The most common question we get asked by new moms is: When do I start my newborn on a sleep schedule? If baby is healthy and eating well, the answer is right away! Keep reading for 4 tips on how to start a sleep schedule early on.
1. Establish E/W/S early on
E/W/S = Eat Wake Sleep. This pattern allows baby to begin to recognize what her day will look like. This consistency is extremely comforting for a new baby that, after 9 months, has just been evicted from the warmth and comfort of her first home!
It is important that a baby gets a full feeding at each meal, so keeping your newborn awake while you nurse or bottlefeed is key. If, from the early days, you are able to help your newborn disassociate feeding and sleeping, it will be one less (often challenging) habit to break down the road.
2. Learn your newborn’s sleep cues
This is often tricky, as a newborn can go from awake to asleep in the blink of an eye! By paying close attention to your baby’s movements, you may notice a sleep cue arising. For example, a sleep cue can be something as simple as a specific cry, a certain rhythmic head motion, a yawn, or a glassy-eyed stare. A new baby’s waketime will be around 30-40 minutes.
3. Establish an environment that is conducive to sleep
We can’t stress this enough – a baby’s sleep environment can be the difference between a catnap and a few hour stretch. Even though your 5-week-old baby can sleep anywhere, it’s very helpful to get them used to the healthy sleep space where they will be sleeping as they get older. We’re talking black out shades, a white noise machine, and more. For a full list of what a sleep-friendly nursery looks like, read this blog post.
Being the mom of a new human be overwhelming! Every peep, missed nap, or tough feeding can feel like the end of the world, especially while running on little (or no) sleep. We are here to tell you it is not! While getting baby on a schedule is important for many of our moms and dads, it is also important to get some sleep. If you need to let baby sleep on you for one nap so you both can get some rest, do it! At the end of the day, by following our schedule, you will have a happy, thriving baby sleeping 12 hours at night.