I know you’re exhausted and might be a little scared or intimidated by your new tiny human but you’ve got this! I know I searched like crazy for tips and tricks on how to care for a newborn, but it was not easy as so many websites say something different.
My boys are now 4 and 6 years old, and I still don’t always sleep through the night. I think they slept better as newborns than they do now. I want to share with you 5 tips that I learned as a new parent to help my tiny human sleep.
This was one of the very first things I learned as a new parent. Kangaroo care, also referred to as skin-to-skin, is highly recommended for premature newborns but is great for little ones of all ages. My youngest, Owen, was a 32-week preemie. In the NICU, we spent more time doing Kangaroo Care as it helps to regulate your little one’s body temperature, slow heart rate (in a good way), its a natural way to relax and calm your tiny human. Kangaroo Care is still a method we use today when the boys are sick this is a natural way to bring down temperatures.
How To: Remove your tiny humans’ clothing so he/she is just in their diaper. Whoever is doing the Kangaroo care, this can be mom/dad/aunt/uncle/nana/pops/sibling, must remove their shirt. The first time my hubby did this thought I was crazy when I said remove your shirt, LOL. Place your tiny human belly side down, onto your chest. Take a swaddle blanket and wrap it over baby and around you. You can always add additional blankets if needed. Now it’s time to relax. Remember if your tiny human can sense your feelings. There’s a good chance, that if you’re relaxed your tiny human will be relaxed, happy and sleeping too.
White Noise or Soft Music
Did you know that most babies would rather listen to white noise than soft playing music? I had always heard about this, but I honestly never believed it until I became a mom. My oldest, Jacob, still to this day relaxes and falls asleep to Christmas music, while Owen loves white noise, waves and fans are his current favorites. We have a small rechargeable white noise machine that travels with us on any vacation or long car ride.
Swaddling Your Tiny Human
Swaddling is something you’ll most likely be taught before heading home with your little one. But let’s face not all babies like to keep all body parts swaddled. Swaddling is a great technique for newborns as it’s supposed to mimic the tightness, snug feeling from being on the inside. Jacob was one that hated having his feet swaddled up. So I did some research during late night feeds. I found a swaddle sleep sac that allowed for more leg wiggle room, the Summer Infant Swaddle. This sleep sac was a favorite for both my boys, it also made diaper changes much easier as it kept little hands from sneaking down. There are many types of swaddles sacs and blankets available, but be sure to go with one your tiny human likes.
The Glove Trick
Okay so I don’t know the technical name for this tip but I can say it works. I originally came across this on Pinterest. Transferring a sleeping tiny human is not always easy, but what if it could be.
How To: Before you start your nighttime routine find a winter glove, preferably a larger one but not too large. You can either leave the glove empty or fill it with a very tiny amount of rice (less than 10% of baby’s weight) and sew shut. After you lay your little one down, place the glove across baby’s stomach as this is supposed to mimic your hand on them. As your tiny human grows, there is a weighted swaddle blanket available.
I completely understand this, as its the same concept for older kids and adults that may have Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Anxiety, PTSD or that just like the deep pressure feeling. Weighted blankets are a natural way of helping to calm the body’s largest organ, your skin. As your skin relaxes, so can your body. Be sure to monitor your little one if you chose this tip.
Full Bellies and Dream Feedings
Full bellies and dream feedings go hand-in-hand for tiny humans. I know I personally cannot fall asleep on an empty stomach, I guarantee your little one can’t either. A full belly means a restful night, hopefully. Dream feedings are a wonderful thing. Dream feeding, or sleep feeding, is when you’re little one is awake at the beginning of his/her bottle or nursing feed. And dozes off into a deep sleep while still eating. That sounds amazing!
*Please note I am not a medical professional, but I am a mom and former CNA. I know these tips may not work for everyone, but they worked for my tiny humans at some point.