From hospital to home, what you need to know...
Posted by Bianca from plan B sleep Consulting
Being discharged from hospital with a newborn can be an extremely daunting process. Not only are you experiencing an extensive number of emotions, but you may also have a lot of questions. Here are my top tips for the transition from hospital to home in the first few weeks and what to expect.
- A certain amount of crying can be very normal in the first few weeks. This is better known as purple cry which is period in which your little one may be extremely unsettled. It usually begins around week 2 and can last until around 3-4 months.
- Allow your baby to differentiate between night and day. This doesn’t mean you have to sleep them in complete daylight, but it can be a fraction lighter if needed.
- Around 6 weeks I would ensure they sleep in a completely pitch-black room for both day and night sleep. At this age it is important to continue providing a dark environment for sleep. Although babies receive a certain amount of melatonin from breastmilk, they start producing their own at 6 weeks. By creating a dark environment, it will help her to wind down and reduce distractions.
- Follow a feed play sleep routine. Newborns only need to be awake for a fraction of time. Aim for around 40-45 minutes.
- Watch for sleepy cues. These can include whinging, red eyebrows, staring, rubbing their face, yawning, no eye contact, clenched fists, arching their back or hysterical crying.
- Ensure a good wind down before each nap which can include taking them into a dark room, changing the nappy and having a cuddle.
- Allow for one motionless sleep a day in which they are in their cot.
- Focus on swaddling them with a jersey wrap rather than arm up zip bags. You want to completely reduce their startle reflex.
- Start consistency from day one with little cues such as a bath in the evening to wind them down. Over time you little one will be able to identify this means their big sleep is coming.
- Use a white noise machine from day one rather than using it on an iPhone or iPad. The reason for this is because android let off a high pitch frequency that can irritate baby’s ears. Aim to have your white noise sitting at around 60-65 db.