The arrival of a new baby heralds a wave of exciting and often challenging changes in our lives as carers and as parents. Creating a space where your new baby can sleep peacefully without fitfulness is the priority for many of us - with some interesting and not-so-effective measures among more effective solutions.
The following tips are tried and true ways you can help the newborn in your life get the quality, lasting sleep they deserve - perhaps even improving your own sleep too!
The non-visual senses of newborn babies are often well developed, so it can be handy to appeal to these senses if you’re trying to create an environment conducive to sleep. Scents play an important role in triggering sleeping hormones and allaying stress hormones - with particular scents being more effective at enabling stress-free, refreshing sleep.
To make the most of this for your loved one, a baby vaporizer can be used to create a gently fragranced vapour which is healthy and relaxing. Using organic oils (organic oils are safer as they don’t rely on the addition of pesticides and preservatives - these nasties easily find their way into our bloodstreams - not a good thing for a developing young baby) vaporizers can deliver particles of calm-inducing care which is pleasant, healthy and satisfying.
Hush Little Baby
Audio cues are another way of providing a soothing, calm environment for your new baby. The key to selecting sounds which are suitable for a newborn is to select wave-like sounds which are consistent and don’t deviate or volume shift. To create a sense of peace and calm, it’s also important that the sounds maintain a consistent pitch without too much complexity.
ASMR (or ‘autonomous sensory meridian response’) uses mostly natural sound cues to induce a feeling of deep relaxation in the body and brain through a process similar to synaesthesia. There are a wide variety of sources available online, and a growing number of professionals recommend it as an entrance point into deeper relaxation techniques for adults and children alike.
Research into ASMR has also shown that our senses can be manipulated to provide relief from anxiety, overthinking and stress. In newborn babies, this means that sounds can be used to create a womb-like environment where sounds, scents and light overlap and create a feeling of familiarity and comfort.
Proximity is often an issue for mothers and newborn babies, with many opinions on the virtues of co-sleeping and in-bed comfort. Although co-sleeping can be invaluable to many parents, for some it’s not the panacea it’s made out to be.
One of the issues with co-sleeping is that it can restrict the freedom of the parties sharing the bed, and affect the sleep quality of both the children, and any parents. It’s also difficult to negotiate any peculiar sleep habits, such as those who have specific climate needs or space needs. Parents who engage in shift work may also find it hard to integrate this style of sleeping into their lives.
In order to maintain the sense of proximity and closeness, there are other options available. In room sleeping arrangements (such as cots and cradles) give any parents the room and separation that may be necessary to foster quality sleep or to allow for unusual sleeping patterns.
Baby monitoring devices and audio transmitters also allow new parents to listen for any cues of discomfort or distress in their baby, while allowing for periods of alternating closeness and distance. These devices can also be handy when transitioning from co-sleeping.
Light Up My Life
Quality lighting can also help to trigger a feeling of calm in your baby (and for yourself). Many parents know of the value of children’s night lights - with children often using them into their older years.
The quality of night lights can vary immensely, with blue and white toned lighting being unsuitable for providing relaxation cues to children. Research has shown that the most effective lighting choice for allaying anxiety and instilling calm is in fact red light. When searching for a night light for your baby, keep this in mind and opt for a red light instead.
Creating an environment which encourages a newborn baby to rest and grow is not as hard as it may seem. Through a variety of audio, visual and sense-stimulating cues, you can help ensure your little loved one is getting the sleep they deserve -- without the stress.