Newborn babies sleep a lot. Almost 18 out of 24 hours, they are asleep in the first few weeks after birth. But your baby will not sleep for more than one to three hours at a stretch – day or night – as your baby will need frequent feeds.
When the sleep timings are totally different, it means only one thing – lots of sleep for your baby and irregular, erratic schedule for the new mommy. You are going to be up several times during the night to change, feed, and comfort the baby.
Are you wondering why is your newborn not having a regular sleep schedule? Here’s why.
Newborn babies sleep far shorter than adults, and babies spend more time in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This is required for the extraordinary development of the brain. The good news is, the unpredictable sleeping patterns are not going to stay longer, they will eventually get into a routine. Although it seems like an eternity for the moms when they are sleep deprived.
Now comes the question when will they start sleeping longer?
Once the baby is between six to eight weeks, he will begin to sleep for shorter spells during the day and longer periods at night. But your little one will wake up in the night to take feeds. The shorter periods of sleep is REM sleep and the deep, longer periods are non-REM sleep.
Not all babies are same, so when they reach somewhere between 4 to 6 months, babies are capable of sleeping for 8 to 12 hours through the night. Unless you encourage clear sleeping habits from the beginning, your baby will take a while to adjust. Teach them good sleeping habits and bring them to a healthy routine when the baby is as early as 6-weeks-old.
5 Tips To Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Better
1. Teaching The Difference Between Day And Night
It is very important to teach your baby the difference between day and night. Some babies are night owls and they will be fully active just when you would want to hit the hay. It is difficult to do anything about it in the first few days. Eventually after two weeks, get him back to rhythm.
- Keep your baby awake and interact or play with him as much as you can during the day.
- Let the room be bright and well lit.
- Don’t try to keep away any daytime noises like phone, dishwasher, or your mixer from your baby.
- It will be hard to wake your sleeping baby while feeding, but you need to do it.
- Make the daytime feeds a little social. Chat and sing as much as you can while you feed him.
While you try to bring routine during the day, also know that in the night the rules change.
- Do not play while you feed during the night.
- Keep the noises and light in the room low.
- Try not to speak too much to your baby.
Before long your little bundle of joy will get into a regular sleeping pattern.
2. Recognize The Signals
As a new mommy, especially if you are a first-timer, it will take a while for you to recognize the signals. We are talking about the signs that your baby gives when sleepy. The initial weeks after birth, the baby won’t stay awake for more than two hours. If that becomes longer, he might get exhausted and won’t nod off immediately. Signs like rubbing the eyes, whining, crying, and yawning means that the baby is tired. It only takes a little while for you to identify your baby’s signs and put him to sleep.
3. Frequent Sleep Helps
While you as mommy would want to do so many things during the day, the little one will only sleep, sleep, and sleep. So it very important to give your baby a chance to nap frequently. Keeping the baby awake for too long just to make him sleep longer during the night is not going to help. The over exhaustion of being awake for too long will trouble his sleeping pattern.
4. Make Him Fall Asleep On His Own
Once your baby reaches the three months milestone, it is easier to get him to settle before he falls asleep on his own. But that doesn’t mean all babies will! To encourage your baby to settle down, do not carry when he feels sleepy. It is good to stay with your baby until he drifts off to sleep. Also, make this a habit and don’t carry him during the night. If you try to feed or rock him to sleep, your baby will expect you to do it every time.
5. Consistent Bedtime Routine
Keeping a consistent bedtime routine every night is a good idea to adopt. The same strategy every night will become a habit and when you start that early, it stays longer. Something as simple as getting your baby changed before bedtime, singing a lullaby would make a big difference.