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5 week old sleep advice

(5 Posts)
pickleandflux Thu 21-Jan-16 14:20:43

Just after some advice to see if we should be doing anything differently now, to set us up for good sleep habits. DD is 5 weeks and generally now sleeps 3-4 hours at a stretch including overnight. She does take quite a while to settle though and often needs a dummy to relax her enough to sleep. If we put her down drowsy but awake she will just cry, then is even harder to settle as she gets overtired. She also doesn't give much in the way of warning cues - very quickly becomes overtired and goes into meltdown. I've read about the 4th trimester but also read contradictory things about trying to establish habits of being put down/falling asleep before the 4 month sleep regression hits. I'm really confused! When did you start? We do have a vague routine of dim lights/feed upstairs at roughly the same time each night but not any extra routine yet as she won't tolerate much more awake time yet.

FATEdestiny Thu 21-Jan-16 14:36:59

At 5 weeks old just follow the baby's lead.

Truly following baby's lead iactually requires more thought than you would expect with a new baby, with it being such a uniquely special time. Especially so with your first baby.

Newborn babies (in the fourth trimester, as you mention) don't really spend any significant time awake. Like when in the womb, their passive state is sleeping and will only be woken for a need - hunger (needs a feed), uncomfortable (needs a nappy change or too hot/cold) or in pain. Then when waking, may only spend short times awake - like 20 or 30 minutes before returning to their passive state.

I say about requiring more thought than you might expect to follow a newborn baby's lead because it is all too easy to want to spend your days interacting with baby. Visitors wanting to hold baby, you wanting to coo over baby and so on. In actual fact most of baby's awake time will be taken with a feed, nappy check and then more-or-less straight back to sleep.

Lots of newborn issues arise from over-tiredness because parents are forgetting that baby's passive state is not awake (like them), it is asleep.

In terms of mirroring what life was like in-utero for the baby, newborns naturally like a tight, secure, enclosed feeling of being tightly packed in the womb space. This is why baby likes being held. Swaddling creates a similar effect and aids 'putting baby down' (if you so wish). There are also mattresses you can get to mirror the enclosed feeling - sleep pods.

Likewise babies are soothed by movement, like when you were walking and baby was inside you swishing around. Hence rocking, bouncing, jiggling helps baby sleep.

Finally, as you have found, babies are naturally soothed by sucking so a dummy can help. Dummy use is also shown to reduce SIDS risk in babies.

Jw35 Thu 21-Jan-16 14:43:50

I didn't have a routine at 5 weeks, baby would fall asleep in my arms and go into a Moses basket in the front room, I'd do the evening feed then take her upstairs and put her in the Moses next to me or in my bed.

Around 8 weeks I started an evening bath followed by a feed and bed upstairs in her cot. She started sleeping through around 3 months. I still feed her to sleep at 12 months and don't put her to bed awake but she's a great sleeper. Did not have any sleep regression periods so don't worry too much.

pickleandflux Thu 21-Jan-16 14:45:14

Thanks FATE. So do most people advise starting more routine/sleep training after the first 3 months, i.e. after the 4th trimester?

eurochick Thu 21-Jan-16 14:54:42

We followed the baby 's lead until our nanny started at 8 months. She got her in a routine.

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