You’re overwhelmed by how much you have to teach your newborn, but helping him tell the difference between night and day is simpler than you think – and will mean more sleep for you both
Your baby is finally here and you want to enjoy every minute of him – but you also want him to be awake at the correct times of day. It’s hard for babies to understand the difference between night and day as the body clock still has to kick in.
You can easily help him learn, though. It’s all about differentiating between night and day and can happen from just a few weeks old. Whilst it’s not possible to establish a routine when your baby is this young, there are things you can do to separate day and night activities.
It’s hard for babies to understand the difference between night and day as his body clock has yet kick in
Absorb natural light
Take your baby outside at least once a day to see the light of day and to feel the fresh air on his skin. If you’re having one of those days where leaving the house seems like the biggest task imaginable, just make sure there are lots of bright lights on or the windows are open with light filling the room.
Act differently night and day
Try using different types of interaction for night and day to create clear distinctions between the two for your baby. At night time, you can use blackout blinds to make sure the room remains dark and keep noise to a minimum, so you have a calming, quiet atmosphere.
‘When your baby wakes for a feed at night, dim the lights or use a side lamp to keep the room dark and if you have to speak, use hushed tones,’ says Child Sleep Work’s founder, Maryanne Taylor. ‘It’s also best to avoid changing your baby’s nappy unless necessary, and if you do so stick to the same rules - dim lights and little to no talking.’
During the day, don’t worry about clattering around – carry on with your activities as your baby sleeps. ‘You baby needs to get used to sleeping despite noise, light and commotion around him,’ says Maryanne. The last thing you need is a light sleeper!
Start a routine
While a full routine shouldn’t be used yet, there’s nothing wrong with some consistent bedtime habits. ‘Although a baby can’t understand a routine, he’ll love predictability,’ Maryanne says. ‘Before he sleeps, change his clothes and maybe give him a bath to soothe him and show that the day’s activities are over and it’s time for the night to start.’