By The Sleep Teacher, Kristy Griffiths

When it comes to newborns and sleep, we often don’t think they go hand in hand, so it may surprise you to learn that they can!

Unfortunately, for a new parent, there is so much conflicting advice around, much of which is completely irrelevant and unhelpful and even has the tendency to leave you feeling overwhelmed and doubting your parenting.

There are so many things I wish I was told before I had my girls; it would have made those first few sleep-deprived weeks a lot less painful and taken a lot of pressure off me.

But, after all, I was learning too, just like my baby. So, what were those things I wish I had known?

Let me share them with you below, not only as a mum of three but also as a baby sleep consultant.

Kristy’s expertise covers all areas of sleep teaching, emphasising gentle child and infant sleep training.

1. Newborns will not have a strict routine, you’ve just got to accept it! This is a big one! Pre-birth, I was a routine girl, so when my baby arrived, I tried to make her one too!

But, of course, this did not work and resulted in a stressed and anxious mum with the unpredictability of each day.

Here’s the thing though, babies don’t have the capacity for routines until around 12 weeks, and even then, it will be pretty “loose”. The sooner you accept this, the more quickly the stress of unpredictability will become.

2. Live by the awake window. Once your baby reaches the end of the awake window, they will start to become overtired.

Pre-training, I remember thinking that the longer I kept my baby up in the day, the more they would sleep overnight, which clearly doesn’t work.

Newborns can only manage around 45-60 mins of awake time at a time. After this point, they become overtired, which will only mean a fussy, cranky and difficult to settle baby who only does short naps.

“Once your baby reaches the end of the awake window, they will start to become overtired.”

3. Sleep makes parents anxious too. It’s normal and completely natural to be overwhelmed with love for your new bundle of joy. You have carried this tiny human around for the last nine months for every second of every day.

The last thing you want to do is take your eyes off them. However, it is super important you get sleep when you can. I always recommend investing in a quality monitor like Cubo Ai.

Its best-in-class safety features like rollover detection and face-covering can help ease anxieties in those first sleep-deprived weeks and give some peace of mind for those in the throes of newborn sleep deprivation – a gamechanger for new parents!

4. Replicate the sensations of the womb. Our babies have just come from a nice dark, noisy and confined space, so to expect them to go to a brightly lit, quiet environment can be unsettling for them.

Look into installing blackout blinds to help create that nice dark sleep space and a good swaddle or swaddle suit that will keep their startle reflex nice and snug, white noise is also great.

Consider adding a fragrance such as endota Calming Sleep Mist that gives a delicate scent of relaxing lavender to your little one’s nursery. As well as promoting peace, the pure essential oil will mask any unwanted odours.

“Babies don’t have the capacity for routines until around 12 weeks.”

5. Understand that it’s normal for your baby to want to nap on you. Before I had my babies, I thought it would be just a matter of seamlessly putting my baby down in their cot, and they would drift off to sleep for a few hours at a time.

Well, that was not the case! Once I surrendered to the fact that it was ok for my baby to take a nap on me or in the carrier or pram, I found it removed the anxiety that crept up before nap time.

Not only did my baby sleep better and longer, but it also gave me a chance to get out and about for a walk and fresh air and get some housework done, and given I had my hands free via carrier naps, those first baby-free naptimes were spent on me. Lovely!

Finally, I want you to understand that nothing lasts forever. There are so many emotions in the early days; the intense feelings of sleep deprivation and emotionally charged hormonal feelings can cloud your experience in those first few months.

Embrace the milk-stained clothes and the fact that it is acceptable to have a messy house and unwashed hair.

Take up the help that is being offered, because one day, believe it or not, you will look back, and this will become one of “the good old days” that you wish you could relive again!

About Kristy

Kristy Griffiths is The Sleep Teacher, Cubo Ai Ambassador, certified sleep trainer and a mum of 3 gorgeous girls. With personal experience with debilitating postpartum sleep deprivation, Kristy’s expertise covers all areas of sleep teaching, emphasising gentle child and infant sleep training. As a mum who has been there, Kristy is passionate about showing parents how easily their sleep can be fixed.