When you enter into parenthood there are a lot of unknowns and most of the questions you have will only arise once you are deep in that newborn bubble. We could talk about how each baby is different – but that’s nothing new! We already know that they will come out with their own little personalities and for some, more specific needs when it comes to their health and care.
During those first few weeks of meeting your baby, you will spend your days feeding and sleeping on repeat. They don’t need all that much! It’s when they start to get older and more aware, that you will start to see a pattern forming. This is where it can be extremely helpful in understanding how their daily rhythm might flow and how to support them when they need it. There is a huge misconception around the fact that helping your baby to sleep means crying it out! That’s certainly not what we are going to talk about here.
Mothercraft Nurse, Chris Minogue has spent her entire career working with thousands of babies and families. There is one common factor that comes up and that’s usually elating to sleep! The most important thing to note here, is that sleep goes hand in hand with feeding in those early days, so getting the right balance between the too is so important.
What is a Daily Rhythm?
Babies change a lot (especially in those early weeks or months), so you might think you’ve got a handle on things but before you know it, something changes. By having a guide it means the whole family are being consistent with your little one’s care and you will be prepared for when something changes. It also means your little one has consistency in their day – which they absolutely thrive off!
Over the course of her 35 years experience, Chris has developed a series of Daily Rhythm’s to support families as they navigate through each developmental stage. These outline how many milk feeds they require in a day, how long they can stay awake for developmentally (a game changes for sleep!) and when to introduce solid food into the mix. It will also help you to plan your day around sleep! As your baby gets older, this is so helpful as you will understand which ‘naps’ you could be out and about for and which ‘sleeps’ are best to have in their bed.
How does it help with sleep?
Sleep is important for growth and the Daily Rhythms will guide you through the amount of sleep your baby needs based on their age. Getting the right amount of sleep during the day will help with better sleep overall. Putting your baby down for sleep at the suggested timings (based on their ideal ‘awake’ windows), will ensure they are not overtired which can make it more difficult for settling and getting long periods of sleep.
During certain development stages, your baby will start waking up after a 45 minute sleep cycle and will have trouble resettling by themselves. This is often due to a new alertness, and typically falls around the 3-4 month mark. This is an important time to help your baby learn to resettle themselves. Again, this is not about getting your baby to ‘cry it out’, it’s about helping them to resettle through a reassuring and comforting approach whilst also giving them a chance to learn out to do it themselves.
It can be stressful trying to resettle a baby that may be hungry, overtired or simply just needing a catnap – hence why having a consistent guide is so helpful.
How do I use my Daily Rhythm?
From around 12 weeks, you will notice your baby’s Daily Rhythm starts at 6am. It’s important to know that this doesn’t mean they need to be awake at 6am, it’s more to give you a starting point. Generally babies wake somewhere between 6-7am, so adjust their daily rhythm from the time of waking. You might also ask what to do if they want to sleep past 7am, and that’s ok! But just know that any later timings may have your babies night sleep falling quite late. It is therefore a good idea to get them into a nice rhythm early on, so sometimes this may mean waking them at 7am or so to start their day.
As your baby gets older, the changes in rhythm become less frequent. Before you know it, you will know their day like the back of your hand and will enjoy a happier baby as the result of consistency in their day.
Things to Remember
Don’t think of Daily Rhythms as rigid timings but rather a guide to the length of time between feeds and your baby’s sleep cycles. Share this guide with anyone who is responsible for your baby’s care. be sure to stay update and know when it is due to change – as this can help you through any changes to sleep patterns. We know that life is busy and there will be times where you can’t take that afternoon sleep in a bed, so if anything the Daily Rhythm will help you to understand how to get things back on track if things go pear-shaped.
How do I access my Daily Rhythms?
You will get access to your baby’s Daily Rhythm with each development video in the Chris Minogue Expert Series. Alternatively, you can access these via the Kiindred App along with many other helpful tips and tricks from Chris Minogue. Check out the FREE Kiindred App here.