Aren’t squishy newborn cuddles just the best? There comes a point though when you may want (and need!) a bit more sleep. Below are the 6 tips that helped our newborn to sleep for longer periods at night.
When we first brought baby Freddie home from the hospital he would only sleep if cuddled upright on us so we quickly discovered it was best to split the night into three hour shifts so that at least one of us could get some sleep. After a week of ‘shifts’ we were a bit fed up and wanted to sleep in our own bed. After a lot of trial and error (emphasis on the error!) over the next six weeks we found that the tips below made a big difference with helping us all get a bit more sleep.
When we first tried to swaddle Freddie at around two weeks old he lost his mind! We immediately assumed he hated it and abandoned swaddling forevermore… Unfortunately that pesky newborn ‘Moro reflex’ meant he kept waking himself up by hitting himself in the face. After a bit more googling, I found that it was normal for some babies to cry when first swaddled, it’s what you do after that counts. We tried again, first using a Swaddle Up and then moved on to a Swaddle Me swaddle, which immediately helped him sleep for longer stretches. I always fed him immediately after he was swaddled too which calmed him down. We eventually discovered the Ollie Swaddle, which we like even more, and are still using now.
After the first week Freddie began to settle for longer at night if he was cuddled in next to me in our bed. I was terrified to do this at first because I was worried about the risks. I removed the duvet and my pillows and Freddie slept tucked into the crook of my arm on my side of the bed for at least part of the night. We didn’t continue this for very long because I slept very lightly but it did help us get some much-needed sleep when he first came home. More info here https://www.isisonline.org.uk/
Another discovery made during those lengthy night feeds! We used an app called ‘Sound Sleeper’ on the iPad. Freddie likes the hairdryer noise the best (who would have thought newborns would have a preference!). Apparently, when babies are in the womb it is as loud as a vacuum cleaner so it makes sense that the outside world seems very quiet. You can get white noise machines that switch off after a set amount of time but we have found it works best when the white noise is on all night. As the weeks have gone by Freddie associates the noise with bedtime, which helps when/if you want to start a bedtime routine.
Warming up the place where baby sleeps.
It took us a little while to work out that the shock of hitting a cold mattress after being all cosy and warm in our arms might be waking Freddie up. It looked a bit odd but while my husband cuddled Freddie to sleep I used to lie in his SnuzPod (another favourite) to warm it up. Who knows if it actually helped but I continued doing it until Freddie was around three months old and my husband felt it was not only now unnecessary but also looked a bit bizarre…
Something that smells of you!
This one sounds a bit odd but it does make sense, your newborn is used to your smell and is comforted by it, so going into their bed, which smells of a strange detergent, is probably not particularly comforting! I used to put whichever pajama top I had worn the night before on Freddie’s Sleepyhead. Who knows if it was that or the other tips above but I think it helped! Or maybe once we had found a combination of things that worked, we were too scared to change it! At around two months I stopped doing this and it didn’t make a different so who knows, it’s certainly worth a try.
I managed to pick up a brand new one of these second hand and I’m glad I did because I am not sure I would have thought it was worth the money prior to having Freddie. It may not look like anything special but it really seemed to make Freddie feel more secure. Especially as he was only 6lb 4 when born and looked a bit lost in his Snuzpod.
This is something we only started at around three months so technically out of the newborn stage but it has been a really helpful tip so I wanted to include it anyway. I realise it sounds a bit odd to cover your windows in tin foil, but after yet another early morning wake up and our supposed ‘blackout blinds really not cutting it’ I decided to give it a try. It did make a difference with Freddie waking up nearer 5am/6am rather than 4am and we still use it now. Every minute counts!
I really hope these tips help you and your squishy newborn, I will have another blog post coming up with tips for sleep after the newborn stage and what has worked for us. Let me know if you would be interested in hearing those. What helped your newborn to settle at night? Let me know in the comments below!
Ollie Swaddle- https://theollieworld.com/