By Rachel – The Tired Mama Sleep Coach.
The outside world can be a scary place to a tiny newborn baby! Inside the womb it’s a warm, dark and cozy space. Our tiny babies are in constant connection with us, they are cocooned in warm water on their naked skin, peacefully listening to the rhythm of our heartbeats and the muffled sound of our voice, lulled into sleep from the sway of our movement. Sounds dreamy right!
They are born into this bright stimulating world and we then expect them to quickly adjust to the outside that we are so used to. We are shocked that they ‘just don’t want to be put down’ or ‘Wont sleep unless they’re on my chest’. But instead of googling at 3AM – ‘how to get my newborn to sleep’ we could help by mimicking the womb as much as possible to comfort them and help make a smoother transition to their new surroundings!
Below are 5 tips on surviving the fourth trimester, a tricky time for both baby and mum.
Put a swaddle on your baby shower gift list! Such a great tool to help baby feel secure and resemble the womb. Swaddling also protects your baby from their natural startle reflex, this is also called the Moro reflex which is an involuntary motor response that all babies develop in the womb and eventually grow out of in the first few months of life. The startle reflex can wake babies during naps or night sleep so swaddling is a great prevention and hopefully this means you both get a little extra shut eye! Swaddles can be used from birth until baby starts to roll, once they can roll you will need to transition out of the swaddle, this can be done gradually one arm at a time so it’s not such a shock for little one.
- Rocking motion
Babies love to be rocked, swayed & bounced. This starts in the womb; they are gently swayed from your daily movements so to feel a similar motion on the outside is very comforting for them and can often send them off to sleep.
If your baby loves the rocking motion and you need 5 minutes to yourself then there are some great products out there to help. For pram naps (Big fan of pram naps over here, getting out in the fresh air is so beneficial for you and baby!) if you find that as soon as you stop pushing your little one’s eyes just POP open, try the RockIt – I personally used this every day when my own son was small – Top Tip: Good quality rechargeable batteries work really well in Rockit.
Another great product is the Zed, a vibrating sleep soother. Place it on the mattress in your baby’s cot or Moses basket, this gently vibrates the mattress helping them stay asleep for longer. Plus, the Zed has a calming red night light which doesn’t affect sleep like we all know the famous white light does!
- Wear your baby close to you!
Being close toe noise! From around 18 weeks of pregnancy your baby will start to hear their first sounds. It can be very noisy in the womb! Constant muffled outside noise, the rhythm of your heart, and a few organs gurgling away, the silence outside of the womb can be deafening, we often try to be super quiet around a baby but white noise can be so beneficial!
Use it for your baby’s sleep, it can be as loud as a running shower. Or use it when your baby is fussing and you can’t seem to calm them, beats running the hoover or hairdryer!
There are some great products which emit white noise, you can buy white noise machines which are super handy to keep in the bedroom at night – There’s no need to faff around with white noise at 3AM on YouTube on your phone that way – Plus those adverts are a pain in the bottom!
For white noise on the go during those pram naps, I love the Wooshh! It has 8 different soothing sounds, including womb noises! You can clip it or strap it to the pram and its USB rechargeable! It can also be used at home and has two modes, 1 hour or all night – perfect.
- Calm, dark environment with red light.
On those days where your baby just doesn’t seem to calm, even after you have met all their needs and you just ‘Don’t know what else to try’ – Find a calm dark room at home and use a red night light if you need to, pop on some white noise and try and relax yourself, your baby can pick up on your stress! Rock or sway your little one until calm. This environment mimics the womb and can help relax your baby.
And if the above doesn’t work, remember the fresh air tip I mentioned earlier! Dig that sling out and get outside.
Good luck with your fourth trimester. Remember, it’s all about survival!
Written by Rachel – The Tired Mama Sleep Coach. I am a mama to my cheeky toddler! With firsthand experience of my own sons sleep battles I decided to train and qualify as a holistic sleep coach to help other parents who need support! Follow my Instagram @thetiredmama_sleepcoach for lots more tips on baby and child sleep!