Welcome to the new world of parenthood. One of the main challenges in parenthood is your newborn’s sleeping pattern. During the first 3 months of your baby’s life, the sleep pattern of your baby will be nothing like yours. Your baby comes out of your womb having their days and nights completely mixed up. This is the day/night confusion which is very common among newborns.
Initially, in the first 3 weeks of your newborn, you would find your baby super sleepy she would sleep through the day. You would keep waiting to see your baby awake and to play with her tiny fingers. But, after 3 weeks, it is your turn to say goodbye to sleep starts. This is the time when your newborn faces the day/night confusion and tends to sleep more during the day and wake up more frequently during the night.
The reason for waking up more frequently is also because their tummy size would be very small, one time of peeing would empty their stomach and they would be hungry again. We consider a baby to be newborn till your baby reaches the age of 4 months. Here we would discuss the sleep patterns of your baby until the age of 4 months.
Newborn’s sleep pattern: Week-wise
Decoding the sleep pattern of your newborn would be the main priority for you as a parent. Parents would want to make sure that their baby gets enough sleep. Given below are the general guidelines on how many hours of sleep your baby would require at various stages. But one of the main points to be noted is that every baby is different and so are their sleeping patterns. Some babies would require more sleep, while some, of the same age may require less sleep.
As your little one grows up and starts achieving different milestones, your baby’s sleep pattern would fluctuate quite a bit.
Newborn’s sleep pattern: Day 1 to 2 months
A newborn baby between 1-60 days sleeps a lot and would require around 16-17 hours of sleep on an average. Your baby would wake up only to feed and would not stay awake for more than 2-3 hours at a stretch.
Your baby, at this age, would tend to look a little restless during sleep. This is more so because your baby is still learning to control his reflexes. You would see your baby twitching his arms or legs, sucking and smiling. Your baby is yet to learn the art of putting himself to sleep. You can help him by rocking, swaddling or breastfeeding. This would help your baby to doze off.
Newborn’s sleep pattern: 2-4 months
Your 2-3 month’s baby now is in a phase of transition. Your baby would still be sleeping in short cycles, but when your baby is awake, you would observe that he is increasingly alert and would try to keep awake for a longer period of time.
At this stage, your little one would require around 14-16 hours. Slowly, as your baby reaches his 3rd month, he may settle in for a sleeping schedule now. Your baby may now sleep for around 4-5 hours at a stretch.
Newborn’s sleep pattern: Sleep training your baby
Sleep training is an important phase of your baby’s 1st year. This is a process where you help your baby to adjust to a biological clock of remaining awake during the day and sleeping during the night. This helps your baby to clear the day/night confusion.
Most of the experts suggest that sleep training needs to be started for your baby between 4-6 months. Each baby is different some may get trained easily and would follow the pattern, while others would take a little more time to get trained.
Newborn’s sleep pattern: Training methods
a. Try to put your baby to sleep at the same time every day. Pick up a consistent time maybe anytime between 7-8 PM, before your baby gets too sleepy which makes him fussy and irritated.
b. Introduce a bedtime routine like singing a lullaby, reading out a story, feed him warm milk. Ensure that you sing the same lullaby or read out the same story. This works as an automatic indicator for your baby to understand that it is time to sleep.
c. Keep the room a little dim and create an atmosphere to sleep. Avoid switching on the TV, checking your mobile or any other noise. Try to keep the room as calm as possible.
d. Ensure that your baby is well-fed before you put your baby to sleep. A hungry baby or a baby who is half-fed tend to wake up more frequently.
When you try to follow all these suggestions every day, there is high possibility that your baby would be sleep trained very soon. If your baby is taking a little more time to get adjusted, do not despair, with time your baby would learn and understand the sleep pattern.
Setting a sleep pattern is important not only because you as a parent get exhausted with sleepless nights, but also because a good night sleep ensures good growth of your baby.