As a first time mother, the thought of parenting can be very exciting but very daunting all at the same time. You get all prepared for your baby and the birth but not much advice or support is given once your baby is born. The hospital or midwife passes over your baby and wishes you well. This moment can be exciting and also a bit confronting.

What you need to believe is that your instincts are pretty on point. Mother’s intuition is real and it is important to listen to it. However, it is equally important to know when to ask for help. Here are some great tips on how to soothe your newborn to sleep.

A bedtime routine is essential for helping your baby wind down and get ready for a peaceful night’s sleep. Without a structured bedtime routine, it can be difficult for babies to transition from a day of playtime to a restful night’s sleep. This can result in babies feeling restless and irritable, and you as the parent are left exhausted. Creating a consistent and calming bedtime routine can help signal to your little one that it’s time to relax and get ready for bed.

A common misconception is how different newborn sleep is to baby sleep. Did you know that newborns do not need to go to sleep at 7 pm? At 7 pm your baby could be in the middle of the witching hour. Witching hour is real and it is true that it lasts more than an hour. Witching hour is a period of time your baby becomes very fussy and usually only calms with contact napping and cluster feeding. It can last a few hours and then bedtime occurs between 9 -10 pm. Your baby is filling their energy cup as they may be overtired or overstimulated. This is all normal. So my advice is to settle in with snacks and some great TV shows or books and attend to your baby as he/she requires. Your baby will want to be close to you so if you are busy at this time baby wearing is a great option or bring your baby to your chest and allow them to nap there while you supervise their sleep.

The cluster feeding is not a reflection on your milk supply being low. Your baby is likely using feeding for comfort and this can help them move through the witching hour faster. This is a good time to call on your village for some hands-on support.

For your baby to sleep it is ideal to set the scene.

Create a great sleeping environment that promotes sleep for your baby. This could include:

  • White noise set at 50-60 decibels positioned one metre away from your baby– you can download a free decibel reading app to measure the levels. White noise is a great tool to use which will help block out surrounding noise that may wake your child.
  • A dark environment helps the melatonin (sleep hormone) levels to remain high which will encourage longer sleeping times. Aim for 80% darkness, it should be hard to see your own hand in front of your face.
  • If you have a newborn try swaddling your baby – I have a great video demonstrating how to do this on my Instagram page here Otherwise for babies from 4 months onwards sleeping bags with arms out is a great option. Keep in mind that babies that are now rolling or attempting to roll must have their arms out as they can become trapped on their bellies if they roll over.
  • Try to have a temperature controlled environment around 18 – 21 degrees which is ideal for sleep. However if this is hard to maintain then aim to dress your baby appropriately for the temperature in the room.
  • Have a safe sleep environment: place your baby on their back for sleep at the end of the bed with any blankets tucked in. No fluffy blankets or cot bumpers in place. No toys or comforters until they are over 7- 12 months of age. The house is a smoke free environment. It is ideal for your baby to sleep in the same room as their mother until at least 6 months of age if not longer. Breastfeeding is recommended for a minimum of 6 months. These are all measures to reduce the risk of SUDI/ SIDS.

Whether it’s a soothing bath, a bedtime story, or a lullaby, these activities can help your baby’s mind unwind and promote better sleep. So why not give it a try? Experiment with different activities and find what works best for your baby and your family. You may be surprised at how much of a difference a bedtime routine can make for everyone’s sleep quality.

Hi I’m Colette, a registered nurse who lives in South Western Sydney with my family and I own The Mama Coach – Colette Payne. For the past 18 years, I’ve worked as a neonatal nurse caring for premature and newborn infants requiring surgery and intensive care. I spent nearly a decade as a Clinical Nurse Educator, teaching fellow nurses how to be a neonatal nurse. It has been an extremely rewarding career. I am a mother to 2 young sons however my journey as a mother has not been easy. I faced the challenges of infertility and IVF, complicated pregnancies, which resulted in a premature birth for my first and Pre-Eclampsia for my second. My second son was born at the start of the COVID pandemic resulting in the isolation many suffered through being separated from my support network. I thoroughly understand both how hard parenting can be, and also the beautiful miracle it is.
This has led me to become The Mama Coach, supporting parents with lactation and parenting education.

Do you have support at home and what does that look like? It’s great if you are surrounded by family, but are they all working? This is something to look at in your life.
This was one of the main reasons why I became The Mama Coach. Mothers do not need to suffer through feeding or sleep concerns. It is OK to ask for help. I remember thinking when I was on maternity leave (struggling due to being unwell and my poor baby had severe reflux) that I wasn’t allowed to ask for help because I was being paid to be on maternity leave therefore this was my job. So I just continued to struggle through, resulting in developing postnatal anxiety. This is not necessary. So please take from this that you can reach out for help and support from a friend, family or neighbours

Our culture has changed dramatically for mothers and most families have lost their
village, those people that would have been living nearby to help you. So mothers end up
feeling isolated at home and not sure who to ask.

Most of my clients that I supported are those seeking help for sleep, newborn or breastfeeding support. The ages of my clients have ranges from 4 weeks old to 3 years old however the majority are those between 3- 6 months of age. This can be a tricky age because a lot of development is occurring for the baby which leads to disruption in their sleep. I understand how important sleep is. If you do not have it, it is really hard to function as a mother during the day, night, weeks or even months. The interesting thing is most of my clients may book me in for a sleep consult but the cause never ends up only being sleep related. In most cases, it is a feeding issue that could be leading to the sleep deprivation.
Part of my sleep consults for all babies under 6 months I will do a feeding assessment to rule out any feeding issues. To know that all the babies I have met are now sleeping again or feeding well again (or both) is amazing. What I love about being The Mama Coach is that I can provide support to
families as a whole. I look not just at sleep concerns but feeding support – whether it is
breast or bottle feeding, support you through the care of your newborn, prenatal and
starting solids classes and even toilet training support.
I can be your go to expert from pregnancy right through to toddlers who do not like sleeping.
I am always happy for you to send me an email if you just want to have a chat with me
about any concerns that have arisen.

One time offer: 30% off all Newborn/ Feeding/ and Sleep Consults with The Mama Coach.
If you are pregnant or just had a baby and you would love support with your newborn? Are you finding breastfeeding difficult and love get advice? Do you have a baby who has just hit the 4 or 6 month sleep regression and you are not too sure what to do? Do you have a toddler who is allergic to sleep? You are in luck. As you are part of the Camden Mums Hub you have access to this amazing offer.

Written by Colette Payne. Visit The Mama Coach to view her range of services here: