Right now, sleep is a luxury that was once taken for granted. Just to have five hours of uninterrupted rest probably sounds as close to bliss as you can imagine, yet it seems as though that will never happen – ever again. Don’t worry, it will, but we have to admit that most babies still wake to feed every two to three hours (sometimes stretching it to four hours at night if you have an exceptionally considerate baby) for the first six to eight weeks – give or take. And then it will most likely be another few months before the baby is sleeping through the night. We know it sounds impossible to get through this when you’re in week one, but before you know it, you’ll be looking back at this fuzzy, sleep deprived time and hardly remember it. (Probably because you’ve been half asleep this whole time.) Here are more tips worth knowing about your baby’s current sleep pattern:
- There’s not much parents have to do to encourage or schedule their baby’s sleep patterns during the first week. As you’ve probably noticed, they’ll sleep anywhere, anytime – whether it’s in the middle of a feeding or just as the family comes over to visit.
- The baby will sleep a whopping 14 to 18 hours a day right now, which seems as though you’d have plenty of time to sleep yourself, right? However, their irregular short naps (one or two hours at a time) don’t leave nearly enough time for you to feel rejuvenated.
- It’s assumed that babies need these short naps in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep to aid in their development.
- Don’t let your baby go three hours without nursing or four hours without drinking formula at this stage.
- Put your baby to sleep on his or her back to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Sometimes, depending on the time of day your baby entered the world, his or her internal clock might be off, thinking day is night and night is day. Even though the baby will be sleeping around the clock at almost even intervals, your baby might take his four-hour sleeping stretch in the middle of the afternoon and be more alert and awake at night. Don’t worry – the problem will fix itself before you know it, mostly because our biological clocks are automatically programmed to be awake when it’s light and sleepy when it’s dark. However, starting a bedtime routine – like shower, baby massage, story, bed – will help indicate that it’s time to get sleepy.
Where Should Baby Sleep?
You have quite a few options when it comes to you and your baby’s sleeping arrangements – some more recommended than others. We think you should have an open mind, ultimately choosing the option that allows the most people to get the most sleep.
- In a bassinet or cradle, in your room. This is the most popular option with many experts, citing the in-room convenience of around-the-clock feedings, but with the safety of putting the newborn in his or her own space. And with all sleeping option, experts agree that babies should sleep on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Co-sleeping. The more traditional, attachment-parenting method, co-sleeping is when the newborn is brought to sleep in your own bed. While this is most convenient for those breastfeeding, the use of pillows, comforters and soft mattresses are hot spots for SIDS controversy. There have also been rare cases of adults rolling over and suffocating their baby. Despite these risks, for people all around the world, it’s still a very popular and comforting way to sleep.
- Co-sleeper bassinet. A hybrid between the former two options, a co-sleeper bassinet allows the baby to be close to Mommy while still having a separate, safe sleeping space.
- A crib in the nursery. Some parents decide to go for the gusto and just place the baby in his or her own room from the get-go. You didn’t spend all that time decorating for the room to remain empty, now did you?