Newborn Sleep Tips from Alex, Bella Luna’s Newest Sleep Coach
Hi! My name is Alex. I am so excited to join the Bella Luna Family, helping families with their children’s sleep! I know a lot about sleep now, but when I was a new Mom, I was confused, like everyone else. Today, I’m going to share how I cut through the confusion. I’m also sharing my top newborn sleep tips that worked for me.
For several years, I worked in the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) supporting parents and their children. At this time, I was childless and enjoyed as much sleep as I wanted. The good ‘ole days!
When working together, my families shared with me the challenges they were having. Bedtime battles and sleepless nights with their little ones topped the list. As a family support worker, I had tons of resources to support them, but not much on sleep.
When a colleague returned from her maternity leave, she shared her personal struggles with getting her little one to sleep. She told me that she had used a sleep consultant to support her. I realized there is far more support out there for exhausted parents other than just literature.
Fast forward to my pregnancy. I set out to learn all about sleep so I could avoid what my colleague went through! I dove into learning about safe sleep practices and creating healthy sleep habits. From there, a passion for sleep was born.
When I was 6-months pregnant, I found the Family Sleep Institute. I decided to combine my love for helping people and sleep together, becoming a certified child sleep consultant.
When my little girl, Adeline, was born, my heart was so full and I was *so* sleep deprived quickly.
I started the sleep certification course when Addie was 4-months old. This helped me navigate the 4-month sleep regression, but I stumbled through the newborn phase.
You can probably relate…
Adeline’s sleep and feeding needs did not match with mine, as most newborns don’t.
The first few weeks felt like an eternity. I had thoughts of…
“Why did I decide to have a baby”
“Am I ever going to sleep again”
Complete exhaustion brought on many moments of crying. I was doing things that weren’t safe and that raised my guilt through the roof.
Something had to change and I knew it by the time she was three weeks old.
I needed insight and tools to help create healthy and safe sleep habits for her.
I dove into many sleep blogs to try to better understand newborn sleep. Some were helpful. Others were just confusing. Throughout all of my research, I started to understand newborn sleep more. I uncovered ways I could support Adeline’s getting more sleep and me too!
Top 5 Newborn Sleep Tips So You Can Get More Sleep Too
- Use the 5 S’s. These 5 soothing steps are brilliant at helping babies to calm down and settle into sleep. I didn’t always utilize all of them to help with sleep, but my top two are swaddling and baby wearing. Every day I swaddled Adeline for sleep, especially for night sleep. This help her to not wake herself up from her strong startle reflex. During the day, I wore her in a sling. This helped her to get rest and be close to me at the same time. Both things babies need. A well-rested baby sleeps better!
- Create a loose schedule. Baby’s sleep and wake cycles aren’t fully developed until in between 4-6 months. Knowing that, I found having a schedule in place for bedtime, helped with my night time expectations. I would put Adeline in her crib around 8:00 pm every night. From that point on I would do all feedings in her room, in the dark or with as little light as possible. This helped establish nighttime from daytime.
- Splitting night duties. Adeline was formula fed from 2 weeks old. This allowed my husband to support with some of the night feeds. Since he was working, he would take the first part of the night. (8pm-12am) I would go to bed early. Then I would take all the night feeds from 12:00am until the morning. Breastfeeding mamas, your partner can still help by doing diaper changes after you feed so you can try to go back to sleep. And/or you can pump to allow for your partner to give the bottle at night.
- Ask for help! This is one I wish I did more. If you have a good support system of friends and family, utilize them!!! The saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is so true. Nowadays, I feel there is a martyr-mentality, and this does not need to be true. It is OK to ask for help. Help isn’t just someone coming over to hold the baby while you shower or catch a few ZZZ’s. (which is still good!) I mean helping with chores, meals and if you have older children, watching them.
- Practice good sleep hygiene for yourself. It was tempting to go on Instagram or Facebook at 3:00am. I knew it would keep me entertained, but it wouldn’t do any favors for my sleep. Having my phone put away during feeding times helped me get back to sleep quicker. I also adjusted my bedtime to be earlier. Some nights I would be in bed at 7:30/8:00 pm.
When we are in the thick of the newborn phase it feels like it will never get better. Before you know it, you will be onto the next phase! If you start healthy sleep habits from the start, it can help you and your little one to get good, restorative sleep.
If you are like “what are healthy sleep habits?” reach out! During our Newborn Sleep Jumpstart, we help pregnant and newborn families by providing a roadmap and tools to set your family up for success.
And if you are past the newborn phase and feel like you could use some help, book a free discovery call for us to talk about working together.
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