Becoming a parent for the first time is an emotional journey, an experience of high and lows. Welcoming a newborn and parenting your little bundle of joy is not as easy as it may appear. You may feel fatigued and overwhelmed caring the new member of your family. Parenting a newborn is a skill acquired by learning. Since the woman is the one carrying and delivering the baby, it does not mean that bringing the newborn into the world has no impact on the father. A baby means new responsibilities that you may not feel ready for whatever may be your age.
What is the most challenging factor in parenting a newborn?
The most challenging and common factor in parenting a newborn is sleep deprivation. All babies are different. They have their own individual need of sleep at every age, and it changes as time passes.
Is your baby up all night?
Don’t worry! Your newborn’s sleeping pattern or lack of sleep is usual in the initial few weeks. They have little idea of day or night. They usually wake every 2 or 3 hours based on their needs.
Why is your newborn not sleeping at nights?
Newborns need about 16-18 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period on an average. Short but frequent naps are commons in newborn babies. However, they may struggle to sleep for a lot of reasons. Following are the most common reasons:
Your baby is likely to wake up for feeds until he is around 6 months old. Feed him shortly before putting him to bed. Try to burp them properly. In fact, if you feed your baby shortly before your own bedtime, you might give yourself more uninterrupted sleep time, and encourage your baby to sleep longer at night.
They may need your caress and comfort during the night. They usually want to be held and cuddled as the environment for them is new. A wet nappy can cause discomfort which may disturb your baby’s sleep. Ensure that your baby has a clean diaper.
An overtired baby will sleep shorter and become fussy. It’s a misconception that babies who are tired sleep better. Unfortunately, they will not. They will sleep worse, wake up more and become more cranky and fussier moreover.
Teething can also upset your baby's sleep patterns, but that is in the later phase after 4 months. They may feel pain in teething at times resulting in sleep deprivation. If your baby continues to cry uncontrollably for long and just cannot stay asleep; it is recommended to seek medical help. They may have medical or physical discomfort to be treated soon. Most infant sleep problems aren't caused by medical conditions, but some are.
It is very common for newborns or babies to prefer to sleep close to or on you as they like the recreated womb feeling as soon as you put them down it makes them uncomfortable, and they end up crying. From dark, warm, weightless environment weightless environment where all their needs are met, sounds are barely audible, and mother’s heartbeat lets them to sleep, they are abruptly ejected into a cold, loud, bright world where they experience hunger and discomfort and loneliness and fear for the first time. Generally, it is recommended to start teaching your baby healthy sleeping habits. Falling asleep on their own is a skill that babies learn to develop gradually as their bodies grow and mature. With some gentle and consistent help from parents, they will get it.
Assessing your baby’s sleep patterns can really help at times. Here are some tried and tested tips that have worked for many parents:
Keeping the lights a bit dim and noise levels at low initially are helpful in welcoming your baby to your world.
Let your baby take naps during the daytime. If your baby hasn't had a proper rest, he might be fussy and cranky when it's time to sleep in nights. Taking decent naps is necessary for the baby's physical and mental well-being. It's good to allow your child to take a nap when he wants to.
Make your baby feel comfortable by holding, gentle rocking and soothing music.
Give the baby a gentle massage if he likes to.
Giving bath, read bedtime stories, singing a lullaby.
Feed your baby shortly before putting him to bed.
Make sure your baby has exposure to natural daylight and daytime activity.
No one is perfect. We all learn from our mistakes and flaws. All you need is a little extra effort and a lot of patience to overcome your baby’s sleepless nights.