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7 Things You Can Do to Help Your Newborn Sleep Soundly

Ten fingers. Ten toes. Ten minutes of sleep.

For new parents, the struggle is real – but there are seven things you can do to help your newborn sleep soundly during his or her first few weeks (and maybe even catch a few Zs yourself).

7 Things You Can Do to Help Your Newborn Sleep Soundly

Time spent sleeping is a lot more productive than it looks. Babies cycle through active and quiet sleep, and each has its own functions:
• During active sleep, her brain is exceptionally busy. That’s when neural connections go into overdrive. Essentially, her brain is creating pathways for learning now and in the future. The brain even bridges the gap between the left and right hemispheres during sleep.
• During quiet sleep, the blood supply to his little muscles increases, he builds up energy, and his body grows and repairs tissue.
When your little one is fast asleep, brain functions mature quickly. The amount and quality of sleep a baby gets directly correlates to his or her ability to learn and grow over the next several years.

These are seven things you can do to help your baby sleep more soundly – and get off to a healthier start:
1. Make sure his tummy is full.
2. Adjust the temperature.
3. Swaddle for comfort.
4. Play soothing sounds.
5. Keep the lights dim.
6. Try an infant massage.
7. Stick to a routine.

1. Make sure his tummy is full.

Newborns typically sleep about three hours at a time, and many require two or three nighttime feedings. If you feed your little one right before bedtime, you could stretch out sleep time.

2. Adjust the temperature.

Every baby is different, but we all need a good ambient temperature to fall into a sound sleep. Usually, somewhere between 69 and 73 degrees F is a good start. (We warm up our studio during photo shoots, and this is why.)

3. Swaddle for comfort.

People have been swaddling babies for eons because it works. Your little burrito craves the security and comfort swaddling provides; it’s a lot like being in the snug, familiar and warm confines of mama’s belly. And the best swaddling blankets are large and made of very stretchy jersey to keep your baby snug.

4. Play soothing sounds.

White noise itself doesn’t help babies sleep – but it does block out other noises, like traffic and other environmental distractions, that can keep little brains buzzing. We love the Baby Shusher Soother, which sounds a lot like a dad comforting a finicky little one, but you can find sound machines that mimic mom’s heartbeat, sound like wild birds in the forest, or simply play white noise, too.

5. Keep the lights dim.

Dimming the lights signals that it’s time to slow down – and ditto for turning down the volume and reducing activity around your baby. Blue and white lights are stimulating, so avoid those; aim for reds, oranges and yellows to create the best pre-sleep environment for newborns, babies and toddlers.

6. Try an infant massage.

Massaging your baby’s back and tiny limbs can reduce fussiness and crying, aid in sleep and help fend off conditions that’ll make him uncomfortable. A soothing massage makes the brain release more serotonin and less cortisol to aid in relaxation.

7. Stick to a routine.

Routines help newborns feel more secure and help them make important connections. Typically, babies whose parents stick to routines are more engaged with their environments and the people around them – and some studies have shown that routines even help little ones develop independence.

Newborn Baby Sleep Myths

Well-meaning family and friends are known for passing on several really persistent myths about newborn sleep, which you’ll have to get past to ensure your little one gets the best-quality rest possible. Some of the most common baby sleep myths are:
“You should wake up your baby when it’s time to eat.” The reality is that babies zonk out when they’re ready… and they wake up when they’re ready, too.
“Naps don’t count.” Every Z your little one catches is worth it, provided he or she is sleeping soundly – even if it’s somewhere other than her crib.
“Adding rice cereal to her bottle at bedtime will help him sleep.” There’s no medical proof that rice cereal will help your little one sleep, and worse, it can be unsafe.

Do You Have Baby Sleep Tips to Share?

Every baby is unique, so what works for one might not work at all for another – even within the same family. We’d love to hear your baby sleep tips and find out what worked best for your little ones, so please share them in the comments below.

While you’re here, you can also schedule a newborn photo shoot, explore our galleries and learn more about pricing for newborn photography.
 

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