As with any skill, the more you practise, the better you get at it. Parenting is similar. With time you get more experience, with experience comes confidence, and when you’re confident you feel capable of increasing the challenge (maybe by having a second or third child). But for first-time parents, it can be easy to suffer information overload and feel overwhelmed. So here’s one of the best newborn baby tips out there: Less is more.
Less is more: 5 simple ways to help your newborn sleep
Remember, there are really only three things that newborn babies absolutely need to do to survive: Sleep, eat, and poo. But getting the sleeping part right can be very counterintuitive. So here’s how the “less is more” rule works.
1. Less stimulation = more time asleep
You will have plenty of time to read your little one bedtime stories and introduce them to acceptable music in the years to come. But for now, it doesn’t take much to keep them entertained. They’ll be more than satisfied with a quick snuggle while you’re talking to your mother on the phone, or some goofy chitchat while you’re changing their nappy. Hearing your voice will be interesting enough for now.
2. Less time awake = more time asleep
New parents can get overexcited and keep their baby awake far too long, and an overtired newborn is the hardest baby to settle for sleep. Your newborn baby doesn’t need to be awake for very long periods. Most newborns only need to be awake for 45 minutes to an hour, or less if they are showing signs that they’re tired. Haven’t noticed any sleepy signs in the hour they’ve been awake? It’s not because they’re not making them, it’s more likely that you just haven’t noticed them. Either put your baby back to bed, or tuck them up somewhere safe and let them sleep.
3. Less fuss = more time asleep
When your baby’s bedtime has come, be assertive. If you’ve fed them, winded them, and changed their nappy, you can be pretty confident that they are ready to rest. Rechecking everything and fussing about sends a confused message to your baby and just means they’re harder to settle and they’re awake longer.
4. Less immediate attentiveness = more time asleep
So you’ve heard a couple of quiet grizzles from your baby’s room… That doesn’t mean you need to immediately stampede in there. Take a couple of breaths and listen again. Sometimes you’ll find that if you give them a chance, they’ll fall asleep without you having to settle them again. If they’re kicking up a real fuss, then of course you can resume your stampeding.
5. And finally more quality sleep = more quality sleep
For newborns, getting into a good-quality sleep routine means they get even more good quality sleep. However, don’t jump the gun, and expect to be sleeping through the night from week three. That will come with time.