The ten things you can do to stop your newborn from waking

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The ten things you can do to stop your newborn from waking

I get so many emails all the time about what do I do Kim? My newborn wakes up so many times at night. They don't take good naps. I'm really stressed out and I'm exhausted. And this is actually really common. And I usually have to do a little education about newborn sleep. Because their sleep is not developed. They actually don't have the internal clock working yet, that Circadian rhythm. That's why they get day and night confused. And their sleep is not developed. So they don't have long sleep cycles yet. So in the first 3-4 months, we have to be their clock, their external clock. So a few of the things we can do is we can expose them to light during the day. So open the curtains during the wakeful days. go outside in the stroller. Let them have some exposure to the natural light, which will help to set their clocks and get a difference between day and night. And the other thing is we have to realize that our newborns cannot stay awake very long. Only like an hour and a half, maybe two, during the day. So we really want to make sure that they're getting enough naps during the day. And believe it or not, I know that everybody says that you're never supposed to wake a sleeping baby. But I actually think you should wake a sleeping newborn if they're sleeping longer than 3 hours during the day and potentially sleeping through a feeding. Because sometimes we only have one long stretch and we want that to be at night. And then the other thing is during the day, our babies actually have what they call touch reserves. In a sense, there's a certain amount of touch that they need all the time, that they need fulfilled. And so that's really why it's great to wear your newborn during the day. Sling, carrier, touch them as much as you can. Even doing infant massage before bedtime. And then those reserves will be filled so they don't need that as much at nighttime. So that's a really helpful thing. So wearing them during the day, exposing them to light during the day, not letting them get over tired, keeping those windows of wakefulness really really small, and having night time feedings, which most of us parents know, quiet. Dim lighting, very sort of business like in a sense of I tend to you, I feed you, maybe change your diaper, kisses, swaddle, and back to bed.

View Kim West, LCSW-C's video on The ten things you can do to stop your newborn from waking...


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Kim West, LCSW-C

Psychotherapist & Author, The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight

Kim West is a mother of two and a Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical (LCSW-C) who has been a practicing child and family social worker for more than 19 years. Known as The Sleep Lady by her clients, over the past 12 years she has helped thousands of tired parents all over the world learn to listen to their intuition, recognize their child’s important cues and behaviors, and gently create changes that promote and preserve his or her healthy sleep habits. 

West has appeared on the Dr. Phil, Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, TLC’s Bringing Home Baby  and CNN, and has been written about in a number of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Baby Talk,  Parenting, The Baltimore Sun, USA Today, The Telegraph, The Irish Independent and the Washington Post. West hosts the sleep section of The Newborn Channel, played in maternity wards in hospitals across the country. West is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy with Joanne Kenen. She is also the author of 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies and The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook.

Kim received her master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. She lives with her family in Annapolis, Maryland.

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