Expectations of Newborn Sleep
Recently I have worked with a number of parents of newborns who had very high expectations of their baby’s sleep. As a Sleep Consultant, I am trained to apply the science babies’ sleep and teach parents how to settle their newborns, but newborns are unique to work with, and here is why:
* Newborns sleep a lot! And by that, I mean 16 hours or more a day for a healthy full term newborn.
* Newborns’ biological clocks are still immature, they don’t know night from day and they don’t produce melatonin (which is the sleep hormone).
* Newborns can only be awake for short periods at a time, which means their sleep is also broken up into small segments and their sleep is divided equally over night and day.
Many parents ask, “Why can’t my newborn sleep for longer periods?” The answer is, that your baby is hungry. When they are born, their stomach is only the size of a marble and it empties very quickly. Because of this, there is little you can do to stop your newborn from waking frequently, but here is what you can do:
* You can ensure your baby has the right environment to sleep in.
* You can start to teach your newborn the difference between nighttime and daytime.
* You can settle them to sleep when they are tired so that they don’t become overtired and unsettled. Never leave a newborn to cry it out, they are not developmentally ready to put themselves to sleep and they need your help.
All of the consultants at Baby Sleep Consultant Australia are experts in new-born sleep. We can provide advice to you before your baby is even born, or we can work directly with you to support your baby’s sleep from 3 weeks of age. Our newborn packages are here.
Narisha – Sydney based Certified infant and child sleep consultant