Newborn Sleep

5 Facts You Should Know About Newborn Sleep

After I delivered my firstborn, I received around-the-clock attention from doctors and nurses. But, when it was time to leave the hospital and go home, I remember asking my favorite nurse, "Will you come home with me?" and I truly meant it!

I had so many questions and I was overwhelmed by my lack on answers.

One of the most pressing questions with a new baby is how to handle sleep. Everyone has heard stories about how once you have a baby, you will never sleep again, among many other myths and wives' tales about infant sleep. As a child sleep consultant, and a mom who chose to prioritize sleep, I discovered that sleep is a learned skill.

Here are some facts about sleep that can help you navigate this new world:

Fact #1: Newborns should NOT be sleeping through the night.
A newborn's circadian rhythm* is not developed, nor are their stomachs large enough to go without eating for more than a few hours at a time. It is completely normal for your baby to have his days and nights confused and to sleep/wake in frequent but random patterns. To help them develop this rhythm, you can start to organize their sleep by keeping it light during the day and by maintaining normal household volume; while keeping it dark and minimizing activity during nightly feedings and diaper changes.

*Circadian rhythm: The physical, mental, and behavioral changes that roughly follow a 24-hour cycle, and respond mainly to light and darkness.

Fact #2: Newborns do NOT have the skills to self-soothe or cope. They must learn these skills from their parent(s) or guardian.
Newborn babies don't have many ways to communicate with us, so they typically cry when they need something or are unhappy. They also spent the last 38-40ish weeks being cuddled and rocked to sleep. Meeting your baby's needs by creating a routine that includes holding, comforting, feeding, and placing her on her back to sleep will make her feel secure and happy so she can continue to develop properly and will eventually learn healthy sleep habits on her own.

Fact #3: Newborns need A LOT of sleep.
New babies need 16-20 hours of sleep each day. This sleep starts off as approximately two-hour stretches followed by 30-60-minute periods of being awake. As baby grows and develops in the first six months of life, the frequency of waking and sleep will slow and baby will spend longer stretches during the day awake, and longer stretches at night asleep. 
Eventually, baby will stay awake most of the day with a few naps in between and will stay mostly asleep throughout the night with a few short periods of being awake.

Fact #4: Babies show cues and meet sleep milestones that can help you establish routines.
Between the ages of 6-8 weeks, baby begins to show more signs of being aware of his surroundings, and has begun to learn facial expressions along with other social cues. Watching for these things can help you determine what your baby's needs are. Around this age is a good time to establish consistent routines surrounding bedtime such as putting baby to bed at the same time each night.

Fact #5: Every baby is different and we can help you navigate what works best for your family.
Despite the facts about sleep it is important to understand that every baby is different! Every baby reaches milestones at different times and every baby needs different things from their parent(s) or guardian. Our individualized sleep consulting services will instill confidence in you and help you to learn to read you baby's cues while also establishing some solid routines that work best for your baby, and your family.

***Stay tuned for an announcement about our NEW newborn sleep class that is scheduled launched early this summer!***

As a mom of four children, I too went through these struggles and found myself unsure and worried at times. With the right tools and support, I was able to find a solution that works best for our family, and I am confident you will too. If you find yourself needing some extra support, knowledge, and guidance, please don't hesitate to reach out as I would love to help.

Authored by: Audrey McCoy, Certified Child Sleep Consultant- SleepWell Baby
Edited by: Kaity Klotzbach


For more information about the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) safe sleep recommendations click HERE
To schedule a FREE 15-minute phone consult with Audrey McCoy, please contact her at
audrey@sleepwellbaby.ca

How I Slept Through the Night, Even With a Newborn!
(Guest Blog)

"Sleep when the baby sleeps!” Yeah right. Every new and seasoned mom has heard this tidbit of knowledge when bringing home a new baby; I’m no exception. Even on baby number three well-meaning friends and family told me this. Sure it’s a great idea, but hardly practical. My husband didn’t get paternity leave, and all our family lives out of town. So I was right back to the same household duties that I had pre-newborn baby: 

-laundry to do
-suppers to make
-lunches to pack
-dishes to wash
-homework to help with
-a dog to walk

You get the picture.

I had all of this work to do while caring for and breastfeeding a new daughter while recovering from her birth. I was fortunate to not have anything major to recover from, but even an ‘easy’ labor and delivery are no joke! Add to that returning to work on the horizon, and the sleep deprivation and stress adds up fast.  

I attended an event looking for a chiropractor for my baby, and met Kaity Klotzbach, owner of Northeast Iowa Doulas. She told me all about postpartum care, and I’ll be the first to tell you I was hesitant. I was concerned what people would think, or even what the doulas would think of my parenting choices, but I’ll also be the first to tell you I was SO wrong and it was SO worth it! Not only did Kaity match me up with Kelly, a postpartum doula who was perfect for our family, but they all supported every decision I made without making me feel bad or wrong about it. I’m terribly sad I didn’t know these magical people existed 10 years ago when I had my first baby! 

I was breastfeeding and using a co-sleeping crib, which was going well - but I usually went to bed much later than my kids, and got up much earlier. This was because I was trying to get all the other household tasks done while I had longer uninterrupted breaks. Having an overnight doula allowed me to go to bed and wake up at reasonable times, because she took care of many of the light household chores for me - folding laundry, washing dishes, and meal prepping. On a couple occasions when my daughter was fussy and just wanted to be held, Kelly stepped in and kept her happy until she needed to nurse again, allowing me to sleep. After one particularly rough night, I woke up that morning surprised {and admittedly a bit panicked} to have slept in quite late - only to find my doula had gotten my other two kids up and fed and ready for school! 

Getting a full night of sleep, even a few nights a week, made me feel so much happier and healthier - physically and emotionally. Our overnight postpartum doula took immense stress off me, allowing me to actually enjoy bonding with my new baby and having extra quality time with my other kids and husband! This was going to be our last baby - but knowing what I know now about postpartum doula support, another baby would be a breeze!

Are you ready to get more sleep during the night so you can be well-rested and ready to take on the day ahead? Take the next step by contacting Northeast Iowa Doulas at (319) 361-6984 or info@northeastiowadoulas.com to learn more. You and your entire family will be so happy you did!

Authored by: Trish Morfitt, Waterloo, Iowa
 

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