Newborns: The First Week
As with most things brand new, this is most definitely the honeymoon in many cases, especially if its your first baby. Hopefully you have a close family member or friend helping you and if you are choosing to breastfeed be sure to start early and often in those first hours after delivery to promote adequate milk production. In between feedings try to sleep, allow your body to heal from delivery, and bond with your baby.
Although not what all families choose, The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends sharing a room with your newborn baby in the form of a separate crib or approved bassinet close to the parents bed, without pillows or blankets , and placing your baby on his or her back for sleep. Avoid over bundling and overheating your newborn and never fall asleep while propped up in a chair or couch holding your baby.
What Is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Sudden infant death syndrome is a term used to describe the sudden and unexplained death of a healthy baby. This happens when the child is put down to sleep and found dead later without an obvious cause. SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies between the ages of 1 month and 1 year. The risk of SIDS is higher when a child is between 2 months and 6 months of ages. It is also more common in boys than girls.
Experts dont know why SIDS happens.
Its important to reduce the risk of SIDS by following certain guidelines. These guidelines include:
Five Weeks To Six Weeks
Again, babies will sleep for around 14 to 16 hours a day, but their time between naps will lengthen even more, to about an hour and a half of awake time. Around this time, you will probably start to notice patterns in their sleep, and youll be able to tell if your baby is sleeping lightly or heavily.
Recommended Reading: How Long Should A Newborn Baby Sleep
How To Keep Your Baby Awake
- Feed her in a lighted room darkness sends a signal to their body that its time to sleep.
- Keep things cool unwrap the swaddle or take her out of her sleep sack or pajamas before feeding. Your baby may associate warmth and wrapping with sleep time, so exposing her chest and feet to the air will send her an awake message.
- Dont be afraid to move move your baby around and burp her to keep her alert. If she seems drowsy, remove the bottle or gently unlatch her and change positions to rouse her. You can also gently blow air on her cheeks or forehead , stroke her bare feet or change her nappy.
- Make some noise while a feeding environment should be calm and not too stimulating, playing music or singing and speaking with your baby while she feeds is a nice way to bond while keeping her engaged and awake.
What Is The Witching Hour
For most babies the Witching Hour fall somewhere around 5:00 11:00 pm. This is a time of day where babies are generally fussy and will stay awake for a longer period of time. Thus it would not be unusual to have a newborn baby who is awake but generally unhappy from 8:00 pm 11:00 pm. After this long window of being fussy and awake, most babies will then have their longest period of sleep .
This is generally the ONLY exception to the window of wakefulness. So if you find your baby fighting sleep in the evening, it may simply mean that you have found your witching hour. While this can be exhausting as most parents are running out of steam at this time of night, its totally normal.
If, however, you find your newborn baby staying awake for 2-3 hours at a time at other times during the day, she probably needs additional help falling asleep or there is some unknown factor which is keeping her awake. Dont be too quick to assume that your baby is simply different or that she needs less sleep.
Note: You can find an overview of baby and kid sleep by age here. It includes the average amount of time babies can stay awake between naps. At the bottom of the post you can download a printable version to keep as a cheat sheet. How cool is that?
Read Also: How To Make A Newborn Go To Sleep Fast
Why Your Baby Wakes Frequently At Night
Too busy to breastfeed. As babies grow they become more aware of their surroundings. New developmental stage. It is quite common for a baby who previously slept through the night to start waking more at night once they are mastering a new skill. Hunger. Its accepted that tiny babies wake at night because they are hungry. Illness. Reverse cycling.
When Your Baby Wakes At Night Take Care Of You
While there are strategies you can incorporate into your days and nights to help your baby ease into nighttime sleep cycles, many babies will grow out of this stage as their bodies mature and develop. In fact, it may be more beneficial to find coping strategies for a sleep-deprived parent in these early weeks rather than fighting against your newborns internal clock .
Its not you
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Your Baby Doesnt Know If Its Night Or Day
Some babies start sleeping on whats called a day/night reversal schedule. Your baby sleeps well during the day, but is awake and busy at night. Its frustrating and exhausting, but its temporary.
