Understanding Your Newborn’s Sleep Patterns

Every new parent knows that having a newborn often means learning to cope with sleepless nights. Unfortunately, infant sleep schedules can be erratic and unpredictable at first, making it hard for new parents to know how long and how often their newborn should sleep.

A typical newborn spends the majority of time sleeping, waking only for feedings every few hours. This is especially true for the first few weeks, when they can sleep as much as 18 out of 24 hours. Unlike adults, who can easily move from one sleep cycle to the next without completely waking up, newborns do not stay in deep (REM) sleep for long periods of time. This means they are more susceptible to waking up frequently. On average, babies also wake up to eat at least every 3 hours (how often your baby eats depends on their age and what they are being fed.) To further add to parental stress, many newborns get their days and nights confused and think they are supposed to be awake at night and sleep during the day.

Most babies do not begin sleeping through the night without waking until at least three months of age, or until they weigh 12 to 13 pounds. But this can vary considerably, as growing babies undergo physiological changes that can affect their sleep cycle and patterns. Some babies do not sleep through the night until closer to their first birthday.

Many babies are not be able to establish their own sleeping and waking patterns. To help their babies become good sleepers, parents must first recognize the signs of sleep readiness, such as rubbing their eyes, yawning and fussing. Then they must teach baby to fall asleep by themselves and provide the right environment for comfortable sleep. Most experts recommend that parents allowing a baby to become sleepy in their arms, then place him or her in the bed while still awake so they can fall asleep on their own. Playing soft music is also a good way to help create a relaxing bedtime routine.

Many new moms and dads enlist the help of a baby nurse as they transition to their roles as parents. At Dorson Home Care, our trained baby nurses provide in-home support, guidance and education. They specialize in helping to establish newborn bedtime routines, as well as organizing the nursery, helping with feedings and showing parents how to deal with common issues like colic, gas and excessive crying. We offer full-time, part time and 24-hour services in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, and Somerset counties. Dorson Home Care is fully licensed by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and is accredited by PCS & Skilled Services.

Thinking about becoming a baby nurse? Dorson Vocational Training Institute offers a comprehensive Baby Nurse training course that covers all aspects of baby care. We are fully licensed by the State of New Jersey and our courses are certified by The National Health Association. To learn more about our online Baby Nurse course or other healthcare classes and programs, call 973-676-6300 or click here to register and fill out our online form. We’re happy to answer your questions!