For adults, it is natural that night time is for sleeping while day time is for being active. For newborns this may be far from obvious. How can you teach your little one to distinguish between day and night? What can you use to help?
Less and less but longer and longer
Newborns have a number of longer and shorter naps throughout the day. A nap can last from twenty or so minutes to even a few hours. With each week, naps are becoming longer, while the total time spent sleeping decreases.
For a baby, the 24 hours of each day are not divided into day and night, but into empty-belly time and full-belly time. When the belly is full of milk, your baby falls asleep easily, while hunger will wake your little one up.
A day full of joy, a night full of peace
To help your little one distinguish between day and night, you should ease them into your family routine. In the morning, let more light into the room by opening the curtains. Daytime is a time of louder conversations, laughter, play and singing. With time, your baby will get to associate playing outside, cooking or the sound of the washing machine with daytime activities.
In the evening, talk more softly, turn the music down, dim the lights. Do not initiate very active games and try reducing the stimuli.
Many parents noticed that their children go to sleep easier if their end-of-day activities follow a similar pattern every evening.
There isn’t one recipe for a successful evening routine. You should establish what works best for your little one to help them to gradually transition into the state of relaxation and peace.
Close to your baby
Babies feel safe when they sense that we are calm and relaxed, too. Your cuddles, gentle baby massage or rocking your little one will reassure them that they are in safe hands and everything is ok.
Babies should be given opportunity to bond with their Mums and Dads equally and spend quality time with parents individually. Parenting isn’t easy – rest and taking some time for yourself is very important for you and everyone around you. It is important that each parent finds their own way to calm the baby down and lull them to sleep – this will certainly help find a few moments for yourself to have a relaxing bath or read a book, while the other parent does the bedtime.
Introducing soothing elements, for example relaxing sounds or scents, may be a shared element in the evening ritual used by both Mom and Dad (or Grandma or Grandpa). myHummy bears, generating white or pink noise can create a cosy environment, free from sudden and disturbing sounds to help your baby fall asleep. You might choose to add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your baby’s bath to create a sleep-inducing atmosphere.