Every newborn is a mystery… Every. Single. One. Who is this little person? What will they like? Dislike? We don’t know yet – and finding out is our favourite bit of the adventure.
What we doknow is that newborns have a whole sleep thing going, and it’s a wild ride if you don’t know what to expect. So below we have laid out some of what you have coming – better to be prepared, right?
Day and night, night and day…
Newborns spend their first few months of life with little concept of day and night, and for for the first six weeks, they are establishing their circadian rhythm (internal body clock – the same one that tells us when it’s bed time, or on a bad day, if wine or coffee is more appropriate…). It is very normal for babies to confuse day and night and also have inconsistent sleep times – sorry! While we don’t recommend sleep training until after 3 months of age, there are things you can do to make sure they’re getting enough shut-eye to be their best happy, healthy selves.. We have eat/play/sleep guidelines in our Newborn Package for 0-6 weeks, 6-9 weeks and 9-12 weeks – that’s how quickly it changes!
So much to do, so little time
Newborns spend most of their early life eating and sleeping – sounds good, right? But you need to keep an eye on the clock, because until they are 6 weeks old, the maximum amount of time they should stay awake is 1 hour 15 minutes, and that only increases to up to 1.5 hours by 3 months old (this is different for each baby – it could be a little less but it really shouldn’t be more). It’s a fine line as if they have less, they’re not tired enough to sleep, and more, they can be overtired and unable to sleep!
The other trick here is that once you factor in a nappy change, a feed (which can take a while in the early days) and a cuddle, sometimes ‘play time’ is only a few minutes so make sure you enjoy that cuddle!
They tell you when they’re tired – really!
Tired signs are physiological changes in your baby that means it’s time for them to sleep and every baby has their own tired signs, pretty much right from the start. Our babies got red eyebrows and a handy extra wrinkle that would appear under each eye, which meant ‘bed now, mum, and I mean NOW’. By watching and learning, you may save yourself a lot of heartache and tears (both yours and your babe’s).
Newborn tired signs could include: frowning, pulling at ears, sucking on fingers, difficulty focusing or zoning out, jerky arm or leg movements, yawning (this is a late sign so into bed quick smart, mama!) rubbing eyes – but it is different for everyone.
And last but not least: most of the time, crying is not a tired sign – it’s an overtired sign. See if you can figure out what came before the crying and you’re on your way to knowing your baby’s tired signs.
Newborn sleep can be a ride alright, but hold on – it doesn’t last forever, we promise.
Download our NEWBORN program HERE