Charmaine Walters is one of the expert team at Bundle London [link: www.bundlelondon.com] – who provide antenatal classes, friendship and expert care throughout pregnancy and your first year as a new mum. Charmaine is a member of the International Association for Child Sleep Consultants, an experienced night nanny and a mum of one! She has teamed up with Purflo to give us her tips on settling a baby back to sleep…
For newborns anything that reminds them of life inside the womb can be calming and soothing. Once baby has fed, it’s important to ensure they have brought up any wind from their feed. Trapped wind can feel very uncomfortable for babies and will make getting to sleep difficult. Also, ensure they have a nice clean nappy (newborns poop A LOT!) and that they’re warm and comfortable. I find with newborns anything that reminds them of life in the womb can be extremely soothing for them.
Think about how life has been for them in the womb…..
They are floating in lovely warm water, in the foetal position and there’s almost constant movement. It’s warm, dark and snug and they can hear a lot of what’s happening outside mums tummy as well as what’s happening inside mums body too. It’s actually quite noisy when you think about it!
Ways you can recreate womb-like vibes for your baby :
● Swaddling- wrapping your baby snugly in a Purflo Swaddle Bag can be very soothing for some babies (it reminds them of being snugly held in your womb). Do bear in mind that some babies don’t like to be swaddled and that’s ok. A great alternative to swaddling is wearing your baby in a sling and keeping them close ( you CANNOT spoil your newborn by wearing them in a sling, even if you do so 24 hours a day 7 days a week)
● Swaying- swaying and rocking can be incredibly soothing for your newborn. Your movements and activity during pregnancy would have triggered small swaying and swinging sensations in the waters of the womb, recreate this to help soothe your newborn if they become fractious or upset. Babywearing also helps with this and allows you to be hands-free too!
● Shushing – shuuuuuuushing your baby (or recreating the sound of white noise) can be very calming for your baby. Life in the womb was far from quiet and noise from the outside world as well as sounds from your body all mixed in together can be quite loud, rhythmic and soothing for a baby. Wherever you are in the world, the ‘shuuuuuuuush’ sound is the same no matter what language we speak and is soothing for babies, give it a try by making the shhhhhussash sound with your mouth or play white noise to help soothe baby. The soothing centre on the PurAir Crib makes this easy at the touch of a button
● Suckling- your baby will be born with the reflex of suckling. They’ll suckle to feed and to comfort themselves too. If you’re breastfeeding not only will feeding your baby nourish and feed them but it will also calm them and help them relax. Newborns will often fall asleep feeding which is perfectly natural, biologically normal and a great way to calm or soothe your baby. Feeding is not just about meeting nutritional needs but also about attachment and bonding with each other.
Is there anything to avoid doing?
You cannot spoil your newborn at all so enjoy those first few weeks at home together.
Avoid having too many visitors at home after giving birth, allow your baby (and yourself) time to adjust. Too many visitors can be stimulating for a newborn and too much stimulation can lead to overwhelm for both mother and baby. Babies who are overwhelmed or overstimulated can have a hard time feeding, and find it hard to relax and be calm.
Create an environment that makes feeling calm and relaxing very easy for both mother and baby.
● Not too bright or noisy
● Not too quiet either, ambient noise is calming for babies
● Keep the house cool and use layers of clothing and an appropriate baby sleep bag to keep baby warm rather than household heating ( it’s much easier to cool down a warm baby by taking off a layer of clothing than it is too cool a room that’s too warm)
In the first few days/weeks at home baby may be able to sleep for longer stretches. Most babies need to wake and be fed every 2 – 3 hours during the day & sometimes at night too if your Dr or midwife advises you to. But I often find most newborns can do a longer stretch of sleep of about 3-4 hours, some can even do up to 5 hours. If your baby is capable of doing a longer stretch of sleep (some can’t and that’s normal) I find waking them regularly every 2-3 hours during the day to feed can help ensure that the long stretch of sleep they do happens overnight, when you can benefit from it the most.
If you need a bit of extra support with your baby’s sleep, feeding, antenatal or postnatal advice, you can get in touch with Charmaine and the rest of the experts at www.bundlelondon.com