Here are a few things you can do to help your baby learn that day is for play and night is for rest:
- Keep them awake a little longer during each waking period during the day. This will help increase the need for sleep later. Some sleep experts recommend playing with your baby for a few minutes after a feeding instead of letting your baby fall asleep.
- Get your baby outside and in the sun . Natural light helps reset their internal clock. If you cant get outside, place your babys crib or sleeper near a window that gets steady, bright light.
- Avoid sleep-inducing activities, if at all possible, during the day. Dont fight your babys need to sleep. But if you can keep them out of the car seat for a bit, that extra time awake will help them later.
- Keep lights low or turn them out at night anywhere near babys sleeping area. Likewise for sound and movement. Your goal should be zero disruptions.
- Consider swaddling your baby at night so their arms and legs dont move and wake them. You can also try putting them to sleep in a small crib, so they feel snug and secure.
Baby Sleep Myth : Letting Babies Cry Themselves To Sleep Makes Them Better Sleepers
Some booksand doctorsadvise leaving crying babies alone, in the dark until the morning . Or they say let them cry, but return every few minutes for a couple of seconds of reassurance .
You may have guessed Im skeptical of those techniques, which is in part why I invented the SNOO Smart Sleeper I mentioned earlier. Its responsive technology responds just as you would.
Ignoring your babys nighttime cries goes totally against your mama and papa instincts. Ill admit that Ive used controlled crying in rare cases when Ive worked with parents who desperately needed some life-saving sleep, but its really a last resort.
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Fill Up During The Day
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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Signs Your Newborn Is Tired
Your baby may get tired after any activity a feed, a nappy change, or when youve had a cuddle or playtime. Theyll likely get tired after theyve been awake for one to one and a half hours.
When theyre tired, your baby might:
- clench or suck on their fists
- have tense or jerky movements
- arch backwards
- have trouble focusing, or stare into space
- startle easily.
Read Also: How To Train Your Newborn To Sleep At Night
Baby Sleep Myth 1: Putting Babies To Sleep On Their Back Has Solved Sids
While the Back to Sleep campaign quickly reduced sleep deaths from 5,500 in 1994 to 3,500 in 1999, for the past two decades, SIDS progress has completely stalled. The tragic truth is that about 3,500 infants die during their sleep every year. Despite the fact that more babies are sleeping on their backs, the rate of accidental suffocation and strangulation deaths among infants has quadrupled since the mid-1990s. Whats to blame for this alarming trend?
Unsafe sleeping practices. Seventy percent of all sudden unexplained infant death victims are found in adult beds, sofas and other risky locations. One study found that even though most parents plan to follow the ABCs of safe sleep , less than half actually do it. By the end of the night, about 60% of babies have migrated from their bassinet to their parents’ bed, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Lactation.
Have questions about a Happiest Baby product? Our consultants would be happy to help! Connect with us at .
Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person orcondition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child oryourself, please contact your health provider.
Appreciate The Power Of A 30
When youre running up an enormous sleep debt, you might think a 30-minute nap will make little difference to your health.
But recent research confirms that all naps are not the same. When youre sleep deprived, the brain compensates by rendering naps more restorative than usual.
In one study, volunteers permitted to sleep only 2 hours at night showed the typical abnormalities in their stress hormone and immune factor chemistry. But after just two 30-minute naps, those irregularities were entirely normalized .
In another study, volunteers coping with a 2-hour nightly regimen experienced heightened pain sensitivity a common symptom of sleep deprivation. But once again, the effect was reversed after just two 30-minute naps .
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Week Old Sleep Schedule / 4 Month Old Sleep Schedule Development And Sleep Patterns
16 weeks is the last that we consider a newborn. Your baby should be awake a lot more during the day and developing some personality! By this age, I knew my son was very spirited and persistent, and I had challenges in my future! He did end up inspiring an entire website after all.
At 16 weeks old or 4 months, the main sleep problem we see is the famous 4 Month Sleep Regression. Babies tend to wake up frequently at night and take short naps after this regression begins. However, keep in mind that this can occur as early as 12 weeks old or as late as 5 months old once sleep cycles change. Some babies will go back to sleeping well while others will need more help learning how to sleep in longer stretches at night and take longer naps.
