A series of guides, sleep schedules, and average sleep needs that outline realistic sleep expectations for each age.
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Realistic Sleep Expectations
Newborns are known for sleeping around the clock. They have yet to develop their circadian rhythm and have stomach SO small that they can only sleep for a short period of time before needing to wake again for a feed.
Newborn sleep needs are extremely variable, ranging from 11-18 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Some will nap for hours on end, others prefer little catnaps throughout the day. Both are healthy and restorative at this age.
Sleeping through the night and predictable daytime schedules are still far from being realistic expectations as the sleep centers in their brains have yet to mature and organize themselves. Bedtimes will likely be late, following a late afternoon / early evening period of cluster feeding.
The only thing predictable about this phase is it's unpredictability, but you should start to notice their days and nights differentiating sometime in the 2nd month of life.Reach out to a coach
Wakeful windows are quite short in newborns and are usually taken up by not much more than a feed, a diaper change and a couple of smiles before going right back to sleep. Here are some average guidelines to keep in mind:
A brand new baby's stomach is the size of a grape. Understandably, they can only drink small amounts at a time, and become hungry again quite quickly.
Breastfed babies tend to feed every 1.5-3 hours, while formula fed babies can often go slightly longer (2-4 hours).
Because newborns wake and feed around the clock, nighttime sleep is quite fragmented initially, with babies feeding at about the same frequency as they do during the day.
Around the 1-2 month mark is when a first longer (4-6 hour) stretch of sleep begins to appear at the beginning of the night.
Newborns spend about 50% of their time in a light stage of sleep, allowing them to wake easily to signal any need to their caregiver.
Growth spurts are characterized by periods of fussiness and increased feeding as newborns signal the need for more milk. It goes without saying that growth spurts can disrupt sleep during this time.
In breastfeeding parents, the demand is recognized immediately if baby is allowed to feed on demand, but it can take a couple of days for the breastfeeding parent's supply to adjust and meet this new need.
Once the supply increases, newborns feeds and sleep much better - and the growing happens!
At around the 6 week mark, newborns go through their first notable leap.
Anecdotally speaking, this is a period of time when newborns fight sleep like the plague. They tend to be fussier, cry more, and refuse many, if not all, naps. It's crazy making to say the least. But luckily it only lasts about a week.
A newborn relies on proximity to a parent to help them regulate their breathing, temperature and heart rate, as well as falling asleep.
This early co-regulation through rocking, bouncing, feeding, singing and touch is not only normal, but how a newborn begins to build his self-regulatory skills.
Newborns are in what’s called the “pre-attachment phase” from 0-6 weeks. In this phase, babies are not yet attached to any one caregiver and are pretty content being held or cared for by pretty much anyone, including strangers.
From 6 weeks until about 7 months of age, babies move into the “indiscriminate phase” of attachment where newborns begin to show preference for primary and secondary caregivers.
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