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For many parents, especially new parents, ensuring their baby gets enough sleep can be a difficult and daunting task. Sleep is vital for normal growth and development of a newborn baby, as well as for emotional health and other important body functions. Many people see sleep as the time for rest but in fact the brain is very active during sleep. Newborns are going through a phase of intense development and they need enough sleep to ensure this happens. On average a newborn infant will need to sleep for around 16-18 hours per day.
- Establish a Sleep Routine
The most important strategy to have your little babe sleeping is establishing a routine. During the first weeks of life your baby does not yet have a set day-night rhythm. You can help create this rhythm by setting regular times for going to bed and waking up. These need to allow plenty of time for sleep. The more regular the hours, the stronger the sleep-wake cycle will be. This helps you predict when they need sleep.
- Bedtime Routine
Get into the habit of doing the same things before bed. This helps prepare your baby for sleep. It also helps him or her understand that the time has come for sleep. Simple things like a bath, some quiet time including reading to your baby, a final feed and a kiss can be part of this routine.
- Let Baby Learn to Sleep
From the start, take steps to help your baby learn to sleep without assistance. Rocking and pushing your baby in a pram will help them fall asleep, however this is something they should not get used to, as the baby may then become dependent on these aids to fall asleep.
- Be Consistent
Your baby will learn good sleep habits if you take a consistent approach. Establish regular sleep times and a daily bedtime routine. This helps prepare your child for sleep and also helps them understand that the time has come for sleep. Teach them early how important good sleep is for them. You may find it quite tough at first, but there will be long term rewards for you and your baby.