How To Help Newborn Switch Days And Nights

Fill Up During The Day

How To Change A Sleeping Baby And Not Wake Them Up | Night Time Diaper Tips

Offer your baby regular feeds during the day every 3 hours or less even if it means waking her up. Some babies will naturally do a 4 hour sleep stretch somewhere in a 24 hour period, just dont let her do it during the day!

You can gently wake your baby by picking her up, unswaddling her , or removing some of her clothing, stroking or tickling her arms and legs, or go straight to changing her diaper. Shell still need to feed during the night but hopefully shell start to stretch out her feeds when its dark

When thinking about the day you may realize that times between feedings were stretched out to accommodate a busier schedule, or that your baby was distracted and didnt ask for milk as often. This is one reason why newborns wake up at night.

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Hole Up In Your House

You shouldnt force baby to stay awake during the day, but you shouldnt hole up in your house and laze the day away either.

Get outside so the baby can be exposed to fresh air and sunlight. Go on errands where there will be different stimuli to attract babys attention in the colors, lights, and sounds.

Changing the environment can also help a fussy baby stop crying.

Another benefit of getting out of the house each day is to help new moms feel like themselves again. Just the act of getting dressed and leaving the house can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. Once you have sufficiently healed from birth, get up and go do some errands or visit a friend or two!

When To Stop Changing Diapers At Night

When to Stop Changing Diapers at Night Nighttime diaper changes are necessary if your babys diapers are fully soaked or if the baby poops during the night. Eventually, the baby will stop pooping at night and will also urinate less in her sleep. In such a case, one overnight diaper will suffice, and you can stop changing diapers at night.

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Baby Has Days And Nights Mixed

Does your new baby seem to have their days and nights mixed-up? Truth is, they may be a vampire! Okay, obviously your baby is NOT a vampire, but your precious newborn and vampires do share something in common: they both sleep during the day and are up all night!

Unfortunately, your little one is born lacking the ability to differentiate between day and night. Theyre confused! They think day time is sleep time and night time is party time. As a creature of the night, your baby preys on their poor parental victims who are on a completely opposite sleep schedule, and it sucks!

Lucky for you, there are simple steps you can take to help a baby who has their days and nights mixed-up!

But first, why does it seem like your baby is on a crusade to tire the ish out of you?

Well, think about your normal routine. Typically, your pregnant self was active during the day. In that time, your baby was lulled to sleep due to constant movement. At night, you were sleeping . This lack of activity woke your baby up. Normally, this is when soon to be moms felt the most action inside their tummy.

So how can you help your Transylvanian bat bundle fix this baby day and night reversal to become a real-life person?

The good news is, the things that worked for me are easy to accommodate into your own schedule, and may just take a couple weeks or less to become routine!

Here are some simple actions you can take to assist with switching your babys day and night sleep confusion:

What Does Day/night Confusion Look Like

Five Nights at Freddy

Your Newborn will be napping really well during the day – maybe for up to three to four hours per nap – they’ll wake up for a feed, will have minimal awake time and then they’ll go back to sleep for another long stretch. Then overnight, they might be wakeful, sleeping in one to two hour chunks and feeding a lot.

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So When Do Babies Develop Mature Circadian Rhythms

Its normal for babies to take 12 weeks, or even longer.

Most infants take about 12 weeks to show day-night rhythms in the production of melatonin . Circadian changes in cortisol, a hormone that helps regulate alertness, may take even longer to emerge . And, overall, babies may take 3-5 months before they settle at nightmeaning that they sleep for more than 5 hours at a stretch .

Nevertheless, newborn sleep isnt completely divorced from the natural rhythms of the 24-hour day. Studies show that circadian rhythms begin developing in the first days after birth.

For example, German and Japanese studies have reported that newborns sleep more at night than they do during the day .

And scientific evidence suggests that even newborns are receptive to environmental cues about time. You can take advantage of this fact to help shape newborn sleep patterns.

A Note For The Pumping Mom

This is another one for those who feed expressed breast milk for your other half or another willing volunteer to feed.

