5 Tips To Get Newborns On A Set Sleeping Schedule
Having 4 children (ages 11 to newborn), means there are a lot of sleepless nights. Whereas I love my kids, a night with no sleep, especially when you have to work the next day, means at some point, you need... scratch that, HAVE to get a plan together. Here are some steps from http://www.parentingscience.com to help you get that much needed beauty sleep some of us crave (and need).
Help baby adapt to a 24 hour day:
#1: Make baby a part of your daily routine. Researchers argue that social cues may have the greatest influence on newborn sleep patterns. When mothers include their newborns in their daily activities, newborn sleep patterns adapt more rapidly to the 24-hour day. One study took continuous measurements of mother-infant activity patterns for four months after birth. Newborns who were active at the same time of day as their mothers quickly adapted to the daily schedule.
#2: Reduce stimulation at night. When baby wakes for night time feedings, keep activity to a minimum. Make as little noise as possible, and avoid moving your baby around. Ideally, you want to avoid waking her “all the way up.” But if that’s not possible, at least try to minimize the hustle and bustle.
#3: Expose your newborn to natural lighting patterns. Light cues may not influence newborn sleep patterns as much as social cues do. But they are still important. In a study of preterm infants kept in hospital wards, babies exposed to natural lighting patterns—brighter during the dark, darker during the night—adapted to the 24-hour cycle more quickly than those exposed to constant, low levels of light. In another study of full-term infants, babies who were exposed to more afternoon light slept better at night.
#4: Try infant massage. One study reports that newborns who received 14 days of massage therapy (beginning when they were about 10 days old) showed more mature sleep patterns in later weeks. At 12 weeks, the massaged infants had higher levels of nocturnal melatonin.
#5: Breastfeed if you can. Breast milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that is used by the body to manufacture melatonin. Tryptophan levels rise and fall according to maternal circadian rhythms, and when infants consume tryptophan before bedtime, they fall asleep faster (Steinberg et al 1992). It’s therefore possible that breastfeeding helps newborn sleep patterns synchronize with the 24-hour day. This hypothesis was tested by feeding infants formula fortified with varying concentrations of tryptophan. When infants were given low levels of tryptophan during the day and high concentrations at night (mimicking the natural fluctuations of breast milk), infants fell asleep faster at night and got more sleep overall.
Keep in mind, these are a handful of tactics. There are many, MANY more. If you are blessed enough to have your significant other with you in the household, try taking shifts with baby. Lack of sleep can have adverse effects on you and your children as insufficient rest can heavily effect your attitude (see also: patience levels).
At the end of the day, remember they are yours and there's nothing quite like your own kiddos. Tired Daddy loves you all!!! <3