As a doula, I find sleep issues are often the most discussed topic with new parents. There is so much information out there, parents feel they should ‘get it right’. However, I find myself continually saying,”Every baby is different!”. “The needs of every baby differ from day to day.” “The needs of your baby will vary.” JUDY
Below you will find numerous articles on sleep needs, patterns, and habits. In my extensive experience no baby fits perfectly into any of these theories! “Ouch”, you say. Parents want a particular plan to follow. They want a list of do’s and don’ts that will provide the perfect sleep patterns in their newborn, infant, or toddler. I am so sorry, but that perfect solution does not exist!!! Let me repeat myself, there is no perfect solution for all sleep issues!!! You and your baby will develop patterns, yes there will be many, suitable to your situation. They will change over time. And you will survive! I promise!!!!
Many articles tell you your newborn should sleep 16 – 20 hours in the days after birth. Theoretically this means your newborn will be awake 4 – 8 hours per day. This must take into account breastfeeding, because I do not know of newborns awake for up to 8 hours per day. Newborns eat, sleep, and eat some more. Eating/ breast or bottle feeding is a lot of activity for a newborn. After 30 minutes of feeding most babies are exhausted and fall asleep immediately. Even producing a burp is almost more than they can do.
You may have the extraordinary newborn who is social immediately. This, however, is the exception. Babies practice this sleep/eat/sleep pattern for approximately 6 weeks. Enjoy your little one sleeping on your chest during these first weeks. It is a precious time. And it is short lived. Around 6 weeks your baby will become more active and you will no longer feel safe leaving him on your chest. He will start exercising his neck, looking around, and responding to outside stimuli. This is as it should be. You baby is moving on from newborn to infant.
Relax and let your baby teach you his or her needs regarding sleep. I encourage you to take the first several weeks of your baby’s life and let your baby teach you what she needs. Allowing this quiet, un-rushed development will help you become acquainted with your baby. Forcing your newborn to fit into your schedule will simply delay the inevitable.
Look over these articles and let me know what you think. I am more than happy to answer your questions!
Sleep and Your Baby The Center for Advanced Pediatrics
Sleep and Your 1 to 2 Year Old
Mommy Potamus THAT MOM: 90 Minute Sleep Miracle Newborn sleep helps
BY MRS. BEE
TIPS FOR GREAT SLEEP
The Center for Advanced Pediatrics