I think we all can agree that one of the hardest parts about caring for a newborn is the lack of sleep. It is a shock for sure. My first born did not sleep through the night until she was around 8 months old. I knew I would need more sleep the second time around because how the heck will I take care of two kids on no sleep? So I did my due diligence and came up with a plan. And it worked! This is how I got my newborn sleeping through the night at 6 weeks old.
Before I go into the steps I took to get my newborn sleeping through the night I want to clarify a few things first:
- All babies are different so what may work for one might not for another.
- Some babies need those extra feedings at night so do not feel discouraged if your baby is still waking up. It is completely normal!
- Lastly, I am not a doctor and this post is purely written based on my personal experience.
Alright now onto what worked for me.
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Is there a secret you may ask?
There is not some secret floating around although it may seem like it when your baby is waking up countless times during the night and every other baby is sound asleep (well at least it seems that way).
Instead there are several things you can do to improve your baby’s sleep.
First, make sure days and nights are not mixed up.
It is quite common for babies to have their days and nights mixed up. Meaning your baby is sleeping during the day and staying awake at night. Sounds fun right?
When your baby is in the womb they are rocked to sleep during the day from your motions. Then when you go to sleep at night and stop moving it becomes a dance party for your baby.
In order to get the days and nights switched back around there are a few things you can do.
First make sure to keep your home light and bright throughout the entire day especially when it gets dark out. Then when it is time for bed keep the room dark.
Next you should develop a bedtime routine. You can read books, give a bath, sing, rock, etc. Pick a few things and stick to it.
Sticking to a routine throughout the entire day will help as well.
Lastly, switch up nights and days by making nap time different. Have them sleep in a different spot and keep the room light.
I use this for nap time because I can move it anywhere and my daughter has always slept great in it!
Keeping your home light during the day and dark during bedtime, developing a consistent routine and differentiating nap time will create a signal for your baby when it is time to sleep.
It took my daughter three days after coming home from the hospital to get her days and nights on track. I simply followed the above tips!
Now that you have the days and nights figured out next step is regulating Awake Time and feedings during the day.
What I mean by this is making sure your baby gets enough milk during the day so the night feedings are not needed.
It is suggested to feed your newborn every 3 hours during the day.
In regards to awake time, you do not want to keep your baby awake for too long of stretches. Awake stretches of 60-90 minutes are good. You can add an additional 30 minutes as your baby gets older.
Let’s put that together now. Feed your newborn every 3 hours (or less if needed) and do not let awake time surpass 90 minutes.
Therefore, when your baby gets to the max awake time, put them down for a nap. After nap is feeding then awake and repeat.
Eventually you will get the feel for how often your baby needs to eat and sleep. Some simply drink more than others in one feeding.
The most important thing to remember here is not letting your baby stay up too long between naps and making sure they get enough day time feedings in.
In addition to daytime feedings the next tip to getting your newborn sleeping through the night is what is called as the “dream feed.”
This is a feeding that is done right before you go to bed. It essentially tops up your baby’s tummy allowing them to sleep longer.
Basically you put your baby down for bed and a few hours later when YOU want to go to bed (typically no later than 11) you feed your newborn and they drink enough milk to fill the rest of their tummy which lets them to sleep much longer.
Ideally you do not want to fully rouse your baby but instead they should be in a mere “dream” state.
Although in theory the “dream feed” is a great idea and does work for many babies, I do recommend waiting to implement this. Your baby may not need it and it would be creating a habit that is hard to break to down the road.
In lieu of the dream feed for my second born I simply cluster fed right before bedtime around 7pm. Meaning I would offer to nurse several times.
Now onto keeping your newborn asleep: using white noise
The womb is a loud place. Babies can hear your heartbeat, stomach and anything going on around you as well.
When they are born they no longer have constant sounds so using white noise is comforting and keeps them in a sleep state.
You can get my favorite sound machine here.
Or you can try this budget friendly one.
Last but not least, swaddling is key to getting your newborn sleeping through the night at 6 weeks old.
Once again going back to when baby was in the womb swaddling mimics the tight squeeze in there. It also prevents a baby from startling themselves awake.
My go to swaddle that has worked wonders is this one.
However, if you think your baby feels more comfortable with their arms up towards their face THIS is the swaddle for you.
Now if you are reading this and your baby can roll over then swaddling is NOT recommended because a baby must have their arms out if they were to roll onto their tummy.
- Correct mixed up days and nights
- Regulate Awake Time and Daytime feedings
- Utilize the Dream feed
- Use White Noise
Getting your newborn sleeping through the night is important to maintaining your health and let’s be real – your sanity.
Even if your baby still needs a feeding or two during the night these tips will help your baby have longer stretches and get better sleep which makes for a happy baby.