Newborns Sleep Patterns
One word to describe a newborn’s sleep pattern is “Irregular”,especially in their first few weeks. It is a known fact that newborns sleep a lot but don’t stay asleep for more than two to four hours at a time, during the first few weeks of life, and this can be a bit of a struggle for parents especially first time parents who also do not get much sleep as they have to wake up at odd times to change, comfort and feed their babies. Babies spend more time in rapid eye movement(REM) sleep, which is thought to be necessary for the development happening in their brain. This phase, hopefully should not last too long as you get to know your child’s sleep pattern and teach him to develop a better pattern.
When will my baby sleep longer?
Some babies sleep for a long stretch at night as early as 6 weeks while some only start to sleep longer at night between 5 and 6 months. And still, some continue to wake up at night into toddlerhood.
Most babies though, begin to sleep for shorter periods during the day and longer at night at about 8 weeks of age and they also have shorter rapid eye movement sleep and longer period of deep, non rapid eye movement sleep whilst still waking up to feed during the night. Try monitoring your baby and over time you will get to notice a pattern. Once you know your baby’s pattern then you can either work with it or try working with your baby to get a great sleep pattern.
Establishing good sleep habits
Here are some tips to help your baby settle down to sleep:
- Let your baby know the difference between day and night. Once your baby is about 2 weeks old, you can start teaching him to distinguish night from day. Make a bedtime routine and try sticking to it.
- Watch for signs that he is tired at nighttime. Some babies rub their eyes, pull on their ears, get fussy or even cry. These may be signs that your little one is ready for bed. When you spot any of these signs, try getting him to lie down and then reduce noise level and light if it is night time.
- Do not spend too much time talking to him. You can sing a lullaby and give him a goodnight kiss. Before long he should begin to figure out that nighttime is for sleeping.
- When he’s alert and awake during the day, interact with him and play with him as much as you can, keep the house and his room light and bright, and don’t worry about minimizing regular daytime noises like the phone or music. If he tends to sleep through feedings, wake him up.