Congratulations on the birth of your new beautiful baby. This is an exciting time in your life and also a potentially sleep-deprived time. Newborn sleep patterns vary greatly from older babies or toddlers. This is part one of Baby Patent’s sleep series. You will learn about your baby’s changing sleep patterns and this will assist you to have realistic expectations.
Newborn babies sleep a lot, you will find it hard to wake your sleeping newborn, they will sleep a maximum of 3-4 hours at a time, day or night. This can make the newborn phase a little challenging as you won’t be getting the uninterrupted sleep you have become accustomed to in your pre-baby life! Their tiny tummies and 100% liquid diet digests quickly, this means your precious baby will need to eat every two-four hours and sometimes more.
Sleeping Through The Night
There are thousands, maybe millions of books written on the topic of baby sleep and many so-called guru’s. They are willing to take your money with the promise of helping you get your baby to sleep through the night. The question you need to ask is, – What is sleeping through the night? Well, the answer is not what you may expect as for a newborn the health professionals refer to sleeping through the night when your baby begins to sleep 5 or more hours. This is related to a baby’s weight and will be affected by any other health concerns. The reality is that your baby will potentially not sleep a full night until around the first birthday.
A sleep association is any act or comfort item your baby needs to fall asleep. Most newborns fall asleep while feeding on the breast or bottle. Many parents also introduce a comfort blanket or cuddly toy at this stage. The important thing to try to achieve during the first few months is to remove the association when the baby is sleepy but not completely asleep. This means your baby will fall asleep without the breast bottle or pacifier in their mouth. It is not an easy task but if you manage to remove a sleep association at an early stage it will be much easier for your baby to drift off to sleep and stay asleep throughout the night as they grow.
Health professionals all over the world, advise that newborn babies should not sleep longer than 4 hours at night without feeding and most wake up more often than that! One of the key learning points is that newborn babies make lots of sleeping sounds including grunts, whimpers, and even little cries. These noises don’t always require you to rush to pick your baby up and offer food. Take a moment to listen and check-in to see if your baby is actually still sleeping. If she/he is awake it is best to feed her as quickly as possible as this will help her/him fall back to sleep easily after the feed.
Telling Night From Day
A newborn sleeps as much as 16-18 hours every day, with several naps during the day and night. You can help your baby begin to sleep longer stretches at night by changing the environment between day and night time.
During the daytime:
- Keep the room light and bright
- Don’t try to cut out daytime noises, such as the phone, TV, or general chatter from family and friends.
- Wake your baby gently if he/she is falling asleep during a feed.
- Remain quiet and subdued during nighttime feeds
- Keep the lights low
- Try not to talk loudly to your baby
- Use a nighttime routine, including bathing, massage, and softer pajamas