Tip #1: Sleep Safely
The safest newborn sleep position recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics is the back. SIDS or the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a mysterious malady affecting newborns and babies. This is more commonly known as “cot death” or “crib death” in some parts of the world. Despite its lack of definite identifying causes, research has demonstrated that you can lower the risk of SIDS just by placing your baby to sleep on his or her back.
Unlike the pretty pictures in the catalog, a newborn's sleep environment should not have added bedding or bumpers. A fitted sheet over the crib mattress is all that should be in their bed to prevent suffocation. Likewise, your newborn is safest sleeping in their own bed in your room. Consider a bassinet or a mini-crib for those first several months till they are sleeping through the night. Always check if your baby's bed has been recalled before using it.
Tip #2: Respect Your Newborn's Awake Limit
Newborns go down to sleep easier and sleep more restfully when you don't push them beyond their awake limit. What is an awake limit? It's the amount of time baby should stay awake. During the first two weeks, a newborn can barely stay awake past eating. As each week passes, this awake limit time stretches out little by little. Infants between 4 and 11 months old have a 2 hour maximum awake limit. So, while your newborn grows into that longer awake stretch, be on the constant look out for sleepy cues: sudden change of activity to calm and quiet, looking away from stimuli, glassy eyes. This is when you put your baby down for a nap. If your baby starts fussing and yawning, you are on the brink of a meltdown.
Tip #3: Employ Sustainable Sleep Cues
Create environmental reminders that let baby know its time to sleep. Reserve his bed only for sleep. Swaddle a baby under 2 months old. Darken the room with blackout curtains. Use a noise machine to drown out other sounds and soothe baby. If a baby enjoys comfort sucking, give them a pacifier at nap time or let them have access to one of their hands.
Bible Promise for Weary Parents
Thank God we have a Great High Priest who knows what it is like to be up all night with the weight of the world on His shoulders. He invites you to come to Him, so He can free you from unnecessary expectations and a self-critical spirit that can beat you down during this exhausting time. "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Aim to rest when your baby does if you can. Accept the help of others, so you can get more rest. Be okay with less than perfect homemaking. Don't add unnecessary responsibilities or activities to your life. Finally, rest in God's promises of strength and endurance. The One who never slumbers will get you through.