I think it’s a good idea to start implementing some babywise principles from day 1. Doing this makes getting baby on a schedule later so much easier because some major elements of sleep training are already in place. Honestly, I’m not super hardcore about it in the early newborn days (like the first 2-3 weeks). They’re just so tiny and they grow up so fast that I kind of throw the rules out the window and just enjoy my baby. But there are a few things that I do to get us off to a good start.
I implement the eat/wake/sleep cycle right from the beginning. As soon as baby wakes up, I feed her. Then I try to get a few minutes of awake time out of her. Even just a couple minutes is great! What I try to avoid is nursing to sleep so she doesn’t get used to that.
Wake to Eat
For the first few weeks I feed the baby on demand. But it’s important to wake the baby up to eat at least every 3 hours if she’s not waking up before then. You need to get in at least 8 feedings a day. 8-10 feedings is normal for this age. In order to get in enough feedings, you need to feed the baby at least every 3 hours.
Each time baby eats, focus on getting in a full feeding and not letting baby fall asleep before she’s done. If baby doesn’t get a full feeding, then her nap likely won’t be as good and this will lead to snacking. Do whatever it takes to keep baby awake to finish her feeding! Tickle her feet, put a cold washcloth on her back, undress her…whatever you have to do to get that feeding in! Getting some awake time during the day will also help baby start to get her days and nights sorted out.
Consistent(ish) Sleep Conditions
While I’m all for getting baby to sleep well as early as possible, I’m also a FIRM believer in soaking up the early days as much as you can. That’s why I say consistent ISH sleep conditions – because I’m not super strict about it. If someone is over to visit and wants to hold the baby, even while baby is sleeping, I say let them. If you want to hold baby while she is sleeping, go for it. I’m not above napping with baby if I really want to. But when you do put baby down to sleep, make the sleep conditions consistent. I suggest swaddling baby and putting her in her own bed in a room with blackout curtains and a white noise machine. My favorite newborn swaddle is the SwaddleMe Pod and for a baby bed I love the Dockatot placed in a Halo Bassinest so baby can sleep by my bed.
I really think starting babywise form birth gets you on the right path to good sleep habits! I don’t think you need to be super hardcore about it, but I do think doing these few things to start laying down the foundation for a schedule is so beneficial for both you and baby.