We do not recommend sleep coaching if:
- Your baby is under 18 weeks of age
- Has not entered the 4 month developmental stage
- Is experiencing challenges (not gaining weight, medical issues such as reflux, feeding difficulties, etc.)
Babies’ sleep habits are very unpredictable at this point, and are too young to form any sleep habit yet. Instead, during the first few months, focus on making your baby feel safe and secure as she adjusts to this new, big world outside of mommy’s tummy.
In these first 18 weeks, try these gentle sleep strategies:
Note: Make sure to address with your doctor or lactation consultant any feeding issues or concerns you have before focusing on sleep.
- Continue doing whatever works to help your baby sleep. You will not create any bad habits this early in your baby’s life.
- Use these Helpful Coping Strategies as you get your baby’s sleep figured out.
- Try these Gentle Sleep Strategies that can help to improve the quality of your baby’s sleep
You can also use the following Sleep Tips to further help you as you and your little one adjust:
- Sleep will be unpredictable and unorganized. Your baby will be sleeping on average anywhere from 9-20 hours in a 24-hour period. There is a wide range so please just pay attention to your own baby and do not compare your baby to others.
- The first six to eight weeks will be fairly unpredictable as your baby is developing their patterns and individual routines. Having a flexible routine will aid the development of good sleep habits.
- Sleep stretches will be unpredictable lasting from 2-3 hours at times and maybe 20-60 minutes other times. A small percentage of babies may take a longer stretch of sleep up to 4-5 hours within this period but will only do so once in a 24 hour period.
- Your baby will wake often for feeds throughout the day and night. Average night waking in the first 8 weeks will be 2-3 times between 10-6 am
- Make a plan to get the rest you need. Lay down when baby is sleeping. Nap during the day when your baby naps.
- Share night time duties with your partner so that you each can get a block of uninterrupted sleep. Try to aim for at least 5-6 hours of sleep within a 24 hour period. Taking that block in one consolidated stretch is ideal but may not be possible due to your baby’s feeding patterns. Try to optimize feeding times so you are able to feed baby and get right back to sleep as quickly as possible at night.
- Recreating the womb experience can be very helpful in keeping your baby settled and calm and may assist in extending short sleep episodes. Try swaddling to help your baby feel snug and secure. Add some white noise during sleep times and keep the room dark when sleeping at night. Keep stimulation to a minimum and make sure to only use dim lights when tending to baby
- Nursing Moms should watch their caffeine intake as it is known that it can have a negative impact on your baby’s ability to sleep well. Removing caffeine from your diet will be helpful in these early months.
- Lots of skin to skin and holding during the day will help your baby remain calmer and cry less in these early weeks. Studies show that the more holding you do in the early months – the calmer your baby will be and can result in less overall crying during the newborn months.
- Moms should aim to eat healthy foods and drink lots of water to keep hydrated.
- Bring in support for help with running errands, helping with other children, cleaning, laundry, etc. Enlist people to bring you meals so you don’t have to cook can save you time and allow more periods of rest for postpartum moms.
- Try to start your day at the same time every morning. This will help kick start that circadian rhythm and aid in syncing up you & your baby’s sleep/wake cycles. Believe it or not – this will help set a nice rhythm to your day and help in regulating their night sleep.
Remember, learning about what to expect from your baby in regards to sleep, feeding, and development will help to better meet her sleep needs: