When I became a new mom, the one thing I wanted to hack more than anything else was my newborn’s sleep.
I love to sleep and I think this was the hardest adjustment I had to make.
Thanks to a few mom friends and one special book, I was able to eek out a few extra moments of sleep from my son when he was tiny.
How did I do this?
I took to heart what Dr. Harvey Carp said about newborns in his book “Happiest Baby on the Block.” He has some great newborn sleep tips based on science.
His premise is that babies really need 4 trimesters (not the usually 3) to develop and be ready for the world. Humans come out after three trimesters to account for the size of our heads.
In other words, our babies still long for the womb.
And the best way to comfort your baby is to replicate your womb using 5 techniques. I won’t go into his methods here (which are super simple and make a lot of sense). But what I did is very much in line with what Dr. Carp recommends.
Here are three things that helped my newborn sleep better:
According to Dr. Karp, one of the keys to a happy newborn is the swaddle.
It’s main purpose replicated the womb and to make the baby feel safe and secure.
And yes, it works wonders when it comes to baby sleep.
If anything, it keeps the baby’s little arms from flailing in the middle of the night, which often startles and wakes him.
Most of the time, we made our own swaddle from the blankets we got from the hospital. We tried to use our beautiful and soft Anais Anais blankets but they didn’t have enough structure to them. Our son often broke out of his swaddle if the blanket wasn’t stiff enough.
2. Rock ‘N Play
This may be the most important piece of nursery gear we received.
Infants like to be held, enclosed or swaddled, which makes sense as the womb does have this effect.
I find this Rock ‘N Play helps replicate the womb by cocooning the baby and keeping him slightly upright.
My son slept beautifully in this rocker from night one. We tried to get him to sleep in his crib and even the bassinet at the hospital, but he just wouldn’t stay asleep for long if he was flat on his back.
He slept longer in the Rock ‘N Play than anywhere else.
The best part is that it’s a portable and affordable alternative to a bassinet.
3. White Noise
It’s not surprising that babies react well to the sound of white noise, which can mimic the swooshing they hear when they were in your belly.
Confession: We used the white noise machine in our room so we didn’t hear our baby’s every grunt and moan while he slept in the Rock ‘N Play next to us. We all slept better. Win-win.
I found the principles in the Happiest Baby on the Block book to hold true and gave us a happier experience. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out for great newborn sleep tips.
Do you have any tips to get your newborn to sleep longer?