The first few weeks of your baby’s life are all about adjustment — for your baby and you. It’s too soon to expect structured sleep patterns, so take your cues from your baby.
Newborns Wake Up – A Lot
For the first few months, your baby will fall asleep and wake up at all hours of the day (and night!). Newborn babies sleep about 16 to 17 hours a day, but may only sleep for 1 to 2 hours at a time. Respond to your newborn quickly when they wake up. Most newborns are unable to settle themselves on their own. Later, when your baby is older — approximately two to four months old — you can give your baby a chance to comfort themselves.
Why Your Newborn Wakes Up
Newborns most often wake up because they’re hungry or need to be changed. Be aware of sudden changes in your baby’s sleep patterns — it may signal illness, a hunger-inducing growth spurt or teething pain.
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
To lessen the chances of SIDS, always put your baby down to sleep on their back, not their tummy. Your baby should sleep on a firm mattress, with no fluffy or loose bedding, no stuffed animals, and no pillow.
Breastfeeding? Things to Consider
If you’re nursing, consider giving up caffeine altogether. You should also avoid alcohol and smoking if you’re breastfeeding. In addition to all the harmful effects of smoking you already know about, consider this: second-hand smoke has been associated with an increased risk of SIDS*
Teach the Difference Between Night and Day
When your baby sleeps during the day, keep the lights on and keep sounds at normal levels. After feeding your baby or nappy changing, stimulate their interest by speaking to them warmly and expressively, moving their arms and legs, or showing them toys. At night, on the other hand, turn off the light or use a night-light, feed and change your baby as calmly and quietly as possible, and limit your interactions to gentle holding. Soon you will notice your baby's longest periods of sleep occur at night.
Naptime — For Mum Too
Use your baby’s naptime as a time to catch up on sleep yourself. As tempting as it is to use naptime to get things done, you’ll be able to cope better if you nap when your baby does.
Create a Nighttime Routine
Even at this early age, a nighttime routine will help your baby learn that it’s time for sleep. Try our 3-step routine that includes: