A newborn sleep pattern is puzzling. Newborns can’t differentiate between night and day, so they sleep whenever they want to. Typically, it takes around 3 months before your baby adapts to a sleep schedule.
Some newborns stay wide awake for longer periods of time, testing their parents’ patience, while others are always sleepy and only wake up for feedings. Here’s what you can expect from your little one’s sleep pattern and find ways to help them get into a rhythm.
Is My Newborn Sleeping Too Much?
During 9 months of pregnancy, your baby spends most of the time sleeping surrounded by the warmth of your womb. But you may wonder whether your newborn sleeps too much once she is outside your womb.
A newborn’s stomach is tiny and gets full quickly, regardless of whether she receives milk directly from the mother or a bottle. Rocking and keeping your newborn close to your body while feeding enhances their sleep. This can lead to them falling asleep before they are full.
A newborn sleep for 12 to 17 hours over a 24-hour period in short bursts of 25-50 minutes. Newborns need frequent feedings, so when your newborn is awakened from their short nap, it’s mostly because of an empty stomach.
Your newborn sleeping for longer stretches occasionally is not a cause for concern. It is concerning, however, if your baby sleeps through feedings or sleeps for more than 19 hours, unless she is ill.
There are several reasons your newborn may sleep for longer than usual:
- Your newborn is experiencing a growth spurt. Generally, growth spurts begin when your baby is 2-3 weeks old.
- They may have a minor illness such as flu or cold.
- Your baby is pre-term. Premature babies sleep longer than full-term babies.
- A baby who is suffering from jaundice may sleep for longer than usual. Signs of jaundice include yellow-colored skin, lethargy, and irritability.
- Babies who do not have enough milk may get dehydrated and snooze off for longer periods.
What to Do If a Newborn Always Remains Sleepy?
If your baby is sleeping too much, ensure that she is safe from medical issues causing there to sleep longer than usual.
Respiratory infections, jaundice, or medical procedures such as circumcision can make your baby sleep for longer stretches over a 24-hour period.
If your baby is gaining enough weight and spoiling their diapers regularly, there is no need to worry if she is always sleepy. If this is not the case, wake them up every 3 hours for feedings. You can also contact your nursing consultant or pediatrician for further guidance.
You may take the following steps before contacting the pediatrician:
- Feed the baby whenever you notice signs of hunger.
- Feed from breast or bottle every 2 hours to ensure your baby is fed properly.
- Make sure your baby is not too warm or too cold.
- Note down your baby’s sleep pattern for a few days.
Call a doctor immediately if you notice these signs while your baby is sleeping:
- The baby’s breathing is abnormally loud.
- The baby’s nostrils widen when she breathes.
- High body temperature.
- The baby may have ingested something toxic.
- The baby is fighting for air.
Promote Regular Sleep Patterns in Babies
Although it takes at least 3 months before a baby gets settled with the rhythms of the night and day, these tips can help you promote regular sleep patterns in your little one.
- Expose your baby to the natural light by taking them out for walks.
- Wipe their face with a wet cloth or lift them for a burp while feeding. This will prevent them from falling asleep during feedings.
- Create a soothing evening routine that includes bathing, oiling, singing a lullaby, and massaging.
- If your baby is covered up, remove some layers to help them wake up when it’s time to feed.
- Avoid over stimulation, as keeping your baby awake through the day in the hopes of making them fall asleep at night often backfires.
A baby’s sleep consists of four stages: Drowsy, REM Sleep, Light Sleep, and Deep Sleep. During the REM stage, your baby may experience rapid eye movement, increased heart rate, and irregular breathing. If you want to regulate your baby’s sleep patterns, you can monitor them during the REM stage. You can wake them up more easily during this REM before your baby transfers to the deep sleep stage.
When it comes to creating a sleep routine, be flexible. It takes time for your baby to get used to life outside the womb. To promote regular sleep patterns, keep a sleep log to understand your baby’s sleep and wake times, so you can schedule bedtime accordingly.
Creating a daytime routine can also help you regulate sleep patterns in babies. You can start your day by rocking, feeding, and strolling. Once the morning is over, help your baby to take an afternoon nap.
When to Start Sleep Schedule for My Newborn
When your baby is around 3 months old, their sleep pattern will become more predictable – and you can start taking steps to establish a sleep routine for your little one.
At around six months, your baby will sleep and wake up at almost the same times every day. You can understand your newborn’s natural sleepy times and devise a schedule to put them to sleep while she is tired but still awake.
Gradually, you can teach your baby self-soothing- the newborn’s ability to fall asleep on their own. However, according to experts, you should not let your baby self-soothe until at least she is 4-6 months of age.
Newborns are adorable little beings with puzzling sleep patterns. For first-time parents, it’s even more difficult to figure out their newborn’s natural rhythms, at least for the first 3-4 months. As long as your baby is healthy and gaining weight, those sleeping too much is not a cause for concern.
Exposing your newborn to natural light, creating a soothing evening routine, and adjusting your bedtime according to their natural rhythms are some ways to promote regular sleep patterns in babies. You can start a sleep schedule once your baby’s sleep pattern becomes predictable.
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