Newborn babies spend most of their time sleeping, typically between 14 to 17 hours a day (24 hours). Little ones usually sleep for about two to four hours between feeding day and night. Their sleeping patterns vary, and parents must be flexible regarding the baby’s habits – some are natural ’early birds,’ while others would wake up later.
Many moms and dads wonder: should you put a newborn on a sleep schedule? Can you plan your baby’s sleep routine? The answer is relatively simple: flexibility. The rest depends on you and your little angel. While some parents find out that organizing a sleep schedule while keeping it a bit flexible helps their babies to sleep better, others leave it all up to the little one.
The best advice for you as a mom is to let your baby lead. At the newborn age, there is no place for strict and fixed measures; observe and track your baby’s behavior and let the baby get used to the new environment. Keep in mind that your lovely little one has to spend full nine months in the coziness of your womb. Key points to remember:
- Each baby is unique when it comes to natural sleeping patterns
- A newborn sleep routine is based on intervals of sleeping and feeding
- Do not try to put a newborn on a rigid sleep schedule
Understanding Newborns’ Sleep
Newborns need a lot of sleep; they nap three to five times during the day (these naps could last 30 minutes up to 4 hours), while night sleep usually lasts about 4 to 5 hours. The number of daytime sleeps is largest in newborns, but their night sleep is the shortest. Moms should keep in mind that babies this little do not wake up on their own in the nighttime; you will have to do it to feed the baby every 2 to 3 hours.
0-1 Months Old Sleep Routine
During the first month, newborns sleep quite often – their major wake-up trigger is hunger. Newborns are only awake for feeding, changing, and bathing at this early age. It is good to know that breastfed babies usually wake up every two to three hours, while bottle-fed ones take three to four hours of sleep before meals.
During the first month of infancy, it could happen that your baby does not wake up in these intervals. If that is the case, you should do it to feed the little one. This is important only during the first month since the baby rapidly gains weight over this period. Leaving your baby to sleep longer during the night is safe in the following months.
- Newborns could easily fall asleep during breastfeeding! It is entirely normal, for breastfeeding itself requires more effort from a baby when compared to bottle feeding.
1-2 Month Old Sleep Routine
The baby’s sleeping pattern in the second month is similar to the first. Changes usually start by the end of the second month, when your little one starts sleeping a bit less overall. If a baby wakes up for feeding during the night, make sure you have all you need at hand to feed the baby in the dark and quiet.
The main problem your baby may experience over this period (in some cases, it could happen as early as the half of the first month) is colic – frequent and prolonged crying without apparent reason. This could be particularly frustrating for parents, as they feel helpless in soothing their little ones. Colic usually resolves with time, but parents can take steps to make it less severe for the baby and less stressful overall.
2-3 Months Old Sleep Routine
Newborns three months old start developing circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are natural 24-cycle changes on a physical, mental and behavioral level, and they primarily respond to dark and light. We may say that those rhythms are a part of our internal clocks. How does it develop in newborns, and how does it regulate babies’ sleep routine?
The answer to this question is melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep hormone our brain produces in the nighttime when there should be no light; it prepares our body for nighttime relaxation and proper sleep. In the mom’s womb, babies are under the impact of mom’s melatonin. The first time a baby sees the light of the day, this melatonin relation stops, and newborns gradually develop their circadian rhythm – this process lasts from three to five months.
Newborn Sleep Routine Tips
Newborns’ sleeping pattern consists of sleep, play, and feeding. Here are some essential tips on how to follow and, at the same time, regulate your baby’s sleep routine. Remember that you cannot put 0-1 months old into a schedule.
Do not deprive your baby of daytime naps to prolong night sleep. Daytime sleeping is essential, but do not let the baby sleep more than four hours at an interval. When your lovely angel wakes up, feed the baby, change the diaper, talk, play, burp the baby, and put her back to sleep.
You should only feed the baby at night and change the diaper, if necessary. Do not play and talk a lot. Of course, soothe your little one as much as needed to fall asleep.