Newborns sleep a lot 16 to 18 hours a day. But most babies don't stay asleep for more than two to four hours at a time, day or night, during the first few weeks of life. This is normal and a normal part of development. The result of this? Lots of sleep for your baby and a very irregular – and tiring – schedule for you. As a new parent, you'll probably be up several times during the night to change, feed, and comfort your new baby.
Newborns up until 3 months of age on average stay awake 45 minutes to a max of 1.5 hours. From 0-6 weeks 45 minutes is a long enough awake period for our tiny humans. After the first six weeks you may notice they can tolerate a longer awake period ranging from 1 hour to 1.5 hours.
How to help your baby sleep:
Babies may not be able to establish their own sleeping and waking patterns, especially in going to sleep. You can help your baby sleep by recognizing signs of sleep readiness, teaching him/her to fall asleep on his or her own, and providing the right environment for comfortable and safe sleep.
A baby enters stage 1 at the beginning of the sleep cycle, then moves into stage 2, then 3, then 4, then back to 3, then 2, then to REM. These cycles may occur several times during sleep. Babies may awaken as they pass from deep sleep to light sleep and may have difficulty going back to sleep in the first few months.
What are the signs of sleep readiness? Your baby may show signs of being ready for sleep when you see the following signs: rubbing eyes, yawning , looking away, fussing/irritable refusing to breastfeed.
Night feedings are always such a hot topic of discussion... night feedings are most definitely important for our growing babies. It is important to respond to your little ones feeding needs, especially in the first few weeks. As our little one gains weight, our night feeds will decrease and change, as they are ever changing. It is important as a family to decide when is the best time to cut out night feeds. Every baby is different and has different needs, with Sleep Tight Consultings help we can establish a schedule that will allow everyone to get not only adequate sleep but adequate night feeds.
How can you help your baby fall asleep? Not all babies know how to put themselves to sleep. When it is time for bed, many parents want to rock or breastfeed a baby to sleep. Establishing a routine at bedtime is a good idea. However, be sure that the baby does not fall asleep while eating or in your arms. This may become a pattern and the baby may begin to expect to be in your arms in order to fall asleep. When the baby briefly awakens during a sleep cycle, he or she may not be able to go back to sleep on his or her own. Placing him or her in the bed while still awake is very important. This way the baby learns how to go to sleep on his/her own. Establishing a consistent routine will be a major factor in having success with sleep training and encouraging your little one to fall asleep on their own.
Still struggling with establishing healthy sleep habits in your home? Feel free to contact me today.
Leeann Talbot, BScN, Peadiatric Sleep Consultant.