Tag Archive for: infant sleep

It’s that dreaded time of year again. Goodbye to standard time. Daylight savings time begins. Every time shift can be challenging, though “springing ahead” is thought to be the easier of the two. But that’s little consolation when the sun is still shining bright at your little one’s bedtime!

For parents of newborns and most babies under six months old – rejoice! Younger babies hardly notice the change and it has little effect on their sleep patterns. It’s not often that you get good news about newborn babies and their sleep! Of course many of you are still working on predictable and consistent sleep. And you and your partner will be affected by the time change so try to adjust your own sleep routine to minimize this impact.

For parents of older infants and toddlers (and older kids too!), your child’s circadian rhythm will be affected by this jump ahead and we know of no parents who look forward to this biannual scourge…er, um, event!

Four tips of helping your child adjust to the daylight savings time change:

1. Lots of outside time and sunshine

Good for everyone, everyday. And even more so when our circadian rhythm and sleep patterns need adjusting. Morning sunshine is especially helpful!

2. Blackout curtains and dim lights

Honestly? We recommend blackout curtains for everyone! A consistent sleep routine is easier to accomplish when you control the light. An hour ahead of bedtime, pull the blinds and dim the lights. This shift stimulates the production of melatonin and helps set your little one up for a better night’s sleep.

3. Gradual sleep schedule adjustment

You can gradually adjust the sleep schedule ahead of time or start the morning after. You can use 15- or 30-minute increments, mostly dependent on the age of temperament of your little one. Kim West, aka The Sleep Lady, has some great tips on schedule adjustment for “springing ahead” (and she is an overall fantastic resource for all things related to sleep for babies and children!). 

4. Nothing

That’s right. You can opt for doing nothing ahead of time or any specific adjustments afterwards. This works better for babies and children with “easy to adapt” temperaments. If this does not describe your child, your whole family may do better overall with some proactive strategies to work with your child’s temperament and minimize the stress.

Bonus Tip: Patience

Regardless of what approach you end up taking, the adjustment to daylight savings time takes about a week. Offering some patience to your little one, your partner, yourself, and anyone else you interact with is never a bad approach, especially the week after daylight savings time begins! In a few short weeks, you’ll be enjoying some time to yourself with the later setting sun after your little one is asleep – hopefully with some gardening, walking with a friend, reading a good book, or any other activity you enjoy! 

As we all know, sleep is a topic of interest for all parents, especially new parents. Read on to get more information on:

Understanding and shaping newborn sleep habits.

How our overnight newborn care can help you rest while setting a foundation of healthy sleep habits with your little one.


Who among us doesn’t treasure a great night’s sleep? And how many new or expectant parents have heard the horror stories of newborn sleep skills (or lack thereof!) and their parents who can’t recall the last time they woke up in the morning feeling refreshed? There’s no denying that finding a way to get some good rest is a challenge in the early months of new parenthood, so let’s talk about it!

Babies Sleep, Just Not the Way We’d Like!

First, let’s explore what to expect from your baby at night, and why they do what they do. The first three months of an infant’s life are commonly referred to as the “Fourth Trimester”. During this time their physical and emotional development that began in the womb are completed. Their brains begin the process of learning by association and are busy sorting out the world. Their bodies are learning to eat and sleep with purpose, and they need their parents’ help to develop patterns which will help their systems regulate.

With their tiny tummies, newborns need to eat every three to four hours at night. Parents might wish for a great night’s sleep, the health and survival of their baby is likely to demand otherwise for a while. Day and night are still meaningless to them, and their circadian rhythm has yet to develop, so their bodies aren’t giving them cues to sleep just because night has come.

If you’ve done any research or talked to other parents, you have seen and heard lots of advice on how to get your baby to sleep, some of which directly contradicts other recommendations. You may be left confused and anxious. And wondering how you are supposed to know the best way to get it right from the beginning. While the task at hand can seem monumental and overwhelming, some simple steps can get you and your babies on the right track for excellent rest. 

