Ask any parent of a newborn what their biggest parental struggle is, and it is probably getting their baby to sleep through the night. If you find you are struggling with this, understanding what changes your baby is going through might help you meet their needs during the first one to three months.
They’re Still Developing a Circadian Rhythm
During the first months of your baby’s life, they are still developing their circadian rhythm, which means they might have difficulties distinguishing between day and night. The first week, babies tend to need between 16 and 18 hours of sleep per day spread out half during the day and half during the night. After the first two weeks, babies average between 15 and 17 hours of sleep needed total. This means they should be sleeping between 8.5 hours and 10 hours in the evening and 6 to 7 hours during the day.
Feed Your Baby Often
When your baby is first born, their stomach is very small. Meaning, they will digest the breast milk or formula you are feeding them in as little as three hours. Make sure you are feeding your newborn often. If you feed them right before bed, they will likely sleep longer through the night. Don’t worry that you should wake your baby up if they do not wake up after three hours, though. This sleeping schedule will only be temporary though as by the third month, your child’s stomach will have grown to allow them to stay fuller, longer.
Keep Baby Sleeping Safe and Sound
Studies have shown that babies who sleep on their stomachs are at a much higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome. In fact, babies who sleep on their stomachs could end up obstructing their breathing and rebreathing their own carbon dioxide. Keep soft bedding, stuffed animals or other soft pillows out of the crib. One way to ensure your baby is breathing through the night is to use a baby oxygen monitor. Get yours here.
Swaddle, Swaddle, Swaddle
Your baby is used to living inside you. Swaddling them provides them with the similar feeling of being inside the womb. Your baby will sleep sounder if they are snugly wrapped in a thin blanket. When wrapping your child, make sure his or her ears and face are not covered.
For more information about how to help your baby sleep better, check out these other resources.