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If you’ve heard of Babywise, you’ve most likely figured out that Babywise is the use of routines and schedules throughout your baby’s day. What you might not realize is how beneficial Babywise is to helping prioritize your baby’s sleep in healthy ways. With Babywise sleep is the number one priority, and it makes perfect sense.
How Babywise Will Help Your Baby Sleep Better
These Babywise sleep tips will help you to prioritize sleep for your baby. Your baby will learn to love their sleep, and will be well rested. I am a firm believer that a well rested baby, is a happy baby. Having sleep prioritized, allows you as the parent to troubleshoot their cries easier. You will know that your baby has gotten the right amount of sleep, and the right amount of food. As a result, you’ll be able to more easily figure out what your baby needs throughout the day.
Babywise Sleep Tips:
1- Establish the difference between day and night
One of the first things you should do with your newborn, is help them to learn the difference between day and night. Your baby just spent 9 months inside of you. It was dark! They have no idea that they are supposed to be up during the day, and asleep at night. Did you also notice that your baby seemed more active in your belly at nighttime? Maybe you were just still enough to really notice it, but often your baby is lulled to sleep by the movements you are making throughout the day. When you rest, they seem to get a burst of energy and want to kick and keep you up all night.
Your first job as mama, is to teach your baby the difference between day and night.
How do you establish day from night?
- Start your day at a consistent time. We used 7 am as our desired wake time. Wake your baby up at this time and get them ready for the day!
- Light. Open the curtains, and turn the lights on during the day.
- Play. Show your baby that it is time to be awake! Play, read, sing, etc.
- Have a schedule throughout the day. For newborns you want to feed them every 2-3 hours.
- Wake your child during the day. Get those feedings in and don’t let them sleep to long. Click here–> to view our sample babywise schedules.
- Darkness. At nighttime keep it dark. Use nightlights or small lamps if you need them to help you see good enough to change your baby’s diaper, etc. Limit light as much as possible, however.
- Quiet. At nighttime keep it quiet. Whisper. Night is a time for sleep. You need to teach this to your baby.
- Do not wake your child at night. Unless you’ve been instructed to do so by your doctor, do not wake your child at night. Let them wake on their own for nighttime feedings.
2- Correct Amount of Daytime Sleep
There is only so much sleep to be had at each age and stage of our lives. In a 24 hour period, newborns need (on average) anywhere from 16-18 hours of sleep. This is total sleep for the day and night combined.
Here is a very simplified example of how of how daytime sleep impacts nighttime sleep:
Let’s say your child is on the lower side of that average and needs 16 hours of sleep total for the 24 hour period. Let’s say you give them 10 hours of sleep during the day. That means at nighttime, they will be getting 6 hours of sleep. This is the opposite of what you want to have happen.
If, however, you cap their sleep during the day, by waking your baby up when it is time, you can limit their daytime sleep to a total of 6 hours. Your baby will have 10 hours of sleep to use at night. This is more in line with what we’d like to have happen in order to be well rested.
That is a super simplified example, but you get the idea. Ideally, your newborn is getting most of their sleep at night.
At first this is going to feel hard to accomplish. Newborns sleep a lot! Just focus on having a feeding schedule at this point, and don’t worry too much about the actual amount of sleep. If you are getting your feedings in, you are waking your baby in order to do so, which means you are helping your baby to get the majority of their sleep at night.
3- Correct Number of Feedings Throughout the day
Getting the correct number of feedings in throughout the day, is the second main thing you really want to focus on. A newborn needs to eat 8 full feedings during the day. If you get these feedings in, they will be getting the nutrition they need. A baby that gets the right amount of food throughout the day, is going to need less food at night.
For the first couple of weeks, your baby will still need to be fed at night, and they will wake and tell you this. But as they get older, they won’t need those nighttime feedings, so long as you are getting them the correct number of feedings during the day. Click here to see all of our –> baby sample schedules with full details on the number of feedings needed at each month of age.
4- Full Feedings
The third main thing to focus on is full feedings. If you get the correct number of feedings in during the day, but they are inefficient feedings, your baby is still going to be hungry. Your baby might sleep for a few minutes, and then will wake up hungry and upset because he/she did not get enough to eat.
To prevent this, you want to encourage full feedings. Full feedings will ensure that your baby is getting good daytime sleep, it will ensure that they are getting the food that they need, and in turn, your baby will be sleeping better, longer stretches at night.
Tips to encouraging full feedings:
- Keep your baby awake. Easier said than done in the first couple of weeks, but do what you need to do…
- Tickle your baby’s toes
- Put a wet washcloth on your baby’s forehead
- Keep the lights on
- Make noises
- Diaper change midway. If you are breastfeeding, feed on one side and then do a diaper change, and follow by feeding on the other side. For bottles, start the bottle, and when baby loses interest, do a diaper change, and offer the bottle again.
There are two types of routines that you should start incorporating from day one of your baby’s entrance to the world. Both of these routines encourage and help to prioritize sleep for your baby.
Eat, Wake, Sleep Cycles
This is a routine that is incorporated throughout the day, and is the foundation of Babywise.
How it works: Feed your baby, then have some awake time, then let them sleep. Then wake your baby up and repeat- eat, wake, sleep throughout the day.
Why is this important? Babies that eat and then fall asleep immediately after, learn to associate sleep with eating, and the become reliant on eating in order to sleep. Eating can quickly become a crutch needed to fall asleep. It is soothing and relaxing. Your baby won’t be getting full feeds, and they will be relying on food to help them sleep. This is NOT what you want.
You want your baby to learn to fall asleep without food. Otherwise, every time your child wakes up at night, you’ll be running in to feed your child. Your baby won’t be hungry. Your baby will be essentially using you or the bottle as a pacifier. If you are wanting to encourage good sleep habits, separating feedings from sleep will be one of your first huge successes!
Click here to read an in depth post about the eat wake sleep cycle (the benefits and how to implement it throughout the day).
Nap and Night Routines
Do you have a routine before going to bed? If so, it probably helps you sleep. Maybe you change into your pajamas, then brush your teeth, and read a chapter in your latest novel. You’ve learned over the years how to settle yourself in for the night and prepare your body for sleep. Babies benefit from this type of simple routine as well.
Choose a routine that you do with your baby before every nap and every night. (Nap routines may not have time to happen until your baby is closer to 3 weeks old).
These sleep routines help to tell your baby that it is time to sleep. The consistency of doing the routine before every nap and at bedtime, helps to mentally prepare your baby for sleep.
- Sample sleep routine:
- Change diaper
- Place baby in swaddle or sleep sack
- Close curtains and turn out lights
- Turn on sound machine
- Place in crib
- Consider incorporating something extra for nights (maybe a song or book)
Those 5 Babywise sleep tips are your golden ticket to prioritizing sleep
By taking the time to keep these Babywise sleep tips in mind, you will be setting your baby up for sleep success quickly on! Give it time, and don’t worry if things don’t go perfectly in the first few weeks. Keep at it, stay consistent, and you will soon start to see the results falling into place.
If you don’t yet have the Babywise books, consider purchasing them. They are by far the most valuable resource that we’ve used in our parenting journey!
Find the Babywise books on Amazon:
More Posts of Interest:
(6 Reasons) Why I Wake My Sleeping Baby
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