Sleep week- part one! Nocturnal babies!
Updated: Jan 22, 2020
Sleep week- Part 1
Welcome to my first installment of my sleep themed week!
Being a newborn photographer and a mother myself- I know how important sleep is! I see so many new parents adjusting to new routines now that their baby has arrived and remember it so well myself. Believe me, it doesn't feel like 8 years ago I was going through the exact same adjustments myself! To a certain extent each stage of your childs life, no matter how old they are, you are constantly having to adjust and adapt to their next phase
However, nothing can quite prepare you for that first major adjustment- learning to function on 0 hours of sleep. Oh what a learning curve that is!
Your body has just gone through this massive trauma and under any other circumstance you would be on bed rest and would be able to give yourself time to phsycially and mental heal. This is a little different and I completely sympathise with any new mum and understand the sleep deprivation is one of the hardest things to over come
So I wanted to gather some information and opinions from online, from experts and from some new mums to try and see if I can try and help AT LEAST one mum with some sleep advice, tips, understanding, sympathy....anything that might just help along the journey!
Day 1- sleep week- realistic expectations and nocturnal babies!
I thought it was really important to try and establish what you can expect from your baby in terms of a “sleeping routine”. Although its important to bear in mind all babies are different and have their own personalities and character.
Unfortunately, it is going to take a little bit of time for baby to adjust to this whole day and night thing and there is no quick fix advice I have found or can give. But, it seems that establishing clear differences between day and night feeds early on, will help baby eventually form good sleep habits. By the time they are 6 (ish) weeks (which believe me, will be here before you know it!) they can start getting their days and nights the right way around, show signs of a sleep pattern and start to begin to benefit from a bedtime routine (more on bed time routines later in the week!)
Nocturnal babies and establishing the difference between day and night
The one thing I hear a lot of in my studio is- “she sleeps all day and then is awake all night!”
I wanted to do some research on why that might be. I have always been curious because it does seem a common theme that all babies get their days and nights mixed up- so this is completely normal and is to be expected- but not great for parent who are tired and just want their babies to sleep
As much as all of this is new for us as parents, we have to remember, all this is new to your baby too. The “outside world” is completely different to what they have been used to for 9 months! In a nutshell- they just do not have the ability to tell the difference between day and night yet and they need feeding around the clock.
There are two main solutions to this- not to expect too much and make sure there is a clear difference between day and night feeds.
The advice over and over again is to use light to your advantage to let them know the different between day and night- so during the day keep rooms light and bright. Other things to do during the day- Put the TV or radio on to keep the environment stimulating. Talk to and play with your baby- lay them on the floor so they can kick and stretch
In contrast- the night time should be as dark as possible use a dim lamp, use white noise to sooth them and to “muffle out” any other sounds so they do not startle, when you need to feed or change baby try not to talk and interact with them so they eventually will learn it is night time and night time feeds are boring!
One last thing to add from me...I know this is a controversial statement to make, and I didn't do this. But I should have. Try, if you can, to sleep when the baby sleeps and take advantage of all the offers of help! Or, ask for it. Do not be ashamed to ask for help! To ask someone to nip to the shop for you! Cuddle the baby while you lay down upstairs for an hour. Do jobs around the house for you. But I completely understand this isn't always do-able!
Look into things like doing online shopping whilst baby is feeding or during the night while you are awake anyway! (put your screen on low brightness- remember my previous advice about night time feeds!). And slow cookers are so underestimated! Chuck all your ingredients into your slow cooker in the morning and in the evening when you are tired and hungry- your dinner is ready!
Other topics being covered in the week- what I do in my studio to help babies fall into a deep sleep, an interview from a sleep expert, the best age to start a bedtime routine and things to include into a bedtime routine, an interview with an aromatherapist, looking at the two main sleep techniques for older babies and recommendations of sleep aid products from mums who have tried and tested them!
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