This is a guest post by Angelina Gupta – a baby sleep consultant. She is sharing valuable details a mother of a newborn needs to know in order to understand or tackle baby sleep issues. I have found her extremely helpful while dealing with my newborn’s sleep pattern that’s why I requested her to do a guest post on the blog for all you mommies with newborn babies.
How do Newborns Sleep?
In first 4 months your child will sleep 16-18 hours overall. You can say that half of this time will be day sleep, half – night sleep. Newborns also wake up 1-3 times per night to have a feed, it’s normal, because baby’s stomach is very small and not big enough to store food for the whole night.
Mostly Newborns don’t have “night” in a proper meaning. Child will understand and make out what is “day” and “night” only after 6-8 weeks of his life. Still, you can help your baby to learn more quickly by doing simple things like:
✔️open curtains in the morning or every time baby wakes up (in day time)
✔️in the day time newborn is in active time so ensure there is as much day light as possible in baby’s room
✔️and opposite – during night-time, avoid bright light even during breastfeeding or diaper changing.
New Born Sleep Pattern
♦ Newborns sleep on and off through the day and night.
♦ Babies should have 3-4 day sleeps, 1-2 hours long.
♦ Gap between each sleep (active time) should be not more than 1.5 – 2 hours.
♦ Newborns tend to sleep only in short stretches because they need to be fed and changed regularly.
Myths about Newborn Sleep
“Give more active time, so baby will sleep more”
It’s the most popular myth or bad advice anyone can receive. Here is the truth – giving long activity time to a baby may exhaust him and lead to over-excitement. This process is very difficult to stop and baby will have difficulties to get into actual sleep. Even if the baby sleeps it will not be a peaceful one and might wake up frequently. So it is not advisable to make your child too active before night sleep. Ideally, a newborn shouldn’t be active more than 1.5 hours.
“Child will outgrow disturbed sleep by the time he/she is 1,2,3…. years old.”
If your child is going through sleep troubles then he/she might not be able to overcome them till a long time. Pediatricians say if the baby doesn’t get the right amount of sleep for his/her age then it may continue with this pattern till 4 – 5 years old. Not having enough sleep as per the age is a big issue and needs to be nipped in the bud itself to allow proper development.
“Don’t help your baby fall asleep, he/she needs to know how to sleep without your help or else you will form a habit.”
Not helping a crying baby to sleep is cruel, in my opinion. Never leave your child alone when he/she is not able to fall asleep and starts crying. Help him and show him that he can fall asleep without your help, using mild and soft methods, which you can find on my blog. When your baby doesn’t know how to walk, to eat with spoon, drink from cup – you do teach him. Same with the sleep – you need to teach your child to do that with no harm and tears.
“If baby wants to sleep – he/she will sleep on its own.”
Of course, sleep is a natural process. But baby doesn’t understand that it’s time to stop playing and go to sleep, without getting over excited. Baby is not able to provide for itself conditions for sleep – close the curtains, off the light, enter the bed, etc. It’s like saying that if baby is hungry – he/she will eat by him/herself: climb to fridge, remove and cook food, eat, and maybe even will clean utensils :). So remember, it is important for you to assist the baby to fall asleep.
Hope this information and tips was useful for you. As we all know – well rested and properly sleeping baby is pledge of happy motherhood.
Post by Angelina Gupta – a baby sleep consultant. She runs an Instagram blog by the name babysleep.in where she regularly posts useful information on baby sleep patterns and other relevant baby topics. She is avaialble to help you out with any questions related to baby sleep for free. Consult her here babysleep.in