Newborn Sleep Simplified: Your First Month Survival Guide
Sleep Patterns of a Newborn Baby During the First 2 Weeks
When discussing sleep, the first two weeks of a newborn's life rarely pose challenges. Most newborns sleep soundly during this period.
Here's what you can expect:
- Your baby sleeps between 17 and 19 hours in total throughout the day and night.
- Wakes up frequently for feedings.
- At this age, the baby rarely sleeps for more than 3-4 hours at a stretch.
Newborn Sleep - Third and Fourth Week
Here's what you can expect:
1. Short sleep and wake intervals
At this age, babies sleep an average of 16 to 18 hours throughout the day and night. They wake up often, seemingly at random times during the day and night. In other words, the baby may wake up after 30 minutes of sleep, but might also sleep peacefully for 4 hours.
2. Lack of routine
Don't expect your baby to follow a routine. Or even if you try to establish one, it will be very difficult. At this age, babies simply need sleep, food, and lots of cuddling.
3. Light sleep in babies
Adults and newborns have very different sleep architecture. The baby spends much of her time sleeping in so-called "active sleep" - this is a state of "light" sleep characterized by trembling of the eyelids, movement of the hands and feet, grimacing, and making sounds of various kinds.
If you hear quiet murmuring or feel your baby moving restlessly, don't rush to pick her up. The baby may continue to sleep peacefully if you give her the chance.
Active sleep is not deep and for this reason the baby can wake up more easily.
4. Can sleep anywhere
Most babies of this age (2-4 weeks) can fall asleep almost anywhere. At home, at grandma's, outdoors, in the stroller, next to a noisy playground... Keep in mind, this phenomenon rarely lasts long and soon you will need to provide a suitable environment for the baby to have good and stable sleep during the day and night.
5. Sleep duration can vary significantly among different children
General advice is not to compare your child to those of your friends. Children are different. At four weeks, there are babies who sleep for 18 hours and others who struggle to even accumulate 14 hours of sleep per day. Research shows that there are many healthy children who deviate from the so-called "sleep norms" and this is perfectly normal. If you're concerned that your baby isn't getting enough sleep, consult your pediatrician.
Overwhelmed by Newborn Sleep? A Child Sleep Consultant Can Help
Navigating the sleep patterns of a newborn can be both a joyous and challenging task for new parents. The first month is a time of profound change and adaptation, both for your little one and yourself. From understanding their sleep architecture to grappling with the unpredictability of their sleep and wake intervals. It's important to remember that no two babies are alike, and comparing your baby's sleep patterns with those of your friends' children can often lead to unnecessary worry.
As a certified child sleep consultant, I am here to reassure you that these fluctuations are completely normal and part of your newborn's natural sleep development. However, if you find yourself struggling or feeling overwhelmed, do not hesitate to reach out for help. Sometimes, the perspective of a baby sleep consultant can be all it takes to turn these challenges into manageable milestones.
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