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A complete guide to your newborn's sleep

A complete guide to your newborn's sleep
newborn
2m+
Sleep

Your baby has adjusted to the environment outside your womb quite well. The little one is spending most of her time sleeping. For the first few weeks of life, newborns sleep a lot! You would be surprised to know that on an average, newborns spend 14 to 18 hours per day, sleeping. When they are not sleeping, they will feed, have their diapers changed, and some routine work. 

Unfortunately, you may not feel much of these 14 to 18 hours as your little one will sleep only a few hours at a time, waking up to eat, pee, and poop. How disturbing your schedule remains due to this, is food for thought. You will be concerned about your baby sleep patterns, positions and taking her to sleep easily. Here’s a complete guide on your newborn’s sleep, with safe positions and tips to make her sleep naturally. 

Wrong sleeping positions of a baby can sometimes lead to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). To avoid this, it is essential to know the ideal sleeping positions for the little one and the positions that you need to avoid: 

1. Right: Sleep on back 

Sleeping on the back is the best and safest position for your baby to sleep in. It is the most suggested sleeping position for your baby as it keeps the airways open. The position is ideal for both short naps and sound sleep throughout the night. 

There is a small risk involved with the sleep on back position though. Infants who sleep on their back in the same position for a long time may suffer from “positional plagiocephaly,” a case of flattened head or the baby may also suffer from ‘brachycephaly,’ a case of flattened back. 

Good news is that these are temporary conditions and the shape will become normal by the time your child turns one year old. The condition rarely requires any treatment. Include some reposition techniques while sleeping to avoid flattened back. 

Some tips you should follow:

  • Increase tummy time for your baby when she is awake 
  • Turn your baby on the sides while she is not sleeping 
  • Keep changing the direction of your baby so that she does not tend to see the same things in one direction only 

2. Wrong: Sleep on stomach 

This position is highly unsafe for your little bundle of joy. Sleeping on the stomach may put some pressure on your baby’s jaws and block some airways making it difficult for her to breathe. If she continues to sleep in this position, she may be lying with her face very close to sheets and thus, keep breathing the same recycled air, which is less in oxygen. 

Sleeping on soft mattresses in this position may cause suffocation. However, in some cases, doctors prefer to make babies sleep in this position. Usually, babies with gastroesophageal reflux are advised to sleep in this position. So, consult your doctor before making your baby sleep in this position. 

3. Wrong: Sleeping on sides 

It is unsafe for your baby to sleep on her side as she can eventually roll-on to her tummy and thus, increase the risk of SIDS. There are many ways to make your baby sleep naturally. 

If you want your baby to sleep independently, move her to a sleeping place when she is feeling sleepy, but not asleep. Dim the lights and come out of the room. If you hear your baby cry, let her do so for a few minutes. The baby might sleep. But if she continues to fuss, go back and pat. 

Do not pick her up. Soothe her, convey to her that you are there for her and again leave the room. This should make your baby sleep by herself. 

Another way is to lay down with your baby. Act as if you are sleeping by closing your eyes. Your baby will also try to sleep. Just pat her, but do not pick her. She might look here and there and finally fall asleep. 

The above methods are a bit strict methods to make the baby sleep. But, they are good to make babies sleep when you are not present or when they wake up suddenly at night. 

Grandma’s Tip: You can also try some other effective methods to make your little baby sleep. Rocking your baby, singing lullabies like lalla lalla lori doodh ki katori can actually do wonders and make him fall asleep. Sing the same lullaby daily to make him more familiar with your tone, so he knows this tune and melody means it’s time to rest now. 

It’s not uncommon that your newborn changes her sleep pattern from day to day. She may sleep substantially less than usual one day and then sleep more the following day. Let her sleep as much as she wants as long as she is not becoming overtired. 

Your baby may fall asleep while breastfeeding too. It’s very common for babies to fall asleep while breastfeeding because it’s a calming activity and being full makes them sleep often, even before they complete their feed. 

Putting your baby to sleep is a very difficult task and keeping her awake while feeding is another daunting one. When she falls asleep, gently pat her, tickle her feet, talk to her, sing to her, or break the mouth suction. Do whatever it takes to keep her sucking until she has had her fill. 

Keep checking your baby in between while she is sleeping to avoid the risk of SIDS. Make sure you provide a safe and comfortable environment for her to sleep properly.