Basics of Safe, Comfortable Newborn Sleep

Start with the basics – a safe sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with no additional blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, bumpers, or cushions. Next, decide where in the home baby will be sleeping. Will you be rooming in for a few weeks, or starting from day 1 in the nursery? Both have their pros and cons, and only you can make the choice about what will get your family the best rest possible! Some families find having baby close at hand makes responding to their needs at night quicker and less overall distracting from peaceful sleep. Others find they hear every little noise, and thus need the distance of a wall between them and baby so they can actually fall asleep in between feeding and soothing sessions.

Sleep Associations – use them!

Next, let’s talk about comfort and routine. Building healthy sleep associations from day 1 can actually help mitigate the need for intense sleep training months later. All babies are born with a biological need to feel safe, secure, and soothed whether it’s day or night. How do we meet those needs while we rest? 

  1. Womb Service. During the day, babies are often happy to sleep anywhere, through any amount of noise and light. But when it comes to nighttime sleep, it really helps to think about recreating the environment your baby just left. What about it can be translated into a safe and soothing aid for sleeping in your home? Baby’s room should be dark (think black out curtains!). Set a comfortable temperature without drafts (68-72 degrees, though cooler is better than warmer for babies). Lastly, add ambient white noise to muffle the minor disruptions from the rest of the household.
  2. Swaddle. Babies sleep better when swaddled in their first weeks! Why? They’ve been swaddled their whole lives in the cushy, cozy environment of the womb before birth. The trick is getting a snug, secure swaddle that baby can’t easily wriggle out of. Hell hath no fury like a baby who got their arm out of a swaddle before they were really ready to wake up! Velcro and snap swaddle pods are appealing, but if your newborn is particularly tiny, they often don’t get tight enough. Stick to the tried and true large, muslin swaddle blankets and a good old fashioned baby-burrito-wrap. Check out the video demo on our YouTube channel, or let us teach you in person. Our postpartum doulas are often deemed magical when we show parents how we swaddle during a night shift! 
  3. Soothe. Babies are born with a biological need to suck for comfort and as a prevention from SIDS. Sucking actually helps them regulate their breathing! If you don’t want to or can’t nurse an infant 24/7, they’re going to have to fulfill this need elsewhere. Pacifiers are an indispensable tool in healthy newborn sleep in this regard! A well-fed infant who is steadily gaining weight can safely be offered a pacifier for sleep soothing without concern it will impact their feeding relationship. 

Don’t Try to Keep Them Up!

While at first it might seem counterintuitive, sleep begets sleep. Set a consistent nap routine as soon as you are able during the day. Overtired infants are actually harder to get to sleep. Newborns should generally not stay awake between naps more than 45 minutes to 1 hour (for more on periods of wakefulness as baby ages, see Precious Little Sleep). Watching for signs and signals your newborn is ready for rest is just as key as setting the right tone for their sleep environment. Avoiding meltdowns from exhaustion means noticing your baby’s sleep cues. Do they start to rub their eyes, ears, neck, or head? Do they give you a ‘thousand yard stare’ with half-drooping eyelids? Are they yawning repeatedly? Don’t wait for your baby to start crying to get them ready for sleep. Instead, pay attention to the signs and jump right into their sleep routine.

Sleep When Baby Sleeps??

While the old adage ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ still rings true to a point, often it’s easier said than done. Sometimes your brain just isn’t wired for rest when your baby lies down. To the best of your ability, at least practice periods of quiet when your baby naps during the day. If you can’t actually sleep, definitely don’t take that precious naptime as an opportunity to catch up on every household chore you’ve been missing. Lie down, read a book, or watch a show. On another day go sit outside in the sunshine for a bit. Take a shower. And always make sure to grab something nutritious to snack on and rehydrate. Even small periods of wakeful rest can do wonders for your outlook when a tiny baby has your schedule out of whack.

Prioritize Nighttime Sleep

When it comes to night sleep, getting your own rest becomes even more important than during the day. Your postpartum recovery and mental health depend on getting adequate rest. Even the most well-adjusted babies wake multiple times a night with needs to be met. Prioritize the help of a partner swapping off changing duties if you’re the primary feeding parent, if possible. Doulas of Baltimore can step in to give expert and compassionate care to your newborn while you sleep the night away, and without interrupting your feeding relationship or bonding experience. A professional postpartum doula or Newborn Care Specialist is there to make sure that you wake feeling as rested and refreshed as possible.

