Ever heard people saying that they wished their life was like a baby’s? This is because newborn baby spends most of their time asleep. The only thing in life at that time is to eat, sleep and repeat. Hence, they sleep more than they are awake.
Newborns don’t have the sense of day or night; they sleep round the clock and only wake up when they are uncomfortable or hungry. This happens because their tiny stomach can’t hold food for a long time, which keeps them satisfied. So, they don’t have enough energy to do anything other than sleep.
Newborns being nocturnal is very common and ordinary; however, many first-time parents can get worried about their baby sleeping so much. Every bay has a different pattern of sleeping; they grow in a different environment, which can affect their sleeping schedule.
If your baby is nocturnal, then there is nothing to worry about. Here you will find every detail about a nocturnal newborn and what you need to expect from them. So, let’s dive into the article and learn why newborns are nocturnal.
Nocturnal Behaviors in Newborns?
Before learning about the nocturnal behavior in newborns, let us discuss how much a baby usually sleeps. As mentioned above, newborns don’t know how to differentiate between day and night. There 24 hours circadian rhythm has not yet synched with the external environment. This is why they like to sleep all the time.
Usually, a newborn will sleep 12 to 16 hours in 24 hours. Unlike adults’ newborns do not sleep in one go. They have short bursts of sleep that last for 20 to 50 minutes, and this is because they need regular feeding.
Now coming back to the nocturnal behaviors of newborns. Nocturnal behaviors mean that the baby is active during the night. There are many possibilities that your baby wakes up frequently during the night because they feel hungry quickly and need to be fed.
During the sleep cycles, your baby can have two types of sleep: active and quiet sleep. During quiet sleep, the baby will sleep relatively till, and they will be calm and peaceful with even breathing. In active sleep, they might constantly open their eyes, cry, breathe fast, and even groan. Both of these periods of sleep are pretty normal and a part of the nocturnal behavior of newborns.
After learning everything about nocturnal newborns, you might think, how long does my baby stay nocturnal? Let us tell you that the first three months after the baby is born are very important. During the first three months, your baby’s sleeping schedule will change all the time. During these months, parents also face many problems as their sleeping schedule is messed up. After these three months, your baby will start understanding and adapting to the new schedule.
Should I Worry About My Baby Being Nocturnal?
If your baby is nocturnal and you are comparing it with other babies who sleep at night and are getting worried, then you don’t need to worry. There are so many things that can affect their sleeping schedule. Sometimes they might be uncomfortable or irritated; there is a possibility that your baby is feeling hungry. In many situations, the baby has a bloated stomach that keeps them awake all night. Therefore, it becomes imperative to figure out what is wrong with your baby and why he stays up the entire night.
However, in normal conditions, newborn babies sleep for 1 to 2 hours and then wake up as they feel hungry. Some babies might go back to sleep once they have a full stomach, whereas others might stay awake for a longer time and play. Usually, newborn babies get tired after playing or staying awake for one or a half hour. But some little humans can stay active and play for more extended periods.
If your baby is 2- or 3 weeks old and you think you should let them sleep the entire night, that is a bad idea. If your baby is sleeping for more than 2 or 3 hours, you should wake them up and feed them. Feeding your baby 8 to 12 times per day during the first month is essential. When your baby is about 1 or 2 months old, their feeding time might reduce to 7 or 9 times per day. Therefore, it becomes essential that you wake up your baby so that they are fed and its stomachs are full.
How Long Do Newborns Stay Nocturnal?
We have discussed earlier that babies sleep approximately 14 to 17 hours over 24 hours. The surprising thing here is that they do not sleep 14 to 17 hours in one go. Newborn babies sleep for about 1 or 2 hours and wake up because they need to be fed.
Breastfeeding babies might wake up every 2 to 3 hours, while bottle-fed or formula-fed babies get hungry every 3 to 4 hours, so if your baby is sleeping when it’s time for their food, you must wake and feed them. It can be very stressful for the parents when they are unaware of the newborn’s sleeping pattern.
Generally, it is seen that newborn babies sleep for about 8 to 9 hours during the day and 8 to 9 hours at night. However, this might vary from baby to baby and how much they need to sleep. Some newborn babies do not like to sleep a lot and play and stay active.
A few of the babies like to sleep the entire day and then create a fuss at night, whereas some of the babies like to sleep at night. It always depends on the baby’s mood and what they are comfortable with.
After you become a new parent, the one thing you might crave is sleep. Even though newborn babies sleep a lot, this sleep comes in random bursts, so you never know when they will wake up. However, below is a good range of sleep your child might need during the first couple months after their birth.
· Newborn to 3 months:
From the birth of the baby to the 3 months, it is tough to figure out your baby’s sleeping schedule. Your baby will sleep 14 to 17 hours a day during this time. They will snooze for 2 to three hours and then wake up. They must be fed, burped, and soothed back to sleep.
Here you will not see any consistency in their sleep pattern; sometimes, they might sleep for longer and sometimes not want to sleep at all. Therefore, this is the struggling period for the parents and the baby. Here they can sleep 8 hours at night and also have two to five naps in the daytime.
· 4 to 6 months:
During this age of your newborn, you might see some changes during your sleep. The time of their sleep is reduced to 12 to 16 hours of sleep per day. Besides this, you might see some long stretches of sleep during the night.
