Newborn Growth: What To Expect
After an initial post-birth drop in weight, expect your newborn to settle into a feeding routine. Theyll gain back the weight, and most babies grow steadily from then onward.
You can monitor your babys growth progress by keeping track of their feedings and dirty diapers. Your pediatrician will also weigh them at each checkup.
Over 24 hours, most babies need approximately 25 ounces of breast milk. That volume will stay fairly constant for the first six months of life, except during growth spurts. You should see your babys weight increase, while the number of feedings per day will decrease. Theyll get stronger, and their stomach will get bigger.
Formula-fed babies have a slower rate of feeding than breast-fed babies. They stay full longer, so theyll feed less often.
What Are The Sleep Patterns Of A Newborn
The average newborn sleeps much of the day and night, waking only for feedings every few hours. It is often hard for new parents to know how long and how often a newborn should sleep. Unfortunately, there is no set schedule at first and many newborns have their days and nights confused?they think they are supposed to be awake at night and sleep during the day.
Generally, newborns sleep about 8 to 9 hours in the daytime and about 8 hours at night. Most babies do not begin sleeping through the night without waking until at least 3 months of age, or until they weigh 12 to 13 pounds. However, this varies considerably and some babies do not sleep through the night until closer to 1 year. Newborns and young infants have a small stomach and must wake every few hours to eat. In most cases, your baby will awaken and be ready to eat about every 3 hours. How often your baby will eat depends on what he or she is being fed and his or her age. Make sure you talk with your doctor to determine if it is necessary to wake a baby for feedings.
Watch for changes in your baby’s sleep pattern. If your baby has been sleeping consistently, and suddenly is waking, there may be a problem such as an ear infection. Some sleep disturbances are simply due to changes in development or because of overstimulation.
Never put a baby to bed with a bottle propped for feeding. This is a dangerous practice that can lead to ear infections and choking.
How Do Sleep Cycles Progress As A Baby Grows
A newborn babys sleep cycle falls into the two categories of REM/active and NREM/quiet. In the first few months of life, babies sleep is split nearly evenly between REM and NREM sleep stages. As a baby grows, their sleep cycles progress and they begin to spend less time in REM sleep. They also begin experiencing the three stages of NREM, instead of one. As a baby grows, their sleep cycle looks more and more like an adults sleep cycle.
Understanding a babys sleep cycle is important for parents interested in sleep training. Because babies are not born with a strong circadian rhythm, sleep training is not possible for most newborns. Parents who want to sleep train have to work with their babys unique development timeline, and might not be able to sleep train until six months of age.
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What To Do If Your Baby Seems Lethargic
If your baby is lethargic, excessively sleepy, or appears to have no energy, they might seem drowsy, sluggish, or cranky, even when theyre awake. Or, they might not respond much when you try to wake them.
A lethargic baby may not seem interested in feeding or seem too tired to feed. This can sometimes indicate illness or inadequate milk transfer.
Causes of lethargy in newborns may include:
Babies can be lethargic for a number of reasons, some more serious than others. Let your doctor know right away if your baby seems sleepier, irritable, or less alert than normal.
How Can I Tell If A Newborn Is Sleeping Too Much
A baby occasionally sleeping for longer than usual is not a cause for concern unless there are other symptoms.
In general, it is uncommon for a newborn to consistently sleep through feedings or to sleep for longer than 19 hours per day unless they are ill or are having feeding difficulties.
Some of the most common reasons that healthy babies sleep for longer than usual include the following:
- They may experience a growth spurt or developmental leap.
- They may have a minor illness, such as a cold.
- They may have a serious infection. This is rare, but it can happen. A newborn might not have a fever or other symptoms of illness like an older baby might.
- In very rare instances, a baby may have another medical condition that causes them to sleep too much. Breathing and heart disorders may affect sleep, and premature babies often have different sleep patterns from full-term infants.
- Some babies sleep too much because they have jaundice. A newborn who has jaundice will have a yellow color to their skin and a yellow cast to the whites of their eyes. Other symptoms of more severe jaundice include being lethargic, having difficulty eating, and being fussy or irritable.
- Sometimes, babies may sleep too much because they are not getting enough to eat. They may get dehydrated, lose too much weight, and even experience a failure to thrive.
However, in the early stages especially for first-time parents the signs of a potential problem may be easy to miss.
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How To Keep A Newborn Awake During Feedings
Suckling is a surefire sleep inducer, so make sure your baby doesn’t nod off mid-feeding. Look for the rhythmic suck-swallow-breath pattern in his cheek, jaw and ear to determine if he’s still extracting milk.
If he does doze off, try rousing him again by burping and repositioning him, dribbling some milk on his lips or even jiggling your breast or the bottle in his mouth to start him feeding again.
Rest assured that by about week 6, the two of you will have settled into a regular eating and sleeping rhythm although exactly what that is will again depend entirely on your baby’s unique needs. Some babies will want to nurse every two hours like clockwork, while others will happily go for three to four hours between meals. Formula-fed babies may also vary in their feeding and sleeping schedules.
Know, too, that the period between feedings will gradually increase as your child grows. By 6 months of age, your baby is developmentally ready to start sleeping through the night or at least for longer stretches.
Trust Your Instincts And Get Help When You Feel Stressed
If something feels wrong with you or the baby, talk to your physician. And remember that your own mental health is crucial.
Coping with sleep deprivation is very stressful, especially if your infant opens in a new windowseems to be especially fussy or prone to crying. Watch for signs of opens in a new windowpostpartum stress and opens in a new windowpostpartum depression, and reach out to others for support.
