Yes it’s hard, it’s very hard…but, you can do this! No matter what method you use for delivering the child, the first month of giving birth is always the hardest, you need to juggle between everything! you need to feed the baby 24/7, recover from the wound, talk to the world about the good news, not to mention finding time for rest and sleep. The only thing you want is a good night’s sleep. But guess what? you would probably be woken up a few times at night for the first month at least.
after the first month, things will get better. Your baby would start to know day and night and they will start to figure out they have came into this world. wa-la, this is the perfect time to help them sleep better for the night. But how?
if you are lucky like me, your baby will start to sleep through when they are six-week-old. But if they do not do that on their own, you can help them sleep through the night using the below five methods.
1, First teach them what is day and night..get some sunshine when baby is up
Sunshine (or Vitamin D) has long been the best doctor to various diseases but it can also help baby differentiate between day and night. It’s perfectly fine to stay indoors for the first few weeks after baby is born. Try to open some blinds when baby is up and let the sun shines into the house. After a while, they will start to know light is day and darkness is night. Once they’ve learnt that, babies will start to sleep through the night as they can associate night as sleep.
2, Make sure they are on a full stomach
We adults won’t be able to sleep on an empty stomach, so do babies. Offer them both breasts if you are breastfeeding on the last feed at night. Make sure they have enough milk by measuring the amount of time they had on each breast. For example, if your baby normally feeds around 10-15 mins per breast each time, then make sure they have at least 20-30 mins feed on both breasts before they go to bed at night.
On another note, ensure you have enough milk by drinking plenty of water during the day (soup will do too) and eating well will also help produce more milk.
They food I have tried which will produce more milk include carbs like rice/pasta/potatoes/sweet potatoes, soya bean products like tofu or soy milk and fish (all kinds).
Babies will sleep for longer stretches at night if they are full before they go to bed.
3, Inject a routine when baby grows older
You might be put off by this title but allow me to explain this to you further. It’s common for baby to be fed on demand for the first few months of their lives hence hard to inject a routine as they normally feed once every 2-3 hours. By a routine, I mean a minimal one, it doesn’t have to be very specific in detail. For example, eat play sleep or eat sleep play can be routines you can follow. It needs not be specific in the first few months after birth.
By following this plan, albeit very minimal, baby will know what will happen next. They will get used to it and stick to the routines you have created. The benefit of this is that it’s more likely than not that they will stick to their sleep times at night. For example, if they sleep from 12am-6am on one night, it will be likely that they will sleep again from 12am-6am the following day. The plan is to help them learn their sleep times. After they have learnt that, it would be a piece of cake for them to start sleeping through the night.
4, Comfort them back to sleep if they are awakened (after 3 months of age)
Comfort baby back to sleep if they wake up or in other words, avoid picking them up immediately when they cry during the night.
Most mummies won’t be able to tell if the baby’s cry is because of hunger, need a change of nappy or other concerns in the first few months. So what they do is to pick baby up whenever they cry. From what I’ve experienced that won’t work. This is because when baby got used to being picked up and being fed (normally) once they opened their mouth and cry, they will cry until you pick them up next time round. I’m not telling you not to pick up your child when he/she cries, but be sensible and only pick them up if you really think they are hungry or have other problems.
So what do you do if they cry during the night? if you have ascertain it’s not because of hunger or they have pooed, then the best thing to do is to comfort them back to sleep. Try soothing them by a patting their head or massaging their tummies. You could also tell them to fall back to sleep on their own and that you would be by their side keeping them company.
Again, once they have administered that, they will start to learn how to self-soothe and this is the starting point for them to learn to sleep through the night on their own.
5, Have a bath and baby massage before they go to bed
This might seem obvious but this could also be a trigger for baby to not have a decent sleep at night. Why? Because they are not clean enough. By giving them a warm bath and a baby massage before they go to bed, it relaxed their muscles and help them sleep. If it works for us adults, then it will work for babies too. Clean their little faces, have a back massage and a warm bath will help loads! and believe it or not, your baby might start to fall asleep once they are out of the bath.
By following the above five methods, hopefully you child will be sleeping through the night in no time!