Small Talk#9: Newborn Day/Night Confusion

3 Steps to change your newborn’s body clock

Hi there new moms and those of you who are about to be new moms!

Today’s blog is about newborns getting their days and nights muddled up – which happens very frequently! It can be frustrating for a new mom, as this is totally wrong for YOUR body clock. All you want to do at night is sleep, but for the newborn who has his days and nights confused, this is when he will be wide awake!!! Well, what can you do to try to get your newborn’s internal clock switched around? There are 3 steps you can take which should fix your little one’s confusion quite quickly and here they are:

First step:

newborn day night confusion

During the daytime feeds use the bright light of day to its full advantage! Open your curtains and let the light flood in. If it is pelting down with rain and there is not much light even with the curtains wide open, then switch on the lights! This is going to send a message to your newborn that it is daytime, especially if whenever nap time is coming up, you close the curtains and keep the light dim. Your newborn will then start to associate day with light.

Of course you will be doing the opposite of the above during the night time feeds. If you need a light, keep it very dim and do not engage in any play with your newborn. Be very matter of fact as you change his nappy and give him his feed, a little cuddle and then back in the crib!

Second step:

newborn day night confusion

Swaddle at night only! Yes, this sounds rather odd, I know, with most new moms being told that swaddling calms their baby so they want to use it during the day as well. And it is because swaddling does make a baby calm that you want to reserve its use for night time only. Your baby will then know that when he is swaddled before his night time feed, it is time to sleep and not be active. During the day, take off the swaddle so that he can feed awake – if it is warm enough you can even strip off your baby’s clothes so that he associates that “free” feeling with daytime and being snuggled up in the swaddle at night means sleep!

Third step:

newborn day night confusion

This is an important step. It means that you establish day time for playing and night time for sleep. New moms are normally reluctant to wake their baby up for his day time feeds. Don’t be afraid to do this – your little one needs to get to understand that you play with him when it is light and when it is dark, you don’t! He needs to be awake for his day time feeds and still sleepy for his night time feeds. So at night, keep the lights low, your voice soft and soothing and all forms of stimulation should be a no go. This can be hard to do as babies are so cute and gooey and may want to interact more at night (because they have day/night confusion!). When your newborn wakes at night for his feed, change his nappy BEFORE feeding – this accomplishes a few things. Firstly it wakes them up enough so that they will take a full feed. If a baby isn’t awake enough it can lead to them not taking enough milk which would lead to them waking up more often for a feed! Secondly it gets this “active” part of the night time feed over and done with so you can swaddle him up again which will soothe him while you feed. Reserve the day time to oooh and aah and coo over your newborn, talking sweet nothings into those little ears and playing games like “peek a boo” as you change his nappy!

So there you have it – 3 simple steps to encourage your newborn to know when it is day and when it is night. The big secret is to be consistent in establishing your rituals. Once you have accomplished this you will get a few more hours between those night time feeds for you to grab much needed sleep for yourself!

Good luck and I hope you can get more sleep time by trying these 3 tips!

I’d love to hear from you with any questions or comments! You can either use  the comments box below this blog or feel free to email me at lydia@gofotolifestylenewbornphotography.co.za. I will definitely get back to you!! Promise.

Yours in newborn photography and small talk

Lydia

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