Newborns and sleeping! What’s normal and what can i expect?
Ahhh the newborn stage! My favourite. And some would say the easiest stage sleep-wise (others may disagree) ⠀
So what does sleep for the average healthy newborn baby look like? ⠀
⠀ Newborns spend 16-18 hours a day snoozing but unfortunately not all in one go. Newborns have tiny stomachs & need to feed frequently throughout the day and night!! ( every 2-3 hours) . The first few weeks at home with your newborn will see you feeding around the clock with your newborn sleeping in chunks of about ⠀
2-4 hours waking intermittently to feed. Some newborns can even manage a longer stretch of sleep of 4-5hours.⠀
Newborns have immature circadian rhythms and have no understanding of day or night. They don’t make melatonin (the sleepy hormone) as yet but babies who are breastfeed will be exposed to Tryptophan through breastmilk which is a Melatonin precursor (kind of does the same job!) ⠀
That saying “never wake a sleeping baby” doesn’t really apply here. If your little one has been snoozing for longer than 2-3 hours ( during the day)it’s best to wake and feed them. Newborn babies have tiny stomachs so will need to feed little and often.
Waking baby frequently during the day to feed is a good way of encouraging that long stretch of sleep to happen at night when hopefully you can get benefit from some sleep too 😴⠀
Newborns have short sleep cycles lasting around 30/40 mins and spend most of the time in REM sleep (active sleep) transitioning from REM Sleep to NREM sleep stage 4 throughout the sleep cycle. ⠀⠀
Ways to help your newborn sleep well include: ⠀
☀️ getting out and exposing baby to natural daylight during the day and dimmed light/darkness and minimal activity overnight. This helps to stimulate and mature the circadian rhythm which governs when your baby will be tired and alert.⠀
🤰Recreating womb like conditions can be very soothing and calming for a newborn and will aid the settling to sleep process. ⠀
🧸swaddling & cuddling⠀
🧸Rocking, ssssshushing & patting⠀
🧸 Using a sling/baby wearing ⠀
🧸 playing white noise ⠀
🧸 Muslin/comfort object infused with mother scent. ⠀
🛌 introducing a simple bedtime routine at the end of the day can help too. ⠀
I have a really good ebook for mums of newborns packed with lots of great tips for sleep and info on the fourth trimester. It’s free to download, just click here to get your copy.
Do you have any great tips for mothers of newborns? ⠀