditioning an infant can seem a bit daunting, it is a necessary part of teaching a baby good sleep habits that will last a lifetime. When it is all said and done, sleep conditioning will not only benefit your newborn, but your whole family!