How to Help Your Newborn Become a Good Sleeper

Child, Family & SleepGO WITH THE FLOW-The first few weeks of your baby’s life are all about adjustment -for your baby and for you. It’s simply too soon to expect structured sleep patterns, so it makes sense to take your cues from your baby. Do what works for your baby now, and before long you’ll have the beginnings of a sleep routine.

Learn your baby’s signs of being sleepy. Many babies become fussy or cry when they get tired, but others will rub their eyes, pull on their ears, or even stare off into space. Put your baby down for bedtime or a nap when your baby first lets you know he or she is tired.

Follow your baby’s cues. Your newborn may prefer to be rocked or fed to sleep. This is fine for the first few weeks or months. By three months, however, begin to establish good sleep habits.

Always put your baby down to sleep on his or her back. A baby should sleep on a firm mattress, with no fluffy or loose bedding.

After the first few weeks, start to actively encourage nighttime sleep if your baby is awake a lot at night and sleeps much of the day. Do this by making sure the bedroom is dark or dim and cutting down on nighttime play.

Have realistic goals about sleep. Your baby will not be able to sleep for long stretches at a time for the first few months.

Make sleep a family priority. It’s usual to be sleep-deprived with a newborn. But no one benefits if you’re crying from exhaustion while the baby’s crying to be calmed. Tell your spouse (or a friend who’s offered) when you need a break. And, tempting as it is to use naptimes to get things done, you’ll be able to cope better if you nap when your baby does.