Make a plan with your partner on how you will manage to get the sleep you need in these early months. Discuss how you can share night time baby duties. Splitting the nights (Mom on duty first 5 hours & Dad takes second part of the night), or Mom is on during the week and Dad can offer to take over on weekend nights when he is off work.
Be creative in making sure each person is able to get the sleep they need every day. This may mean arranging for a few hours of care during the day with a baby sitter or relative so mom can nap or once dad comes home from work – he can take over for a few hours so mom can rest.
Promote A Healthy Sleep Environment
Establish a nice, relaxing and consistent night time sleep environment. Keep your baby’s sleep environment consistent at bedtime as it will be for the rest of the night. Everything should remain the same so when baby wakes at night – they can learn that this period is for sleeping.
If the environment remains the same during this time – it will make it easier for them to fall back asleep. If it is different – it will make it more difficult for your baby to settle back to sleep. Whatever you are doing at the beginning of the night – your baby will expect in the middle of the night.
Sleep environment should be cool, dark and quiet. Do your best to not overstimulate the baby during the night. When they wake and need to feed or be changed or tended to – Meet the need and then get them right back to bed.
Your Baby Will Wake Up At Night
Expect night wakings and be prepared to handle them quickly and with ease. Have bottles prepped in advance. Make sure you have all the changing supplies close at hand. Have extra clothes, swaddle blankets, bassinet sheets, cloth diapers/burp cloths, available. Nursing supplies close by. Dim light only when needed and off as soon as possible.
When signaling at night – respond in lazy slow way with minimal light. Try to respond with voice first, then touch if needed (firm hand on torso – deep pressure on arms/legs). Your goal is to respond quickly so that you do not allow their sympathetic nervous system to up-regulate because it will make it harder for them to fall asleep. The more unsettled they become – the more wakeful they will be and it will cause you to have to spend more time settling them to sleep.
Try to settle as quickly as possible and get them back to sleep as soon as you can. A feed without a diaper change or burp usually results in an easy transition back to sleep. Find what works and don’t be afraid to use it. – swing, rock-n-play, nursing, holding, calming.
Don’t worry about your baby falling asleep towards end of feed. This is completely normal and natural and will NOT develop any bad habits for your baby at this stage.
It’s not always necessary to burp baby after a feeding. Some babies do fine if feeding and settled right back to sleep
Try putting your baby immediately down in the bassinet/sleep space after feedings