Newborn Baby & Sleep: What You Must Know

You bring home your bundle and find yourself obsessing about every detail of your little one? Normal! Sleep is probably at the top of the list, just under feeding! What is “normal” when it comes to newborn sleep and how can you ensure your baby is getting what he needs? Read on to find out.

Baby sleep patterns are different

Newborns sleep different then four month olds. Around 4-6 months, babies start to cycle through sleep stages (stage one, two, three and REM). But your newborn cycles through active and quiet sleep. Each last approximately 20 minutes for a total cycle on average of 40 minutes.
They enter sleep through the active phase, then settle into quiet sleep and repeat.

They’re sleeping even when they look like they aren’t

The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends rooming in with your baby for the first six months of their life. This usually looks like a bassinet or crib at your bedside. Are you waking to every peep? As mamas, we are wired to do this! Your baby’s active sleep stage is noisy! She could be grunting, kicking, even letting little fusses out. But are her eyes closed? If the answer is yes, she is probably in the active stage of sleep and will continue to sleep. As mamas, we tend to think these noises mean she needs something when she is in fact still asleep! When her eyes open or she starts to cry, respond and see what she needs.

They are missing that sleepy hormone

Melatonin is the sleepy hormone that helps us feel sleepy at bedtime and also helps us stay asleep. In utero babies use their mom’s melatonin as it crosses the placenta. But that comes to an abrupt halt when the cord is cut! We secrete melatonin through our pineal glands which don’t mature in a baby until 8 weeks. When they say babes have their days and nights mixed up it is for good reason! Help them develop those days and nights by darkening the house come evening and letting your babe get lots of natural sunlight in the morning. Research also shows that a bedtime massage after a bath can give your babes melatonin levels a boost!

Bedtime is later

Mamas often report a big bedtime struggle with their new babe. Because of their lack of melatonin, they are not ready for sleep at the same time your toddler is! A newborn will nap at 7 pm but will not easily go down for the night. Feed your baby frequently in the evening and let her nap between feeds. Then start your bedtime routine to have her down for night time sleep around 10 pm. You will have more luck! Then think, 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. Start your day at 10 am, getting her lots of sunshine then. This will help her clock develop, and bring better sleep habits.

Feed, feed, feed!

A full belly will bring a better sleep! Feed your baby when she wakes, then again before she sleeps. Think of it as the MAMA method.

M-milk when she wakes
A-activity (playmat, talk to her, carry her)
M-More milk- fill her tank!
A- Activity- this is the slight pause that lengthens as your baby grows. In the newborn stage, it is brief, only a few minutes. An example of the pause would be changing her and placing her in the crib for sleep.

The newborn stage can be a tiring stage for mamas! You’re getting to know her, learn to feed and figure out the sleep piece. Babes often settle in for a long stretch in the early morning, don’t overdo it. Turn your phone on silent and settle in with her!