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Regular Naps Help Prevent Overtiredness
Its important to start implementing naps at an early age. A nap can be as simple as a feeding formula. A 10-month-old is a prime candidate for naps. Overtired babies are likely to have elevated stress hormones and struggle to sleep. Theyre also active, super alert, and very focused on social cues. A regular nap helps them stay alert and on schedule.
The transition from three naps to two stretches should be gradual. At first, offer the middle nap first, and then the first nap at bedtime. Depending on your babys nap schedule and wake-up time, you can even switch between a two and three-nap day. During this time, be sure to offer your baby an extra catnap.
How Much Sleep Do Premature Babies Need
Babies that are born prematurely often need even more sleep than babies born at full term. It is not uncommon for premature babies to spend around 90% of their time asleep. The exact amount that a preterm newborn will sleep can depend on how premature they were born and their overall health.
Over the course of the first 12 months, preemies sleep patterns come to resemble those of full-term infants, but in the meantime, they often have more total sleep, lighter sleep, and less consistent sleep overall.
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Safety First: Lower Sids Risk
Every time you put your baby down to sleep, whether it’s at night or for a nap during the day, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you do the following to lower the chances of SIDS :
- Always put your baby down to sleep on their back.
- Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
- If you baby falls asleep in a stroller car seat or swing, try to remove them and lay them down on a flat surface.
- Your baby should sleep in the same room as you, but not in the same bed as you.
- Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and bumper pads.
- Dont rely on devices which claim to prevent SIDS.
- Do not use wedges and positioners.
- Offer your baby a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
- Avoid covering your baby’s head or overheating.
- Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Make sure your baby gets all recommended vaccinations.
- Get some skin-to-skin contact time with them.
- Give your baby supervised, awake tummy time every day.
- Don’t smoke.
- Breastfeedyour baby.
- If you are tired, dont breastfeed while in a chair or on a couch in case you fall asleep.
- If you’re pregnant, get regular prenatal care.
How Can You Help Your Baby Fall Asleep
Not all babies know how to put themselves to sleep. When it is time for bed, many parents want to rock or breastfeed a baby to sleep. Establishing a routine at bedtime is a good idea. However, be sure that the baby does not fall asleep while eating or in your arms. This may become a pattern and the baby may begin to expect to be in your arms in order to fall asleep. When the baby briefly awakens during a sleep cycle, he or she may not be able to go back to sleep on his or her own.
Most experts recommend allowing a baby to become sleepy in your arms, then placing him or her in the bed while still awake. This way the baby learns how to go to sleep on his own. Playing soft music while your baby is getting sleepy is also a good way to help establish a bedtime routine.
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Establishing A Baby Bedtime Routine
You may feel ready to introduce a bedtime routine when your baby is around 3 months old. Getting them into a simple, soothing bedtime routine can be helpful for everyone and help prevent sleeping problems later on. It’s also a great opportunity to have one-to-one time with your baby.
The routine could consist of:
- having a bath
- changing into night clothes and a fresh nappy
- putting them to bed
- dimming the lights in the room to create a calm atmosphere
- giving a goodnight kiss and cuddle
- singing a lullaby or having a wind-up musical mobile you can turn on when you’ve put your baby to bed
- brushing their teeth
As your child gets older, it can be helpful to keep to a similar bedtime routine. Too much excitement and stimulation just before bedtime can wake your child up again. Spend some time winding down and doing some calmer activities, like reading.
The Ultimate Newborn Sleep Schedule: Week By Week
Youve come to the right place for your newborn sleep schedule and sleep patterns. I will help teach you how to get your baby on a schedule, how much time in bed is actually needed, and day and nighttime solutions.
When I was pregnant with my firstborn I hadnt babysat a child more than once or twice.
Much less a baby.
Much less a newborn that was as small as my forearm and was always hungry.
I read what I could, studied what I found, and now as a mom of 5 can safely say getting your newborn to sleep well is totally possible.
Ill show you how.
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Will Your Newborn Be Able To Sleep Through The Night
No, newborns canât yet sleep through the night. They need to be fed every few hours, and typically sleep for short blocks of time.Generally speaking, a newborn may be considered to be a âgood sleeperâ if she is able to go back to sleep by herself, without soothing from a parent, when she wakes in the night if she settles down quickly after being fed or changed or if a quick moment of comfort from a parent is all it takes for her to fall back asleep. Some babies can self-soothe instinctively while others will need a little help to learn how. Remember, for a newborn, being a âgood sleeperâ doesn’t mean not waking up rather it means being able to return to sleep after a period of wakefulness. Know that it may take some time for your baby to learn how to self-soothe, and even once he does there may be some ups and downs throughout babyhood, toddlerhood, and beyond.
What Sleeping Positions Are Best For A Newborn
Research has found a link between sudden infant death syndrome and babies who sleep on their stomach .
Experts now agree that putting a baby to sleep or down for a nap on his or her back is the safest position. Side-sleeping has a higher risk for SIDS than back sleeping. Other reports have found soft surfaces, loose bedding, and overheating with too many blankets also increase the risk for SIDS. When infants are put to sleep on their stomach and they also sleep on soft bedding, the risk for SIDS is even higher. Smoking by the mother is also a risk for SIDS, as are poor prenatal care and prematurity. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics made the “back-to-sleep” recommendation in 1992, the SIDS rate has dropped more than 50%.
Back sleeping also appears to be safer for other reasons. There is no evidence that babies are more likely to vomit or spit up while sleeping on their back. In fact, choking may be more likely in the prone position.
A task force of The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the AAP, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development offer the following recommendations for infant bedding:
The AAP recommends that parents room share but not bed share. The report advises the following:
To prevent overheating, the report recommends that the infant should be lightly clothed for sleep and the room temperature kept comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Avoid overbundling, and check the baby’s skin to make sure it is not hot to the touch.
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