What is Sleep Environment?
Your newborn will be adjusting to the outside environment. They have been snuggled up to 9 months in a warm, dark environment with the comforting sound of their mother’s blood whooshing around them. Suddenly they are now in an environment so completely different, so it is important to try and recreate this for your baby so they feel safe and secure. It is also important and a necessity for the safety of your baby to practice healthy safe sleep.
I encourage swaddling your newborn for all of their naps and especially bedtime. Swaddling recreates the feeling of being in the womb – your baby’s calming reflex will be activated, making them feel secure and comforted.
How warm should the bedroom be?
It is important that your baby is not too warm or cold. Keeping the bedroom between 18 and 20 C will help maintain your baby’s body temperature. You can check that your baby is warm but not too hot by feeling the back of their neck or their tummy (under their clothes). The baby should feel warm, but not hot or cold. Their hands and feet are often a little colder than their body.
Should the bedroom be dark in the daytime?
Keeping the room dark for all their nap and sleep times will assist your baby, as melatonin is a hormone produced in the dark to aid sleepiness. From birth, your child will carry their mother’s maternal melatonin, which will wear off after 2 weeks. Your baby will start to produce their own melatonin when they are around 6-8 weeks old. Encouraging light for awake and playful times, and dark for naps and sleep times will encourage your baby’s natural circadian rhythm (our body’s biological clock) to develop as their sleep cycle is lengthening. Blackout blinds are really useful or simply tacking up black sheets from the Warehouse works just as well.
What does White noise do?
White noise is background noise. There are many different machines on the market, I recommend the “Shusher” machine or the “Pink and White”, noise machine. You can place these near the bassinet or cot, and the sound would be familiar to your newborn because it mimics the sound that your baby would have experienced whilst growing within you. It will bring your baby comfort as the sounds are recreated.
Tired Signs - What to look for?
These signs and cues might help you and your baby when they are tired before becoming overtired and exhausted.
Yawning, crying, pulling at ears or hair, jerky leg and arm movements, closed fists, frowning, irritable, no eye contact, fixed gaze, droopy eyes, red area around eyebrows, slower movements, sucking slower, generally grumpy.
A newborn baby is a gift! It is very important to feed your baby when they require it, “on-demand”, especially in the first 8 to 10 weeks.
Cluster feeding is very common with babies at around 6 to 8-weeks. It is when they feed for periods of time, often (cluster). It is around this time they are going through a growth spurt. You might find that in the early evening they are wanting to feed for longer periods and they are more distracted, perhaps (fussier) than usual.
Newborns are so precious. They look at you with their beautiful eyes gazing in adoration and can also cray as loud as a hoover! With settling a newborn, I would advise a gentle pat on their back, a cradle in your arms, continued shushing in their ears and the movement of gentle swinging or rocking, this activates their calming reflex and will bring them comfort and reassurance.
Newborns need to be cherished, cuddling, and holding your newborn will help to soothe and calm them. You cannot spoil them with love and cuddles enough!
It is important however to always place your newborn flat on their back in the supine position for all periods of sleep, according to the SIDS N.Z Ministry of Health guidelines.
Place baby alone, in the cot or bassinet, free form loose blankets, bumpers, and toys.
Have a look at the packages I offer if you need some help and I look forward to helping you and your baby on their sleep journey.