During the first three months of your baby’s life, he or she is thrust into a bright world with variable temperatures and sounds, after having been comfortably floating inside Mom with familiar sounds and sensations. Those first 12-14 weeks are known as the Fourth Trimester, and it is important for your baby’s comfort to mimic the womb as much as possible. This means swaddling them up tight so they feel safe and secure, helping them move from one sleep cycle to the next effortlessly, and having a steady milk supply. All of these can take time, and can be an emotional roller coaster. But it is vital to establish these routines early for everyone’s comfort.
You and your baby will be much happier if the baby is well-fed and rested properly. A consistent, yet flexible, routine will help you get there.
what are the easiest ways to soothe a crying baby?
Swaddle: Wrap your baby up tight like a burrito for sleeping. This will allow her to feel snug and secure, and remind her of the safety of the womb. Swaddling keeps your baby's arms from flailing and prevents startling, which can start the cycle of fussing and crying all over again. It also lets her know that it's time to sleep.
Shush: A shush is a sound that calms and comforts your baby, helps stop crying and fussing, and helps your baby go to sleep and stay asleep. At its simplest, you apply the shush by loudly saying "shhh" into your swaddled baby's ear as you hold him on his side or tummy. Put your lips right next to your baby's ear and "shhh" loudly. Shush as loudly as your baby is crying. As he calms down, lower the volume of your shushing to match.
Suck: Give your swaddled baby a pacifier or your thumb if she's upset and seems to want to suck. In combination with being held on her side or tummy, being soothed with loud shushing or white noise, and being gently jiggled, sucking may do the trick.
Sway: Gently jiggle your baby while shushing (or playing white noise to) him in a side or stomach position. Be sure to support your newborn's head and gently jiggle your baby. Karp describes it as more of a "shiver" than a shake, moving back and forth no more than an inch in any direction.
Side or Stomach Hold: Hold your fussing or crying baby in your arms in a side or tummy-down position in your arms, on your lap, or place her over your shoulder. Use this "S" for soothing your infant. Never put her on her side or stomach for sleeping. Once she falls asleep, put her on her back.
Which furniture and gadgets should i buy for my nursery?
I'm a firm believer that less is more until your baby is 12-16 weeks old. Keep it simple: buy a Lectrofan sound machine, a rocking chair or glider, a crib, a shusher, a bassinet or Pack 'N Play, changing station, and play mat. Also diapers. Lots of diapers. (And wipes, butt cream, trash can, and sanitizer).
WILL I EVER SLEEP AGAIN?
Yes you will. It takes time and some effort on your part to help establish happy and healthy sleep habits. These are best done from day one. They are simple. Here are the basics:
always swaddle, but only for sleeping.
Always put your baby down on a flat surface in a dark room with a sound machine.
Make 7pm-7am a quiet time of calm and relaxation. Make sure baby is in the nursery with the sound machine on, keep lights very low, and provide very little stimulation. Make sure feedings and diaper changes are done as efficiently as possible.
This will give you a good start toward the long term goal of establishing a great sleeper.