More ZZZ’s for Mom and Baby: Consistency is Key

When your baby is born, she/he will be alert and ready to bond with you during the first hour.  Afterwards, she will go into a deep sleep for about 4 hours as she begins adjusting to life outside the womb.  During the first 2 weeks, she will eat about every 2-3 hours and sleep a total of 10-18 hours a day.  You may even have to wake her for feedings.

By week 3 having acclimated more to life outside the womb, her eating habits will become more regular although still inconsistent and prone to changes during growth spurts.  Around the third month of life, your baby’s sleep cycle should be more regular and he/she should be sleeping for longer stretches.  What a sense of timing.  Welcome changes indeed! 

While you cannot force your baby into a predictable sleeping pattern, you can guide her.  When you get up, open the blinds and turn on the music, creating a routine for your baby to follow. When you get ready for bed, dim the lights, bathe your baby, and put on soothing sounds.  Consistency is critical for developing well-regulated sleep habits.

If your baby awakens between feeding times, gently pat his/her back, sssh, and offer a pacifier, to help your baby learn how to self-soothe. The less noise and more consistency you provide, the more you help your baby adjust and learn to develop healthy sleep patterns.

Jamie Bodily is the founder and director of ParentsCount.   A Birth and Postpartum Doula in St. Louis, she assists new parents in developing healthy routines, adjusting to a newborn, calming tips and breastfeeding assistance.

Bonding With Your Baby

Bonding  prenatally and after delivery creates a foundation for the parent-child relationship.
Here are some bonding tips:

  1. Place your baby on your chest after birth and put a warm blanket over both of you. Hold, touch, and talk to your baby. Your body releases hormones that encourage bonding and attachment to your baby. You and baby do not need to be separated during the first hour after delivery unless there is a medical concern.
  2. Have dad take off his shirt and hold baby skin to skin.
  3. Massage your baby.
  4. Sing to your baby. Sing whatever you want, it doesn’t have to be kids music.
  5. Read to your baby. Read prenatally and post-delivery to your baby. Babies can hear in the womb and respond to your voice.
  6. Talk to your baby.
  7. Tell your baby “I love you.”
  8. Soak in the smell of your newborn. Who doesn’t like the smell of a newly washed baby?
  9. Your breastmilk is composed of the things you eat, so it tastes different at each feeding. Eat a variety of foods to treat yourself and your baby.
  10. Smile! Babies love faces and newborns can see from their mother’s breast to her face.
  11. Use a wrap, sling or carrier and keep your baby close to you.
  12. Play with your baby during diaper changes. Peek-a-boo and This Little Piggy are fun games.

Jamie Bodily is founder and director of ParentsCount. Jamie offers private and group “Happiest Baby on the Block” classes encouraging gentle baby calming for fussy babies.  For