Sleep habits of newborns

How do you know if your newborn is getting enough sleep. Or conversely, getting enough milk to keep them asleep. Read on to find out about the sleep habits of newborns.

How much sleep is normal?

On average, newborns will sleep approximately 16.5 hours out of each 24 hour period. But what’s ‘average’ can be difficult to determine. Your baby may sleep as little as 10 hours per day (sorry about that!). Or as much as 20 to 23 hours in a 24 hour period. However, such a long stretch of sleep in one 24 hour period is extremely uncommon.

It is more common to see your newborn sleeping in cycles. Some newborns enjoy regularly feeding and will wake on queue every 3 hours to be breastfed. Initially, it can take almost an hour for a newborn to feed and then you to burp and change him before resettling. Thus, leaving the other 2 hours for sleep before the cycle begins again.

Sleeping through the night

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it is highly unlikely your newborn is going to sleep through the night for quite a while. I want to sarcastically say that my youngest is 4 and I’m still waiting – but am afraid that statement will shatter your dreams and you will lose all hope! 🙂

However, research suggests that formula fed babies are likely to have longer stretches of sleep at night than their breastfed counterparts. That doesn’t mean you should give up breastfeeding. Quite the contrary, you’ll be amazed at the new skill set you will acquire of being able to breastfeed while half asleep yourself ;-).

What if your babies long sleep is during the day?

Don’t despair. You can change this pattern by moving their internal body clock. Make the room lighter during the day. Perhaps using shade blinds instead of block outs. Then at night, feed, change and burp your baby using only a night light to light the room. And keep additional noise to a minimum, voices low and no startle noises.

What to do if you are really struggling?

Know that you are not alone. Seek help early from your healthcare professional or a lactation consultant or a night nurse. Remember, sleep deprivation was used as a torture technique in war times. And lack of sleep can be really debilitating. So seek help early!

Want to know more about breastfeeding your newborn. Check out our article to prepare yourself.

Hi! Natural Birth and Motherhood is about empowering women who are going through the stages of pregnancy, birth, or motherhood. Find out more useful information on related topics click on the Blog button below.

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