Can you give your baby size weeks to settle in and start sleeping?
Pregnancy and birth tips from Sydney doula, Danae Cappelletto.
When babies are born, they have no concept of day and night, it’s just a 24 hour clock for them. This means they tend to sleep more in the day and feed more at night because your breastfeeding hormones are higher and you make more milk at night – biology is smart!
The reality for most parents is you may not sleep more than 2 or 3 hours in a row over night for at least the first six weeks after birth… and depending on your baby this could be more like 3 months when their circadian rhythm starts to adjust to day and night.
This is normal and a baby that wakes every 2-3 hours for milk is a healthy well baby. Young babies are not designed to sleep through the night! We don’t need to do anything in this first six weeks to fix your baby. But what can we do to make this intense period easier??
Accept and surrender.
Easier said than done BUT a total game changer. If you can give your baby these six weeks and follow their lead knowing that this is all normal AND it will change with time it can be so much less stressful than trying to get your baby to fit a schedule or routine that has been written for an imaginary textbook baby.
Give your baby love.
As social mammals, babies need affectionate touch and soothing care as they learn self-regulation and how to live outside the womb. Ongoing biobehavioural synchrony with parents (i.e. the requirement ofskin to skin bringing the coupling of heart rhythms and autonomic function, coordination of brain oscillations, and coordination of hormone release like oxytocin) is critical in a baby’s life, and lays the foundation for the child’s future self-regulation and social-emotional intelligence.
Keep your baby with you at night.
Keep your baby with you in the evenings while you relax and watch TV, listen to a podcast, eat dinner, read a book. Trying to get your baby to sleep in a cot away from you in the evenings for the first six weeks can be really stressful, especially when they are cluster feeding for 2-3 hours from 6/7pm onwards. Just keep them with you and know that this is a very fleeting phase AND you can start a bedtime routine when they start sleeping for 2-3 hours in the evenings around 2-3 months of age
Give yourself permission to lie down and rest in the day whenever your baby sleeps. Even if you can’t sleep yourself, the rest is still really good for you.
Share the load.
Give baby to your partner, for 2-3 hours at the beginning of the night from around 8-10pm and/or the end of the night around 5am so you can get a chunk of sleep by yourself
Remember this first 6 weeks is also a symbiotic period for Mums uterus to return to her pre-pregnancy size, establish milk supply, learn to breastfeed, and for the bleeding to cease. Remembering this is a great place to start to get women and families thinking about this period not only for bubs but Mumma as well. ❤
Danae is a Sydney birth doula and pregnancy support specialist. She works with families to provide guidance, information, emotional and physical support during pregnancy and birth.
If you have any questions about birth and pregancy support and her doula services, don’t hesitate to contact Danae directly.