As a Newborn Care Specialist, utilizing the 4 B’s for Newborns will help you immensely when sleep training your client’s infant. But what are the 4 B’s for Newborns, and why do they work?
The 4 B’s For Newborns and Why They Work
Newborn babies are magic. One of the best parts of being a Newborn Care Specialist is being able to spend so much time cuddling and nurturing a new baby.
But babies need structure and routine as much as they need nurturing. One of the more important aspects of your job is to help establish healthy routines for parents and their newborns. And the best way to establish a healthy bedtime routine is with the 4 B’s for newborns.
What Are the 4 B’s for Newborns?
The 4 B’s stand for Bath, Book, Bottle or Breast, and Bed. Used together, they provide a valuable routine to signal to your client’s newborn that it is time for sleep.
- Bath – Bathing in warm water is relaxing to people of any age. Beginning an infant’s bedtime routine with a warm bath makes the baby feel nurtured and soothed, and encourages drowsiness. The purpose of this bath is relaxation rather than cleanliness, so it’s fine to forgo the soap, especially if the infant has dry skin.
- Book – Once the baby is fresh, dry, and changed for bed, cuddle the infant close for some reading time. One to three age-appropriate books are recommended. Even before an infant can understand the words spoken, the soothing cadence of your voice is another important signal that it is time for sleep.
- Bottle or Breast – After (or during) reading time, give the newborn a bedtime feeding with bottle or breast. Even if the infant ate an hour ago, this bedtime feeding is a strong signal that it is time to sleep and it will allow the infant to “top off.” In fact, newborn babies will often begin to fall asleep while feeding.
- Bed – Lay the drowsy infant in their bed in a darkened room. Stay for a few minutes, if necessary, quietly soothing the newborn as they fall asleep.
It may take a little time for the routine to become established. But with repetition and patience, you’ll soon find that your client’s newborn slips off to sleep more easily each evening.
Why Routines Work
Children thrive on routines. Predictability and structure give them a sense of comfort and security. Infants are no exception, even newborns. An established bedtime routine calms and soothes your client’s baby. It signals to their minds that it is time to relax and prepare for sleep. It even communicates to their body that it is time to release sleep-inducing hormones.
Helpful Tips For Peaceful Sleep
As you begin utilizing the 4 B’s for Newborns as a bedtime routine, it is helpful to keep the following tips in mind.
- Establish Routines Early – The sooner you begin following the same steps each night as you prepare the infant for sleep, the sooner the newborn will respond
- Place Baby to Sleep When Drowsy – Make sure the infant is drowsy when laying them down. If the newborn is too awake or unsettled, they may become distressed and cry. A pattern of crying and distress at bedtime can lead to sleep problems, the very opposite of what you are looking to achieve.
- Create a Peaceful Environment – As you guide your client’s infant through their bedtime routine, make sure your environment is calm, relaxing, and conducive to sleep. White noise or gentle, quiet music, a darkened room, and soothing voices are all helpful in providing a peaceful environment.
- Be Consistent – Establishing a bedtime routine requires consistency and patience. It may take a while for the newborn to catch on. Even when the routine seems established, there will be nights when things go wrong. Don’t lose faith and don’t give up.
Instilling healthy sleep patterns in the newborn babies in your charge is an important part of your job as a Newborn Care Specialist. By using the 4 B’s for Newborns, you will give young babies and their parents all the tools they need to ensure happy bedtime routines throughout their lives.