Keep the faith! Long winter nights eventually give way to sunny spring mornings. And your tiny, sleepless offspring develop into a more mature and settled creature who can tell night from day. Like the countless families who came before you and will follow in your footsteps, you will become a rested, confident parent who will grow to treasure your nighttime time with your child, whether it’s a bath, an evening stroll around the neighborhood, or the 900th reading of Goodnight Moon.

Here come the winter holidays! So you observe a gift-giving tradition? Therefore, you’ve likely felt moments of confusion and panic over what to give your loved ones. And if you’re expecting, may not know how to answer the questions from those who love you about what you’d like this year. However, if you’ve recently had a baby shower, you might feel like presents are more than you need right now. And if you would like to give holiday gifts to the new parent on your loved ones list, you may think there’s nothing left that they need. But fear not! In the seasonal spirit of giving, Doulas of Baltimore is here to give you a list of perfect solutions to your dilemma.

Ideas to consider skipping

First, we will clear some potential ideas for holiday gifts for new parents off your list. New parents are frequently short on sleep and patience. As a result, they do not appreciate toys that make loud or repetitive noises, so avoid those! While newborn clothing is easy to shop for and seems downright irresistible, chances are good that parents of infants have an ample supply already of these tiny wardrobe builders. And newborns outgrow them in a matter of weeks. For practical purposes, you can also skip over infant snow suits. And while infant sleep positioners may look like a useful and valued gift, the evidence says that many of them are unsafe and as a result should be avoided.

What’s left, then? So much good stuff! We present to you some items and services that make great holiday gifts every new parent is likely to use and value.

Holiday gifts for new parents that do make the list!

Modern diaper bag

First off, parents know that diaper bags are essential, and good ones are worth their weight in holiday gold. This backpack from TwelveLittle is packed with features and comes in style-forward unisex colors, and even has a tech pocket for a laptop for multitasking parents.

Versatile baby carrier

A good baby carrier is a must for families! Because whether you’re on the go or getting things done around home, a carrier makes all the difference. This one from Baby Tula has an innovative design that allows parents to carry baby either front or back of the body. You’ll love the quick-adjusting straps for multiple wearers. And this carrier grows with your little one. Use it up to 45 pounds!

Infant sleep monitor

Anyone who’s ever heard anyone talk about life with newborns knows that good sleep is everything. The Owlet is an ingenius baby sleep monitor that parents have raved over. It is a far cry from anything parents of previous generations could have imagined. Check it out here: Owlet.

Simple white noise machine

Since good sleep is always a priority for new parents, white noise machines have been increasingly popular. Families love them for their sleep-assisting properties. And this one from HoMedics is a solid, affordable choice, perfect for families traveling over the holidays. 

Lasting, quality clothing

If, above all, you cannot resist the allure of buying clothing for that adorable baby, look for high-quality design and comfortable fabrics. Also buy in larger sizes that they can grow into. Therefore, check out Hanna Andersson which is a Swedish company that uses organic cotton in many of its products. They design their clothing in European sizing that allows for growth. If you buy a size 70 now would mean baby could wear the clothing next spring and summer. 

Toy subscription box

Since it takes some research off their plate, busy parents appreciate a subscription box arriving at the door with no planning or errand running involved. LovEvery provides kits packed with developmentally sound toys and products for growing babies, and the kits are backed by a line-up of impressive endorsements  

Best support money can buy

Another winning option for holiday gifts every new parent could use is a package of in-home postpartum doula services. A postpartum doula provides a range of services to help ease families into a happy and healthy new life together. Whether lending a hand to set up the nursery or sharing expertise for childbirth recovery, your doula is there for you! From infant feeding and sleep habits to assistance with older sibling care and light household tasks – our team of postpartum professionals and newborn care specialists from Doulas of Baltimore is here to help. To make it easy, we provide gift certificates for family and friends to purchase. Add it to your baby registry or holiday wishlist!

Happy shopping, and happy holidays!


On any given day, of any given year, in Baltimore, Maryland a 7 pound newborn baby can bring the most educated, successful adults to their knees. Read more