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If you’re expecting a baby or have recently welcomed a little one, you’ll know that sleep is a very important part of your baby’s routine. It’s also something that you (the parent) aren’t going to get much of for a while. So, let’s find out more about your newborn’s sleep patterns, how much sleep they should ideally be getting, how you can encourage proper sleeping habits, and most importantly, WHEN you will finally get a good night’s sleep again.
When and how much do newborns sleep?
Newborns need a lot of sleep. On average, your newborn will sleep for approximately 16-20 hours in a 24-hour period. That’s the good news. The downside is that newborn sleep is mostly irregular, takes place in short bursts and doesn’t follow a particular pattern at first.
Up until 6 weeks or so, your baby’s naps can last from anywhere between 10 minutes to 4 hours. When your baby awakes, it is usually to be fed, burped and changed, after which your baby will go back to sleep. It’s important to remember that newborns can’t stay awake for too long at a time. Their “awake time” usually lasts up to an hour, after which they go back to sleep. As they grow older, this obviously increases and by 4-6 months, they can stay awake for up to 2 hours at a time. Some babies do tend to stay awake for longer periods but this can cause your baby to become overtired. An overtired baby is usually fussy, cranky and harder to manage. That’s why it’s important to make sure your baby naps frequently through the day.
Here’s a quick look at your newborn baby’s sleep schedule for the first three months.
|1-month old baby sleep schedule||Sleep duration ranges from 15 minutes to 3 hours at a time||Can stay awake for 35-45 minutes|
|2-month old baby sleep schedule||Sleep duration ranges from 15 minutes to 3 hours at a time||Can stay awake for up to 1 hour at a time|
|3-month old baby sleep schedule||Sleep duration ranges from 30 minutes to 3 hours at a time||Can stay awake for up to 1.5 hours at a time|
Why do newborns sleep so much?
Firstly, your newborn baby has a very tiny stomach and needs to be fed very often. Sleep is also important for your newborn baby’s growth and development. You might also wonder why your baby sleeps so much during the day. It’s because a newborn’s circadian rhythm is not properly developed and so, they cannot tell the difference between day and night. Hence, you cannot expect newborn sleep patterns to be like your own.
What is a newborn baby’s sleep cycle like?
A newborn baby’s sleep cycle lasts for about 40-50 minutes on average. Your baby’s sleep cycle has two phases: light sleep (REM sleep) and deep sleep (non-REM sleep). For the first few months, babies spend more time in REM sleep which is when most of their brain growth and development takes place. As babies spend more time in light sleep, they also wake very easily and frequently. When your baby is about 6 months, their sleep cycle will become longer and their REM sleep periods will reduce.
How can you help encourage proper sleep habits?
The most common question that most new parents ask is how to make a newborn baby sleep, and better still, how to make baby sleep through the night? Although your newborn’s sleep pattern is going to be irregular for a while and they won’t sleep through the night until they are a few months old, there are ways in which you can encourage good sleeping habits right from the start to make the routine easier for both you and your baby. Here are a few newborn baby sleep tips:
And yes, parents. We promise that you will get a good night’s sleep again someday. At around 6 months of age, your baby will start sleeping deeper and for longer periods. At this point, most babies start sleeping through the night. However, every baby is different and if your little one hasn’t reached this milestone yet, don’t worry. Keep working at establishing good sleep habits and a consistent bedtime routine and eventually, your baby’s sleep schedule will fall right into place. Good luck, parents. Got any questions for us? Leave them below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.