Newborns don't have a developed sense of day and night. They sleep throughout the 24 hours, and because their tiny tummies can't keep them fed for long, they wake up frequently to eat — regardless of what time it is.
Although newborns need to eat often, they can't keep down large volumes of food. A little milk goes a long way. If you're bottle-feeding your baby, you want to know how much is too much…and how much is just enough. Your doctor or nurse will talk with you about the right amount to feed your baby.
If you're breastfeeding, you may hear people suggest that newborns eat every few hours or so. It's true that newborns usually want to feed often — but it's okay if your baby doesn't stick to a schedule.
How Long Will My Newborn Sleep?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that newborns get 14–17 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Some newborns may sleep up to 18–19 hours per day.
Newborns wake up every few hours to eat. Breastfed infants consume food on a regular basis, about every 2–3 hours. Bottle-fed babies feed less frequently, about every 3–4 hours.
Newborns who sleep for longer periods should be fed on a regular basis. Every 3–4 hours, wake your kid until he or she establishes a healthy weight gain, which generally happens within the first two weeks. It's also OK to let your baby sleep for longer lengths of time at night after that.
The first few months of a baby's existence can be the most challenging for parents, who are frequently up at night to care for their child. Each newborn has his or her own sleep routine. Some 2- to 3-month-olds start sleeping "through the night" (for 5–6 hours at a time), while others do not.
How Should Babies Sleep?
Some parents choose to room-share during the first weeks of their baby's life. When you put your baby's crib, portable crib, play yard, or bassinet in your own bedroom rather than a separate nursery, you're room-sharing. This keeps your baby close and aids in feeding, soothing, and surveillance at night. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that room-sharing without bed-sharing is best for newborns.
While room-sharing is safe, putting your infant to sleep in bed with you is not. Bed-sharing raises the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and other sleep-related deaths, according to studies.
Follow these guidelines to create a safe sleeping environment for your child:
- It's also important to place your kid on his or her back while sleeping, not on the stomach or side. Since the AAP issued this suggestion in 1992, the incidence of SIDS has significantly decreased.
- Use a firm sleeping surface. Cover the mattress with a fitted sheet. Ensure that your crib, bassinet, or play yard is up to date on safety requirements.
- Do not put anything else in the crib or bassinet. plush toys, pillows, blankets, unfitted sheets, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, and bumper pads should all be avoided in your baby's sleep area.
- Overheating is dangerous. Dress your baby for the current room temperature, and don't over bundle him. Signs of overheating include perspiration or being hot to the touch.
- Keep your child away from smokers. Secondhand smoke raises the risk of SIDS.
- Put your infant to sleep with a pacifier. Don't push the pacifier if your baby spits it out. If the pacifier falls out of place during slumber, you don't have to replace it. Wait till breastfeeding is well-established before attempting to feed your child while he's sleeping.
Helping Your Newborn Sleep
Newborns have their own unique timetable. You and your baby will get into a routine over the next few weeks to months.
It could take a few weeks for your baby's brain to realize the difference between night and day. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to this, but it helps to keep things quiet and calm during middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes. If you're breastfeeding, keep the lights dim and avoid playing with or conversing to your child. This will communicate that it's time for bedtime. If feasible, put your infant to sleep in his or her crib at night so that he or she understands where they should go when they are tired.
Don't attempt to keep your child up during the day in the hope of improving his or her sleep at night. Infants that are excessively tired frequently have more difficulties sleeping at night than those who have had enough sleep during the day.
It's OK to rock, cuddle, and sing as your baby falls asleep if he or she is fussy. Swaddling (wrapping the baby in a light blanket) might also assist to calm a screaming infant. "Being indulgent" is not an issue for the first six months of your baby's life. (In fact, newborns who are held or carried during the day have been shown to have less colic and fussiness.)
By: April Carson