Healthy Sleep Habits For New Babies And Their Parents (The Three Cs)
Sleep is such a popular topic amongst new and experienced parents alike, along with all of their friends, family members, and the random strangers they pass in the grocery store who feel compelled to stop and ask, “So, do you have a good baby? Are they sleeping through the night?”
It should be noted that sleeping through the night is not indicative of a baby’s “goodness,” and yet this and similar conversations persist. Why?
Because parents are tired! So, so tired. While some of this exhaustion is certainly due to adjusting to life with a new baby at home, it’s also likely a sign of poor sleep habits in general. Add a new, frequent-waking (and eating, and pooping, and eating) infant into the mix, and parents are bound to really feel the lack of quality sleep they’ve been experiencing.
While sleep solutions are often not “one-size-fits-all,” there are three key components you can implement today to start creating healthy sleep habits in your home—for both you and baby!
Here are our Three Cs for Healthy Sleep:
As with any habit-sculpting, when it comes to good sleep, consistency is key. Create a routine that is easy for you to remember and follow! Sticking to it is what is going to train your brain and your body to do the thing(s) you want them to do (in this case, sleep!). For baby, maybe that routine includes bath, bottle, and swaddling; for you, bath, brushing (teeth, hair), and pajamas.
Whatever you choose, you want it to be relaxing—because the second most important component of healthy sleep habits is…
When people talk about setting babies up for successful sleep, almost any sleep consultant will tell you that creating a dark, quiet space is important. Lights, music, changing scenery (even from cellphone screens and television) all serve as stimuli, exciting and engaging our brains.
When you’re trying to get a baby to sleep, excitement is the last thing you want! And this is also true for you.
Set yourself up for successful sleep by limiting screen time before bed and making sure you have a quiet and dark space to sleep, too. If some noise is preferred, try white noise or a fan—something that doesn’t really require or request feedback from your brain.
The final—and likely most difficult—“C for Healthy Sleep” you’ll want to follow is coordination. You’ve heard the saying, “Sleep when baby sleeps,” right? Although it may be unrealistic to do so all of the time, coordinating your schedule with baby’s typical sleep routines can do a lot to remove stress from your life and allow you more restful sleep.
Sometimes this means avoiding appointments during nap time so that you can catch a nap, too, but more often this looks like finding ways to implement an earlier bedtime for yourself so that you are maximizing the amount of sleep you get at night based on baby’s normal bedtime pattern.