When you’ve brought your precious little bundle home, you’ll quickly realize how much you underrated sleep prior to its arrival. For your baby, sleep is one of its most important functions, up there with feeding.
The first three months are crucial for the development of your baby and sleeping will take upwards of 16 hours of his or her time. However, the baby will not sleep those 16 hours at one go. Wouldn’t that be nice? Also different babies sleep differently; your cousin’s baby might be sleeping 18 hours and yours only 14, it is not a competition.
Don’t feel bad that your baby is sleeping less, each baby, like adults, will have different sleeping patterns. As long as they are healthy then you should not be worried, if you feel your baby is not getting enough sleep then you should check with your paediatrician. The 14 to 16 hours of sleep will be spread out over a 24 hour period. Remember a newborn does not know the difference between night and day. Not yet anyways.
A baby that is cosy is a baby that sleeps well. The right sleeping environment for a baby is a place that is quiet, has the right amount of light, is at the right temperature and feels nice and snug. So nice that it puts visitors to sleep.
Remember when deciding whether to put your baby in a cot or bed, a cot is the safest, bear in mind your baby is small and weak and unable to protect itself. If you must use a bed then all necessary precautions must be taken to avoid any accidental mishaps. If you are using a cot make sure to remove items that may endanger the baby or obstruct its breathing.
You will start to notice a change in your baby’s sleeping patterns when it hits three months. Including naps and night time sleeps, your baby will sleep for about 16 hours in a 24-hour period. His or her sleeping pattern will improve with time, but it doesn’t mean that it will stop waking up at night to feed this will diminish with time.
Introducing sleeping habits
This is a great time to start teaching them the difference between night and day, during the day you can play with them and at night keep things low key and quiet.
At this stage you can also add sleeping habits or it’s ‘time for bed’ routines. Remember these have to be steadily introduced and if it doesn’t work, you can stop and start again at a later date. A few ‘time for bed’ habits to keep in mind:
Time for Bed routines
Giving baby a bath.
Singing a lullaby, dodo ti baba…
You may choose to rock the baby or put it in the cot, that is up to you. Putting it in the cot will allow it to start sleeping by itself, but you may find your baby is unhappy about leaving him or her in the cot. Should you pick up it up and after how long? That will be up to you.
Ask ene gran dimoune what they have used in the past and what worked.
Through trial and error you will find what works best. However, once you start a routine, your baby, will get it.
Day time naps are very important for the little one. A baby that has not had proper sleep during the day and has been overstimulated will be cranky when it’s time for bed. What’s best is that baby gets his or her rest during the day that way night sleep won’t become a nightmare.
In Mauritius and Rodrigues many of us live in extended families, we benefit from the help of Dadi, Meme, Granpere, Tata, Tati, Aunty, Chachi, Mami and so on.
For many of us our family are involved in the lives of the baby from the time of pregnancy, this is not to be underestimated. Both mom and dad need to rest too. This is where your extended family can step in. They can help keep an eye on the little one while you catch some much needed sleep.
You must always, always check on the sleeping baby at regular intervals.
In Mauritius this is one of the first things gran dimounes will tell you; ‘toultemps zet ene ti kou doeil lor baba kan li ape dormi.’
You can also use a baby monitor, which will allow you to do something else while listening in. But nothing beats taking a peep and checking if the little one is safe and (sleeping) sound(ly).