Between feedings, naps, diaper changes, and other unexpected events that come with babies, it can be hard to feel like you have a handle on it all. Without beating around the bush, we’re going to review a basic newborn schedule, along with some detailed tips and tricks for baby sleep. Let’s get an idea of what to do, and when.
Do remember that every baby is different, and they are changing and growing so much day by day. Your little one may not fit any newborn schedule quite exactly. Follow your baby’s lead at times, follow your mama-gut at other times. Ensuring your baby is getting enough, colostrum or milk, along with quality rest, is the goal.
- 7:30-8:00 am – wakeup, diaper change, feed
- 8:30 am –nap
- 10:30 am – feed, diaper change, play
- 11:10 am –nap
- 1:00 pm – feed, diaper change diaper, play
- 1:40 pm –nap
- 3:30 pm – feed, diaper change, play
- 4:10 pm –nap
- 6:00 pm – feed, diaper change, play, bath 6:30 pm – nap (catnap)
- 7:30-8:00 pm – diaper change, feed, down for the night
This newborn schedule applies for about the first 3 months of your baby’s life, depending on many factors with your baby’s progression.
Newborn Baby Sleep tips
skin-to-skin with baby
This is when your baby’s skin is in contact with yours. For your baby, this is the next best thing to being inside the womb. Skin-to-skin helps with this transition, as your baby gets to feel, smell and hear the familiar sounds of heartbeat and voice.
Partners and anyone else you have helping you with your baby can practice skin-to-skin too! Giving your baby some skin-to-skin time throughout the day can keep the baby calm and contribute to effective sleep. As a bonus, it’s worth noting that it also contributes to your baby’s development, and strengthens your baby’s immune system.
Making sure your baby is full can seem difficult at the early newborn stage. This can be especially challenging in the first few days with a newborn that needs just about a tablespoon of colostrum or milk per feed.
Making sure your baby is latching well to the nipple or bottle, is being burped between feeds, and even keeping your baby awake enough through those few minutes of a feed, are ways to make sure feedings are effective. An effective feed eliminates one more need for your baby to wake up prematurely.
This is another way to help your baby transition from being in the womb to out of the womb. There are a variety of ways to swaddle, from swaddle blankets that can be folded around your baby, to wearable swaddles that are designed to wrap around your baby without any folding styles to learn.
Blanket- folding grows with your baby as long as the blanket is big enough, while wearable styles may have to be replaced as your baby grows and changes size.
Avoid overheating or overcooling– newborns can overheat as they don’t have great thermo-regulation at this stage of their development. Watch out for overheating especially if swaddling in a warm room. Keep your baby in zero to one layer of clothing if swaddling.
use a pacifier
This is a commonly used baby soother that can improve baby sleep. There is often a warning not to let your baby become dependant on a soother, but this is not too much of a worry in the early stages.
It is also important to remember that if breastfeeding a newborn, try to wait at least 3-4 weeks before using a pacifier so that your baby can establish a good latch and nursing routine. A pacifier can interfere with this as the soothing of a pacifier can give the impression of a satiated baby that will soon wake up hungry again.
Sound machines with soothing white noise (there’s also black noise, pink noise, but white noise has been proven best for sleep).
And do use a sound machine, not your phone, as babies are very sensitive to the feedback noise that cellular devices emit, even though you may not hear it.
Try to keep changes in between naps, and try to master the quick change. Be prepared for diaper leaks or spit-up accidents by layering the crib/bassinette with a disposable pad, a crib sheet, another disposable pad on top, another crib sheet on top.
With this method, you can quickly peel soiled layers away rather than do a whole bed change in the middle of the night. Also, keep an extra nighty or swaddle by the bed for the same reason.
read the signs
Be observant of your baby’s tells of readiness for sleep, and act quickly! Once your baby gives off these signs, get them soothed for a nap. As much as a routine becomes important for your baby, they are changing every day, especially in the early stages.
Your baby will have subtle ways of telling you she’s ready to sleep, and you want to avoid them becoming overtired as this contributes to more fussiness and difficulty with sleep.
In the early stages, routine is hard to establish, especially with the short and repetitive nap, feed, nap feed cycle that a newborn goes through. This is not the time to stress over perfecting the baby’s routine.
You can start incorporating things that will become routine later. This would include activities such as a bath, a massage with baby lotion, and a feed by breast or bottle before going down to bed.