Newborns don’t know the difference between night and day, which is bad news for bleary-eyed parents! The good news is that you can teach your child the difference - make day feeds more interactive and stimulating by talking, singing and playing music in a bright, well lit room – at bedtime and during the night use dimmed lights and keep talking to a minimum (close the curtains if it’s summer time and consider using a blackout blind as the sun rises earlier and it stays light till late). Skin-to-skin contact will relax your baby, so cuddles are recommended!
If you are breastfeeding, you might consider co-sleeping, but do take care as it’s not recommended for low-birth weight and premature babies as it may increase the risk of SIDS. If you sleep with your baby during the day, don’t take naps on the sofa with your baby, always use your bed for safety.
Until a bedtime routine can work (usually from six-eight weeks), it’s best to modify your sleeping pattern to accommodate your baby. This might mean sleeping during the day. If you are breastfeeding, consider the lying down position so you can have a rest in the afternoon. Whatever your feeding choice, try to resist the temptation to use your baby’s daytime naps to do chores in the early weeks – have a rest if you can’t sleep or prepare yourself a nutritious meal or snack. If you feel under pressure to have a tidy home because of visitors flocking to see the baby, place restrictions in the first days and enlist your mum, sister or other close relative to help you. Nobody should expect to come to see the baby and be waited on hand and foot. Don’t be too shy to ask your visitors to make tea for you and help themselves to refreshments.