Where Should My Newborn Sleep?

You have been carrying this little person around with you for 9 months but now they’re out and a totally separate person! Where should my newborn sleep? What should my newborn wear? Why is my newborn crying? How often should my newborn eat? 

So many questions hit hard and fast for new parents and this little person that just added a plus one. Sleeping and eating are probably the top two topics of concern for new parents. As a new and very overwhelmed mom, I just wanted someone to help me make some of these decisions. All of the baby products and googling can be overwhelming. As a postpartum parent educator and baby sleep coach, I am here to help break some of this down for you!

 Today we are going to focus on where your newborn can sleep but there will probably be some discussion about food because well….we all like food.

Can a Newborn Sleep in a Crib Right Away?

Research confirms that where your baby sleeps in the first year significantly reduces the risk of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. I understand going into survival mode and just doing what needs to be done to get some sleep. My goal is to shield parents from accidents and help them balance safe sleep practices with the reality of having a newborn. 

Parents have many options when it comes to the type of bed their little one uses in the first few weeks. Some choose a crib, while others prefer a bassinet, a sidecar, or a pack-n-play in their bedroom. All three sleep spaces are great options because:

  • They are safe and free from loose or padded items, unlike a bed or a couch.
  • They are flat spaces, allowing the baby to find the position they are comfortable sleeping in. 
  • They are transferable, meaning that if you travel or are away, the space is consistent.
  • The foundation of where a baby learns to sleep is where they will be comfortable sleeping. 
  • There are many products on the market today that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars and generally have movement or vibration but they could be deemed unsafe for newborns. 

With that said, it’s important to keep in mind that price doesn’t always determine the level of safety so you need to do your research before purchasing your bed of choice. Whether you choose to start with a crib in your room or their room I do suggest having at least one nap a day in the crib. This will give your baby the opportunity to become accustomed to the sleep space and then when you’re ready for them to sleep there regularly the adjustment will be much smoother. 

Why Does My Newborn Wake Up When I Set Him Down?

So you’ve picked out your baby’s bed, and you have created a sleep sanctuary with their nursery items lovingly selected. But you quickly realize that your baby sleeps most peacefully in your arms. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world to hold your sweet baby while they’re sleeping. Until you have to hold them all day every day and all night every night. All parents need to pee sometimes, all parents need to shower, and all parents need to eat. Sometimes you just want to set your sweet baby down and walk into the other room. Am I right? But as soon as you set your newborn down he wakes right back up.

When I was a new mom I felt trapped. I loved my baby but my word I needed some space. So why does your newborn wake up when you set him down? What can you do about it?

 For 9 months your baby was in a warm, wet, semi-noisy environment that was a tight-fitting all-you-can-eat situation. Let’s face it, it was Miami in there! 98.6 degrees year-round. Now they are in a cold, dry, bright world and they have zero control of their limbs. Not an awesome trade-off! When you are holding your baby the smell, temperature, sounds, and security of your arms are soothing and comforting. As soon as you put them down the mattress is probably cold and they’ve had a change in position and their body’s proprioception ( sense of space) knows they are in a different position in their environment. 

If your baby can doze off while already laying in their bed this greatly reduces the likelihood of a short or disrupted sleep.

  • Offer a nap every 45-60 minutes. Being overtired will increase the likelihood of tears and disturbed sleep.
  • If your baby likes to be swaddled make sure they are wrapped up snuggly before they fall asleep
  • When you set them down keep your hands on the baby’s chest and belly with gentle but firm steady pressure
  • Keep the room cool but not cold, a cold sleeping environment is not Miami
  • Use a white noise or shushing machine, your baby listened to your heartbeat and blood swooshing around. The world makes sudden, loud sounds that can be jarring.
  • Offer a pacifier to help them suck to soothe

Should My Newborn Sleep in a Dark Room

There is some concern for day and night confusion in the first 6 weeks of life. When your baby is awake make sure they are spending plenty of time in the sun. If weather permits go outside with your baby for a few minutes at a time to get some fresh air. I would take off my shoes and hold my baby and let my feet ground me to the earth. It sounds a little earth goddess but establishing our natural circadian rhythm comes from our ties to the sun, earth, and its rotation.

 Putting your baby in a quiet dark place for a nap is definitely good practice for future sleep habits. If your baby is clearly struggling with day and night confusion you can have them nap in a dim room as opposed to lights out completely. Try to establish an eat, awake, and sleep routine. It can be difficult at first but keep that goal in the back of your mind, This will encourage full feedings and avoid laying down on a full stomach which can exacerbate reflux symptoms. 

After 6 weeks your baby should have established their circadian rhythm and be able to sleep in a dark room to ensure a full sleep cycle.

My Newborn Won’t Sleep

Hey, I know this isn’t easy. You’re tired, your body is recovering from birth, and taking care of a new human being is beyond a full-time job. We were one week home from the hospital with my oldest daughter and I was sitting in our rocking chair at 3 in the afternoon. She hadn’t slept for hours, she wouldn’t nurse and my bedroom had exploded with baby paraphernalia. I sat in that rocking chair holding my crying baby and cried right along with her. You don’t have to do this alone. Don’t wait until you’re at the end of your rope to ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t make you a failure or a bad mom. It makes you a human. We all need friends, other women, and the appropriate professionals to get us through these phases of life. I became a sleep coach so that you could call me and just say Steph tell me what to do now. I’m here to support you and your plus one. Book a call with me and let’s get things sorted out. 

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