This means that your baby might be able to sleep throughout the night and won’t wake up as much as they used to. You might also see that their naps are more constant now, and they will slowly start adapting to your family’s routine.
· 7 to 11 months:
This is the time period when you and your baby will have the same routine. The night sleep will also stretch to 10 to 12 hours. The morning naps will also increase to two to three naps.
This is the babies’ most commonly observed sleep pattern; however, this might change according to your baby’s health and other factors. Two of those factors are mentioned below:
· Premature birth:
If your baby is premature, they were born before their due date, then their sleeping routine and number differ from those of full-term babies. A premature baby might sleep up to 22 hours per day, but this might also change according to how premature your baby is. According to their age, you also need to wake them to feed them more frequently.
When talking about night sleep, it will take a lot of time for them to sleep for a longer duration at night. They might need 10 to 12 months to sleep six hours straight at night.
· Type of Feeding:
Another thing that might affect your baby’s sleeping pattern is the type of feeding they are getting. If your baby drinks formula milk, then there are chances that they might wake up less. This is because formula milk is a little bit heavier and takes more time to digest, keeping your baby full for a more extended period of time.
But if your baby is breastfeeding, it might wake up faster than the bottle-fed baby. However, after 9 months, there is no difference between the feed; your baby will adapt to their sleeping schedule.
When it comes to making a schedule for your baby to sleep, the first two months are not the time to do it. This is because your little angel needs their feed every one or two hours. Therefore, you can start establishing a sleep routine once they hit the mark of 3 to 6 months.
How to Help Your Newborn Fall Asleep?
There are a lot of times when it is time for your baby to sleep, but they are unable to fall asleep. There can be many reasons behind this. However, there are a few simple things that you can do in your daily routine that can help your newborn sleep more easily and peacefully.
· Have your Baby Sleep with you:
The first thing you can do is make your baby sleep in your room. It is not necessary that they sleep on your bed, but they can sleep in a crib, bassinet, or something similar. This should be done for at least the starting of six months and, if possible, up to one year.
This will ensure that whenever our baby is restless or need something, you can give them immediately. Making your baby sleep in one room reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Another thing you need to make sure that the baby is not sleeping on the adult bed.
There have been many incidents where the baby suffocated as he was trapped between the parents. Sometimes it is also possible that the parent rolls over and covers the nose or mouth f the bay making it difficult for them to breathe.
· Following a consistent bedtime routine:
Even though it is said that it is useless to set a routine in the first three months after your newborn is born, however, it is seen that following the same sleeping schedule can be beneficial for the baby. Overstimulation at the nighttime can reduce the chances of them sleeping.
Therefore, it is said to bathe your newborn, cuddle with them or read them something soothing at night time. This will make them calmer and more peaceful, so they can sleep more easily.
Put your baby to bed when drowsy:
Sometimes babies do not like to sleep in their crib; even though they are sleepy, they fight it off. Hence, put your baby in their crib when they are just about to dose off. This is the perfect way to associate the baby with the crib positively. You also must ensure that your baby is always sleeping on their back and not on their stomach or side. This will prevent them from suffocating and help them get a night of better sleep.
· Give your baby a pacifier:
If your baby is fussy and it becomes hard for them to settle down, giving them a pacifier might be a good option. It is seen that pacifier has a lot of calming effect on babies. According to the researchers, it is also seen that using a pacifier on a baby will also decrease the chances of SIDS.
· Let your baby settle down:
When you put your baby down to sleep in the crib, there are a lot of possibilities that they might cry and fuss a little. This is because they need to find a comfortable position to sleep in. if they don’t stop crying after some time, you should change their position or give them pillows and a comforter so they are comfortable.
· Keep nighttime low-key:
Even if your baby wakes up at night for food or change, it is essential to let them know it is time to sleep. Keep the lights dim, make very few noises, and keep the atmosphere quiet and calm. This will show the baby that it is not the time to play and they need to sleep after the work is done.
· Notice the signs of sleep:
Another thing that is very important when you have a newborn is to notice the little signs. Since the newborn cannot communicate, their body language is a way through which they communicate. When your baby is yawning, rubbing their eyes continuously, or getting fussy, it might be a sign that it is sleeping.
It is essential to know that your baby is sleeping so that you can be reduced the time they stay awake. The more they stay awake when they are sleepy, the will become crankier, and it will be hard for you to handle them. Hence, give them the environment to sleep in as soon as you feel that your baby is getting sleepy. This will make them doze off immediately, and they will not cry or make a fuss about it.
Changing the sleeping pattern of your baby is very difficult. But there are other things that you can do to make them sleep more quickly and effectively. You need to ensure that your baby is adequately fed. You should also ensure that your baby is clean, their diaper is changed, and they are satisfied.
Other than this, make sure that you have the perfect, calm environment; the temperature of the room is also not too cold and not too hot. All these things can help your baby sleep more peacefully and comfortably.
By the time your little one is 5 or 6 months old, you can start planning a proper schedule to set his sleeping. But until then, it will be a struggle for the parents to change their sleeping time according to their babies’ needs.
This article is packed with information about newborn nocturnal. It is prevalent for babies to get up at different times of the night because they need to be fed and changed. You also need to remember that making your baby sleep through the entire night is not a parenting skill, and you must understand your baby’s needs. Help them sleep whenever your baby is sleepy and not when you want them to sleep. There are some tips and tricks that can help you make your baby sleep. Hence, we hope this article was helpful to the new parents.
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