Tips for great sleep patterns for your newborn
It’s one of the first things people ask, “Is he keeping you awake at night?”
(Um, yes he’s awake at night, he’s a newborn)
There’s A LOT going on cognitively in the first weeks of life. It is important to understand what is normal.
- It is normal for babies to have incoherent sleep patterns/ disruptions at this stage.
- It is normal for babies to be distracted during feedings & need to be fed at night.
- It is normal for developmental milestones to disrupt routines.
- It is normal for parents to tend to their babies needs with extra care during this time.
Here’s what you need to know about the naps, night time and “sleep tanks”:
- Night time sleep forms first around 8 week so age, then day-time “sleep windows” start to form.
- A morning “nap window” develops first, around 12 weeks. Morning nap is the easiest to practice napping in the crib.
- An afternoon “nap window” starts to develop around 16 weeks.
- During this age, at nap-time, babies have partial awakenings every 10-20 minutes which is why the afternoon nap is often one of the hardest naps to master
- Because sleep is evolving in a neurological sense at the newborn-to-baby stage, babies spend half their sleep in light REM (a.k.a. known as dream sleep) where they are easily aroused and the other 8 hours are non-REM sleep.
- When babies switch between REM & non-REM they have partial arousals, which occur about every 50 minutes in infants at night. As babies get older, the arousals are 90-110 minutes at night and during the day the sleep cycles are every 10-30 minutes.
- In the sleep-shape phase try to “fill the sleep tank” during the daytime as best you can to maximize the opportunity for better night-time sleep. The sleep-shape phase is from 0-6 months.
- It is normal to use “motion naps” to achieve the target day-time sleep needs but the goal is to master “drowsy but awake” at bedtime as she gets to 6-7 months. The goal will be to wean motion sleeping (either for AM nap or completely).
- Take advantage of your flexibility to be “on the run” now but know it will be very important in the future (6 months and beyond) to have a consistent nap routine.
It’s important to keep your baby’s environment as calm as possible. It’s recommended the first 4 weeks should be spent bonding with you and becoming familiar with new surroundings – your baby has a lot to get used to in the first weeks of life!
Sleep will come. Eventually. And if you feel like you need it, a Sleep Consultant will be able to help you and your baby establish routines and habits that support good, solid rest for everyone. Without “crying it out”.
You are doing the most important job in the world right now, caring for your baby. Don’t forget that, especially at 3:00am. 😴