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Training Your Sleep Pattern to Match a New Baby

The end of your second trimester is when it’s time to really start getting ready for a newborn. Most women find it difficult to sleep, but you can use that to your advantage. This is an optimal time to start alleviating some stress by working on changing your sleeping pattern to match your babies. As you approach your due date, you’ll also notice higher levels of fatigue, which is just one more reason that it’s a great time to start sleeping like a baby. But your work doesn’t stop there, after your baby is born setting up a sleep cycle is crucial for their development and your sanity. 

Before Birth 

Take More Naps
 
Experts suggest parents follow a newborn sleep pattern to promote healthier sleep patterns in the child later in life. This doesn't mean that you have to go to sleep every time your baby does, but it’s definitely a good idea to take advantage of daytime naps during the first few weeks and months. To get ready to sleep when your baby sleeps, start establishing your own nap pattern to help get enough rest while still accomplishing daily tasks. 
 
Finding the Right Time at Night
 
Some babies notice when their pregnant mom falls asleep at night. The decrease in your activity can register as a time for the baby to drift off too (unfortunately, not every baby takes the hint, and you may notice 2 a.m. parties in your uterus). As your baby starts developing a sleeping pattern within the womb, you may start to notice when she/he quiets down for a few hours. Establishing a night time routine that quiets a developing baby may help prepare them for a similar sleeping pattern once you get home from the hospital. 

After Birth 

Establish the Right Time to Wake Up
 
The first few weeks of your newborn's life make it very challenging to get adequate rest. Your baby is relying on you to help him/her figure out when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. Establishing a wake up time can help you get rest while your newborn figures out their own sleeping pattern. This will allow you to do more and rest more, remaining healthy and in the best condition to care for your new baby.
 
Keep A Regular Schedule
 
For some babies, sleep is easy. The first few weeks will be a whirlwind repetition of pooping, eating, and sleeping. Since you’ll still be recovering, use this pattern to track and stabilize your baby’s feeding and sleep time. Establishing a regular schedule early on can help with your rest and their overall well-being. 
 
For other babies, sleep seems like an unnecessary activity that gets in the way of exploring the world. Set boundaries early -- like putting your baby to bed in their bassinet, rather than in bed with you. It may take as long as the entire first year to really figure out how you can both get enough sleep, so be patient. Until then, enjoy your daytime naps and the sleepy little face on your shoulder.