Feed milk pumped in the evening at night

As mentioned earlier in this post, the levels of tryptophan, used to manufacture melatonin found in breastmilk rise at night. Drinking this tryptophan enriched milk facilitates sleep in your newborn. Therefore, it makes sense to label this milk with the time it was expressed. Then use it at a similar time to the time in which it was pumped.

So at night, feed milk pumped in the evening/at night. Then

Feed milk pumped in the day, in the day

No surprises here pumped milk will have lower levels of tryptophan, so feed this in the day.

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How To Fix Day Night Confusion Quickly

Again, its perfectly normal for babies to wake at night to feed, but you can have babies who wake only to feed and essentially sleep through the feed.

I know. Ive had 5 babies do it and you can too. You may want to use our daily baby logs to help you keep it all straight.

Read: Tips For Swaddling Baby At Night

References: What Scientific Studies Say About Newborn Sleep


Anders TF. 1979. Night-waking in infants during the first year of life. Pediatrics 63: 860-864.

Bennett C, Underdown A, and Barlow J. 2013. Massage for promoting mental and physical health in typically developing infants under the age of six months. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Apr 30 4:CD005038. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005038.pub3.

Cheruku SR, Montgomery-Downs HE, Farkas SL, Thoman EB, and Lammi-Keefe CJ. 2002. Higher maternal plasma docosahexaenoic acid during pregnancy is associated with more mature neonatal sleep-state patterning. Am J Clin Nutr 76:608-13.

Cubero J, Valero V, Sánchez J, Rivero M, Parvez H, Rodríguez AB, Barriga C. 2005. The circadian rhythm of tryptophan in breast milk affects the rhythms of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin and sleep in newborn. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 26:657-61.

Cubero J, Narciso D, Terrón P, Rial R, Esteban S, Rivero M, Parvez H, Rodríguez AB, Barriga C. 2007. Chrononutrition applied to formula milks to consolidate infants sleep/wake cycle. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 28:360-6.

Custodio RJ, Junior CE, Milani SL, Simões AL, de Castro M, Moreira AC. 2007. The emergence of the cortisol circadian rhythm in monozygotic and dizygotic twin infants: the twin-pair synchrony. Clin Endocrinol . 66:192-7.

Dement W and Vaughan C. 1999. The promise of sleep. New York: Random House.

Doan T, Gardiner A, Gay CL, Lee KA. 2007 Breast-feeding increases sleep duration of new parents. J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 21:200-6.

Image credits for Newborn sleep patterns

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Set Their Nights Up For Sleep

While you need to be flexible with newborns , you can encourage good sleep habits by implementing a basic bedtime routine at around one month oldlike a fresh diaper, pyjamas, feeding and cuddles. Keep the external stimuli to a minimum, says Jewson. This means a dark room, ideally with no visible blue light of any kind, such as from a sound machine or your smartphone. Practise this same low-stimuli approach through the night.

If youve heard of a folk remedy that says you can fix your babys day/night confusion by flipping them head over heels, dont try it. Hall says shes never seen evidence that would support that approach, and that flipping a baby vigorously could cause injury.

At Chartiers house, they followed their first-borns backwards schedule at first, but at around five months, shed had enough and introduced her baby to a bedtime routine, including a set bedtime, a bottle and a bath. It worked, and memories of too many sleepless nights caused Chartier to address her subsequent two childrens reversed sleep patterns sooner. Both kids were introduced to a bedtime routine similar to her first-borns before they hit four months. And just like with her son, her younger two babes embraced the practice within weeks of implementation and began sleeping more during the nights. The routine did the trick, shifting her kids onto a normal sleep schedule within weeks of implementation.

Interact A Lot During Day Feeds

When your baby is awake during the day, spend lots of time interacting with him so he starts to learn that daytime is when things happen and nighttime is for sleep! Talk to him, look at him, play with him, etc. Interact a ton during day time feeds.

Give him all the attention you want when the sun is shining so he starts to notice a difference between daytime and nighttime feeds. This will really help with his day night confusion.

