By setting your baby into a natural sleep pattern means you know when your baby will be feeding and sleeping during the day, your baby’s night-time waking will be kept to a minimum. Once your baby is capable of going for longer spells between feeds, she/he will soon start to stretch their night sleep, not during the day and if she/he wakes during the night they feed quickly before settling back to sleep.
The basis of these natural patterns evolved originally through my own babies then through our sleep seminars that we used to run both in the UK and New Zealand. Some babies develop feeding patterns very quickly with little prompting and were generally from parents that wanted to be prepared in advance and understand they needed to be prepared prior to the birth which in turn allowed them to have a relaxed and positive approach and outcome.
Our advice is to:
- Plan a natural sleep structure, this must be considered before the baby is born so you can start on day one.
- Keep baby relaxed and secure in his/her new surroundings, (especially important when the baby is first brought home from hospital).
- Handling of the baby by visitors must be kept to a minimum
- Baby always has regular sleep times
- Baby has awake time for short spells after the daytime feeds.
- When she/he is awake, baby must be well fed and winded.
- Small awake time for a short period, before nappies are changed before bed.
- Sleep structure must be started on day one to allow baby to fall into a natural sleep pattern.
If parents follow this and baby is well fed, winded, and had small awake time for short periods, then once nappies are changed baby will fall into a natural sleep pattern.