Dear mom to be,
You are about to meet your precious baby you carried around in your own body for the last 7-8-9 months and this should be a moment to celebrate. First of all, celebrate the gift of life!
However, you are hardly in the mood to party right now with a big belly before you, difficulty to rest at night when your baby is quite active and lots of worries and preparations to be made in order to properly welcome your baby into the world.
But let me tell you something else, sleep is also a gift we should embrace from the very beginning in order to have a healthy and harmonious development.
Moreover, sleeps requires a holistic approach meaning we need to look at ourselves, our lifestyle and perspective as a starting point for considering our baby’s sleep issues.
Science behind sleep
Even if there is no total consensus why we need to sleep for such a big part of our lives, many studies evaluating the effects of sleep deficiency on health indicate that sleep affects our emotional well-being, cognitive function, memory and brain development, daytime performance, our physical health and immune system.
Therefore, we should give sleep the place it deserves, starting with the best sleep inductive environment for your newborn.
Sleep patterns begin to develop in children even before birth. REM sleep (active, dreaming sleep) appears in the foetus at about 6-7 months of gestation while non-REM sleep (still, deep sleep) develops a month later.
However, newborns spend about 50% of their sleeping time in REM phase and have a short sleep cycle (45-50 min.), which means they do not easily fall into a deep sleep. By comparison, adults spend only 20% of their sleep in REM and can enjoy a 90-100 minute sleep cycle.
One other important thing we should consider with newborn is that their sleep patterns are 50% genetics and 50% environmental. In other words, how they sleep is partly due to their temperament and party it depend on what the parents do and how they react to his habits.
Actually, the first 3 months after a baby is born is known as the 4th trimester, a time for cuddling and closeness between mom and her baby, when the little one is struggling to adjust to a colder, out of the womb world.
During the 4th trimester, you can expect fussiness and crying from your baby and very likely exhaustion for you. Newborn babies are learning to adjust to life outside the womb where it was warm and cosy.
And their main way of communication is by crying. But at the same time, this can also be an opportunity for the mom and her baby to get to know each other better and re-connect into the new world.
Usually a newborn needs about 16 hours of sleep in 24 h, with 4-5 naps during the day (from catnaps to 2h naps) and lots of assistance from mom. Mom is the closest person the baby knows and feels during these challenging times of adjustment, so don’t be afraid to spoil your newborn. That means carrying him, rocking or walking him to sleep, but less feeding him to sleep him, if possible.
Prenatal sleep coaching
In order to make your newborn baby feel back at home, even if it is outside of the cosy environment where it was for the last 9 months, there are a lot of things we can do.
However, with newborns we do not use sleep training as such – our approaches to newborn sleep are much gentler and less rigid than we would consider after 4 months of age for example, and this is due to the newborn having immature sleep biorhythms which are still developing. We do however look at all aspects of newborn sleep such as sleep environment, props, age appropriate awake time, feeds and growth, and using an appropriate settling technique to start getting improvement in terms of sleep and to help develop lifelong healthy sleep habits.
So, if you want to receive the free Ebook with Baby Steps for a Better Sleep, just subscribe to my newsletter HERE and I will get back to you asap.
If you need more support with welcoming your baby into the world by providing the optimal sleep conditions, feel free to connect.