A baby who is hungry, dirty or wet bottomed, over tired or over stimulated, uncomfortable or in pain – is not going to settle down and go to sleep. You need to check through your list to eliminate why your newborn baby may be crying (refer to baby trying to communicate).
Once you are happy that your baby’s needs have been attended to and problems identified – it’s a good idea to let your baby have a sleep so that you can do a few things for yourself. I am a total believer in keeping your newborn baby close to your body, but carrying your baby around in a sling ALL the time, can make life very difficult, and it won’t harm your baby to have a little quiet time by him/herself.
New born babies seem to be able to sleep anywhere – even in the noisiest of places. Your newborn baby will become accustomed to a certain routine if you keep following it, and will be more likely to fall asleep quickly if they know what to expect.
Make sure the place where you will lie them down is safe – (check the safety section), and that they are appropriately dressed and covered. A firm but not hard surface like a crib mattress is usually suitable.
Most babies like to be clothed, even if only lightly on a hot day. Lie your newborn baby on their back, making sure your baby can’t roll over, and that they can’t bury their heads in soft toys or pillows – and that there is good ventilation in the sleeping area. New born babies often like to feel “cosy” or “swaddled” – ask your health Professional to show you how to do this. Usually a light blanket is used, and the baby feels “tucked -in” or secure – again check with your Health Professional, as you don’t want to wrap the baby too tightly so that they can’t get their arms out if they want to have a good stretch.
Some babies like to have some way to sooth themselves – using a pacifier/dummy. Just do be aware that if you use soothers/dummies in the early weeks when you are trying to establish breast-feeding – it can cause all sorts of confusion for your baby, and actually prevent you establishing a good breast-feeding routine.
A rocking motion, or “shuusshhing” sound is often comforting for your newborn baby – it will remind your baby of when he/she was inside the womb.
Playing some soothing music may help too – and your newborn baby will get used to the idea that that particular music means sleeping time.
Even though your newborn can’t tell you, your baby will like you to be near by when he drops off to sleep – you can slowly experiment and once your newborn baby is asleep – quietly/gently remove yourself.
By the way – babies are the most noisy sleepers – don’t be disturbed by the grunts and groans that go on – that doesn’t mean they are awake again, and needing to be picked up – it’s just the way babies are.
Who ever said “I slept like a baby” – certainly has never been anywhere near a newborn baby! Once they are asleep – you can do the “cha-cha” next to them, and they won’t flinch. Most of the early months – babies very easily adapt to noisy surroundings. Do remember that if you are going to whisper and tip-toe always around your baby – when they’re a few months old, they will expect the same noise level. I think it is a good idea to be realistic, and aim for something where life can still go on – even if your newborn baby is sleeping.
Some newborn babies actually love the sound of a vacuum cleaner – it sends them straight off to sleep! It’s all a case of getting to know your newborn baby – and what is going to work for you and your baby – learn to trust yourself – it is your baby after all, and you wouldn’t want to do anything that would harm your baby. There are a million ways to bake banana bread, so who is to say that your way is not good enough???
I have written a separate section to help you identify why your baby is crying.