Getting used to a new baby at home can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Sydney Local Health District's Child and Family Health Nurse Caroline Parkee talks us through sleeping and settling for your bub.
“Expect the baby to cry more than you expected” Ms Parkee says, but maybe not right away.
“For the first few weeks babies are really just recovering from delivery. Babies might not need so much milk at this time and they do settle fairly easily”.
It’s around the third week that babies start to cry a bit more, “They become very alert so it’s hard for them to switch off and they need an adult to help them settle”.
In many cases, that’s easier said than done. Just how do we help babies settle?
A big part of settling is making the baby feel secure. This involves picking them up and supporting their bodies. Cuddling, patting, rocking and feeding can all help.
“The first thing babies are learning in early life is trust and to be able to trust is to have their needs met whenever they’re crying.” says Ms Parkee.
During those tough times, when it feels like you’ve tried everything and baby still won’t settle, it’s often helpful to call on someone else. Passing bub to dad, mum or grandma and grandpa could make all the difference.
If there’s no one else around to help and you’re feeling frustrated, put the baby down and take a short break. Although we don’t recommend leaving a baby to cry for long periods, popping bub down for a minute while you take a breather is always better than losing your patience and becoming frustrated.
“It doesn’t come easily. Some babies are really confusing, they might be a lot more unsettled than other babies,” says Ms Parkee.
No two babies are the same, and it’s not always realistic to expect them to sleep according to a routine.
Sydney Local Health District’s New Parent Group sessions offer information on settling and other useful topics. For those who are really struggling, one-on-one appointments can be arranged. For more information, call the Child Health Information Link on 9562 5400 and speak to a Child and Family Health Nurse.