Here is what a sleep schedule for your 16 week old might look like:
|16-Week-Old Sleep Schedule|
I hope this post gives you some ideas about an appropriate newborn sleep schedule for your baby and about your babys sleep patterns. But, keep in mind that all babies are unique and some are more predictable and easy-going than others. Spirited babies tend to be more challenging when it comes to sleep schedules. Take heart that all babies do eventually get into a rhythm, though not all are predictable to the clock. Youll get to know your baby and his or her unique needs.
When To Contact A Doctor
When in doubt, contact a doctor. Only a doctor can accurately determine the reason that a newborn is sleeping too much. In many cases, a pediatrician may be able to assess the problem over the phone.
Excess sleep in a newborn is not typically an emergency unless they also show signs of respiratory problems. or go to the emergency room if the following apply:
- The baby is gasping for air or wheezing.
- The babys breathing is very loud.
- The babys nostrils flare when they breathe.
- The skin around the babys ribs sinks in when they breathe.
- The baby has a fever.
- The baby may have inhaled, touched, or eaten something toxic.
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Should I Wake My Baby To Preserve A Schedule
Your child is sleeping so soundly! Maybe too soundly?? Anxiety starts to kick in, should you wake your baby if sheâs sleeping too long? Should I wake my baby to preserve a schedule?
Itâs that feeling of uncertainty that feels terrible!
Let me share with you how I coach a client on these types of scenarios.
Here are three questions to ponder when you are jittery with angst and unsure what to do about this long nap or morning âsleep inâ.
1. How old is your baby? Are you in those first few weeks of life and concerned about weight gain? Or is this a toddler who took forever to fall asleep and now is having a late nap? The answer is different for both.
2. Do you have proof that letting them sleep will be detrimental to your schedule? For example, will letting the last nap run late interfere with bedtiming?
3. Do you have actually have a fixed schedule?
Newborn Sleep Patterns: A Survival Guide
As every parent knows, the world of newborn sleep is exotic and strange. Babies rack up lots of sleep overall, averaging 16-18 hours a day during the first two weeks. Yet they awaken frequently, and rarely sleep more than 4 hours at a stretch, even at night. Their internal clocks arent yet synchronized with the external, 24-hour day.
Its a recipe for exhaustion, but understanding the science of sleep can help you cope, and avoid mistakes that can delay your childs development of more mature sleep rhythms.
In this article, youll learn about
- fundamental differences between newborn sleep and adult sleep
- circadian rhythms, and how you can help your baby get in sync with the natural day
- sleep cycles in the newborn, and how to work around them
- tips for preventing newborns from waking up and
- advice for improving your own sleep.
Throughout, I focus on babies under four weeks of age. For information about older infants, see my article on opens in a new windowbaby sleep patterns.
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Keeping Baby Awake During The Day
Most newborns are surprisingly awake at night. Horrifyingly this playtime often happens between 1:00 am 4:00 am when no civilized parent has any interest in playing . It is a commonly held myth that keeping baby awake during the day will solve this problem . This is patently untrue. Keeping baby awake during the day will simply make baby more tired and potentially exacerbate your night party problem. What will fix it?Time.When baby is up at night keep the lights dim and activity to a minimum. No loud, blinky, bouncy toys. Most babies will organically sort out this day-night sleep reversal by ~6 weeks of age.
Begin To Handle Night Wakings Consistently
Turn on your night parent behavior at night from the very beginning! This is a very important psychological cue that your baby will recognize more and more as she gets older. At night, be sure to stay very calm and loving with your baby but quite neutral and quiet. This does not mean you need to give your baby the silent treatment by any stretch, but just coming up with a simply whispered murmur like shhhhh, night time, Mamas here should suffice for your verbal interactions with your baby. Its okay to have eye contact with your baby in the night, but avoid playful singing, playing, turning on music or TV, showing your baby toys, etc. Keep your nighttime interactions as brief as possible, change diapers only when absolutely necessary, and as long as he or she isnt crying, put your baby back into her crib or bassinet as soon as you can after nursing, feeding or burping.
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