One of the greatest myths out there is to have your baby learn day from night (especially your newborn) and to have them sleep in well-lit environments by day and then in a dark room by night. The BEST sleeping environment for all of us to sleep in is “cave like” darkness. This helps supress awake hormones from being released (adrenaline and cortisol) and to help encourage the sleepy hormone – melatonin to be released. To help your little one differentiate night from day, follow these simple steps:
- Do a BATH EVERY NIGHT without fail. If you are concerned about their skin, there are wonderful products out there and you do not need to use soap every night. It is the experience of getting in water every night that is so different from everything else you do in the day. It can also be VERY short! 2 – 5 minutes for a newborn is sufficient.
2. After the bath, do the rest of your loving bedtime routine in the room where your newborn or infant is sleeping – that way they will associate it with “sleepy time” It should last a total of 30 to 45 minutes including the time to feed
3. After you have your baby dressed and swaddled (newborns) or in their sleep sack, sit down and have your last feed – nurse or bottle in the room where they are sleeping. Keep the lights on so they do not fall asleep.
4. Finish your loving routine with a book and a song and then into the bassinet or crib – drowsy if a newborn, wide awake for infants
5. If your newborn or infant wakes in the night, give them a few minutes to self settle. If they don’t, then do all your night time feeds in the room where they are sleeping. Do not change diapers or take them out of their swaddles or sleep sacks unless you smell a BM. Keep the lights off for the feeds but make sure they do not fall asleep at the breast or the bottle
1. When morning time arrives, make it a big deal! Turn on the lights, open the drapes, and say “good morning!”
2. Take them out of their swaddles and sleep sacks – change the diaper
3. Go out of the room where they are sleeping and sit down and nurse or have the bottle in a WELL LIT and BRIGHT environment
4. Focus on Feed Play Sleep by day and always feed outside the room where they are sleeping
5. Implement a nap routine (see last week’s tip for more details) and still have them sleep in the same room where they sleep by night
6. Use the swaddle and sleep sack by day too for naps as these are very positive sleep association tools