Tips on sleep during the fourth trimester

Posted on 01 July 2015 by Kristrun

newbornUnderstanding your baby from your baby’s perspective.

Newborn babies have just left a very dark, safe place, where they were never hungry, never cold or tired. They are one of the most vulnerable and slowest developing creatures in the world. Compared to other mammals, it could be said that they are born too early.

Try to think of (at least) the first three months of your baby’s life as the fourth trimester. Give him at least this one third of his total lifetime to get used to outside life. That is, if you possibly can. Some mothers will need to leave their newborns very soon to return to work and then they have no choice but to train them very early to get used to the new world without mom, but with someone else.

You can use a few ways to gradually introduce sleep habits to your newborn. Some say that by making the difference between night and day very clear, the newborn will pick this up sooner. This may take time to make sense to a newborn – don’t forget that one day in a newborn’s life is a very long time. One day is a very small proportion of our lifetime, but a large one for a small baby.

Try to understand your baby’s different cries during the first trimester and use all the resources available to minimize the crying. Most of the time the breast, a snuggle, a snooze, a walk – will fix it all. Recognizing the cry of a tired baby helps with sleep. Try not to put a hungry baby to sleep or a baby that is not tired.

Feed on demand and learn over time what works for your baby. Some will sleep more than others, some will nap very little during the day – others a lot! A good sleep will not rule out another good nap or a good night’s sleep. Try to understand what type of sleeper your baby is during this fourth trimester.

Make sure you understand your baby on your and your baby’s terms, and not because other people think you should be doing this or that. There are so many ways to enjoy your brand new baby. Your baby is your number one job now – try to add as little as possible to that job (if possible).

Even if you don’t do anything to implement any kind of sleep routine, your baby will gradually build one up. They will over time learn from their environment. It’s very important to remember that 50% of children will have night wakings up until the age of 5, and that this is normal. However, if your child has reached that age and is constantly waking up, you should consider a sleeping pill from https://www.ukmeds.co.uk/general-health/sleeping-tablets before bedtime.

During the first weeks and months, try to sleep when baby sleeps. Nap with your baby – even on the bed – or in a cot close to your bed so you can touch her and she can feel that you are within a safe distance. Build up confidence for better sleep in the future.

 Best of luck

The midwives

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