You are euphoric, you are finally holding your newborn baby tightly in your arms. You gaze down on their tiny, slightly puffy, little face and can't think of anything you have seen that was more beautiful.
Midwives, grandparents, family all flit around you. Admiring your beautiful new baby. Taking turns to hold them, rock them in their arms, all the while they sleep peacefully.
Having a baby is such a special time. For many of us, having our own baby is the first time we have any experience with newborns.
But our expectations can be different from the reality of what life with a newborn is actually like. We expect the lack of sleep but many of us don't realise how hard it can be to actually get a newborn to sleep.
A newborn baby sleeps around 16-17 hours a day, though not always at night, unfortunately. At this age, it is more important that they sleep, rather than how they go to sleep.
As a certified sleep consultant here are my top tips to help you with settling your newborn to sleep.
An overtired baby will be much harder to settle so it is important to keep the awake windows short. A newborn will only be awake for a short period of time. They will wake, feed, have a nappy change (not necessarily in that order) and then it will be time for them to go to sleep again. Half an hour is around the maximum amount of time a newborn will be awake and some won't even be awake that long before needing to go back to sleep again.
Swaddling is comforting and reassuring for newborns. It recreates the snug feeling that a baby has in the womb. Helping them feel secure. Swaddling can settle a newborn and help them sleep longer. Young babies have no head/eye coordination and will often wave their arms and legs around, waking themselves up. Swaddling also means that your baby can't wake themselves up with their startle reflex. Mums will say that their baby doesn't like being swaddled but this is often because the swaddle isn't tight enough or the baby is overtired so try putting them in the swaddle before they get overtired!
Being inside the womb is a noisy experience. Babies aren't used to the peace and quiet of the outside world. White noise mimics the constant swooshy sound of life in the womb. There are different ways you can play white noise - CDs, white noise machines, even an old radio on static but it all has the same effect. Play it loud and for the duration of your baby's nap to get the best result.
Babywearing is a great way to settle your baby. A Peek-a-Baby wrap helps you keep your baby close. It is the perfect way for them to be tucked up close to your heart. They can smell you, feel you and hear your heartbeat.
As you walk around they sense the familiar movement that put them to sleep, as they dozed inside your womb.
A Peek-a-Baby baby carrier means that you can keep your baby close, while you get on with your day. It is also far more comfortable on your shoulders and arms than carrying your baby. Which is great when they don't want to be put down.
It is important to know that you can't spoil a newborn.
Babywearing, letting your baby sleep in your arms, feeding to sleep will not create habits for later. Nurture your newborn, keep them close, enjoy this special time. Follow the safe sleep recommendations but get them to sleep any way that you can!
Though this stage can be difficult, as a mum of two, I can assure you that one day you will look back on it fondly and wistfully.