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Differentiate Day From Night

So we established already that we arent going to stop baby from napping during the day. What we can do is make their daytime environment less conducive to the deep, restorative sleep we want them to get at night.

How do we do this? We keep daytime light, bright, and loud.

Take baby out with you for errands. Wear him while you do your household chores . Let the older kids make kid noises all around the baby. Dont tiptoe around the sleeping baby and dont put them in their own dark room. It is daytime and it should feel like daytime.

I personally dont tend to swaddle baby during the day, but this one is personal choice. Instead I would wear the baby, put him in a baby seat, in the swing, or on the floor. I saved the swaddle for night time as another way to promote night time sleep.

When night time comes, make the transition obvious with a bedtime routine.

It doesnt need to be a full-on bath, pajamas, book, and song bedtime routine like youd do with a toddler. Just maybe a diaper change, PJs, swaddle, and last feeding in a dark environment bedtime routine.

Ive found few babies can resist the combination of being swaddled, fed, and laid down to sleep in a dark room with white noise playing

How To Fix Your Newborns Day And Night Confusion In 3 Nights Or Less

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Advent is here! Turn your attention to the only permanent thing in the world today

Does your newborn have days and nights mixed up? Heres how to fix day night confusion in only a few days. You and your baby will thank us!

Ive had 5 babies and to some extent, they all had day night confusion.

With all 5, within 5 nights postpartum we had it all sorted out.

Days and nights in order.

Sleeping through nightly feeds and not waking.

Allowing me to have restorative though broken sleep.

You can do it. Its not rocket science and its very simple.

Be encouraged your days of Vampire Hours are nearly over!

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What About You Tips For Improving Your Own Sleep

Newborn sleep patterns take their toll on parents. In a study tracking the sleep patterns of mothers from pregnancy through the postpartum period, maternal sleep worsened after childbirth and continued to deteriorate until about 12 weeks postpartum -the time when newborn sleep patterns begin to show marked circadian rhythms .

Twelve weeks isnt forever, but it can seem like it when you are severely sleep restricted. As you struggle to cope with newborn sleep patterns, dont forget to look after yourself. Here are some tips to help you cope.

Prioritize Your Own Sleep

When baby has days and nights mixed up, it can be exhausting for new mothers!

What are you doing to take care of yourself?

Its very important to cut yourself slack during this time and make YOUR sleep a priority.

You can best do this by adjusting your expectations, napping during the day and letting things go.

Its hard to do, but necessary for your own health and well-being!

If you have a newborn, then YOU have most likely just given birth, right?

This means that YOU still need to recover!

Keep in mind that it takes a full 6-8 weeks for your body to recover from childbirth.

Your uterus still needs to heal and you are probably still bleeding.

If you dont get proper rest, you increase your risk for postpartum complications such as mastitis, postpartum hemorrhage and postpartum depression or anxiety.

Read more about the importance of rest and recovery during the 4th trimester in this post.

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Go Outside During The Day

Being exposed to natural light can help adults and babies sleep better. Take your baby for a walk or lay on a blanket in your backyard to get some natural light. Doing this at least once a day helps them get some fresh air and sunlight. If you cant make it outside for the day, open the windows and turn on the lights so the house is filled with bright light during the day.

Keep Nights Boring And Dark

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The opposite should happen at nightkeep the nursery dark and hushed. When your baby wakes for feeding and changing, remain quiet and calm. Try to avoid flipping on a light and keep your voice low and soothing. This is especially important if your baby seems to want to play during nighttime feedings. Dont ignore her, obviously, but dont give her any impression other than its nighttime now…shhhh

Finally, remember that no matter how your babys sleep time is apportionedmostly in the day, mostly at night, or a combination of the twothe overall need for sleep remains the same, which is vital. A newborn needs at least 16 hours sleep out of 24. That means that even if you do manage to gradually shift more sleep hours to the nighttime, youre still going to have stretches of daytime sleep, and some night hours thatll be wakeful for you both, at least in the early weeks or months. Try to be zen about it and catch a few zzzs yourself during the day.

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