Tips to Understand and Regulate the Circadian Rhythm in Newborns
The life of a newborn, both the mother and the baby is a blissful challenging journey! There is newness and adventure in every step. And one most talked about and intriguing topic is the ‘Famous’ sleep pattern in newborns. And while I was an insomniac all my pregnancy, ‘sleep’ is definitely a sacred gem (and still sought after) for me and my baby. And after elaborate readings and discussions with my paediatrician and my hands on everyday experiences, I have penned a few points which would ease the understanding of new parents a little, because, a little help serves wonders in the life of a newborn, yet again, both the parent and the baby.
So what is the much talked about term, the Circadian rhythm?
The growth and development of a baby continues postnatally, and is very crucial. The exact Oxford dictionary definition of Circadian rhythm is a biological cycle that repeats about every 24 hours and includes periods of wake and sleep, activity and rest, hunger and eating, and oscillations in hormone release and body temperature. These cycles must be in sync to experience a sense of well-being and balance during the day.
The circadian rhythm of newborns—more specifically the change in sleep and wakefulness, differ from those experienced by the adults. And this is exactly the reason which causes the newborn to sleep for 3 to 4 hours and then wake up, following the same pattern for the entire day while making adults fall asleep at night for a longer stretch of 7 to 8 hours.
And this mismatch of patterns for both the newborn and the parent is a really challenging and most ‘GOOGLED’ question ever!!
And also, the world in the womb and the world outside are way too different for the newborn but these little rock stars just rely on their parents to find the right comfort. So here are some of my tried and tested points for the new parents to help their newborns get in sync with the natural circadian rhythm.
Exposure to Sunlight:
This is a sure shot tool and a very beneficial one for the babies. While sunlight is the main source of Vitamin D, which is a key factor to reduce the chances of neonatal jaundice, exposing the babies to natural light first thing in the morning helps a lot to make them aware about the concept of day and night. As my baby woke up in the morning hours, I made sure my husband took her to our terrace garden and gave her a good sunlight exposure, while making her hear our favourite ‘Siddhivinayak Aarti’ and Hanuman Chalisa Shlokas; the one ritual we have always practised as a family. It was a treat to the eyes to watch them relax and surely made my morning!
Practice a daily routine
While this is a nearly far called thought, at least a try in this direction shall work wonders and you can really trust me on this. Being the strongest believer of consistent routines and also of the fact that the secret of your amazing future is hidden in your daily routine, I definitely swore by this point. I tried to maintain the timings of my baby’s massage, bath time etc. Singing to her during the morning massage and chanting hymns to her during bath was also a part of my everyday routine. Additionally an evening stroll to give her exposure to the outside environment and a night massage on a particular time helped a lot.
Talk, talk and talk to your baby……..Connection = Communication
It's so important to talk to your baby and help it understand the concept of day and night. And this is surely my favourite bonding tool with my baby. I made sure I greeted my baby with so much love in the morning, spoke to her during the feeds, tried to speak to her about everything going around and also spoke a little story and prayer to her during the night-time. Babies really respond so well to this and they love being addressed, so this is the best tool to introduce to them the concept of sleep and wakefulness. And oh, there was a reward she gave me while singing to her….a precious bright smile, so soothing and satisfying.
We moms live for it………………don’t we?
Massages are magical
I am a firm believer of the superpower of a healing touch! And massages are definitely so powerful and rejuvenating. Right from the day we took our baby home, the morning-time before bath oil massage and the night-time before bed cream massage has been a ritual in our everyday routine. My morning ‘oil malish’ to my baby includes a lot of affirmations and singing. The night time malish includes dictation of the special events that happened during the day, stories and prayers. I make sure I tell my baby the terms to help her understand the concept of day and night by using words like beautiful Sun shining bright , stars twinkling in the dark sky at night, followed by warm good night cuddles and kisses.
The connection is so divine and I am sure the energy flow to my baby is abundant during this time.
So dear new parents, make an attempt to adopt these and incorporate in your daily routines and ya…till then Happy rotating your night duties!!
Esha Bhavin Shah is a Pharmacy Academician by profession, Neurolinguistic Programming Practitioner & Trainer by passion (Corporate & Academia), PhD Research Scholar, Blogger & Content Writer and kinaesthetic performer by heart!
Mama Q (Mother to Qaynaat)
Mother to my baby blog #lettingtheinnerinkFLOW
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.