Newborn sleep schedule – What to expectx
For newborns, sleep is pretty unpredictable. That’s the unfortunate truth. Your newborn’s body clock hasn’t developed, so he doesn’t understand the difference between day and night yet. It’s also normal for some of his sleeps to be long, and others really short.
In a time filled with such uncertainty, one thing’s for sure. Starting your newborn on a loose schedule (or routine) will help this phase go so much easier for you.
Routines give parents peace of mind. Let me explain- once your baby is on a fairly consistent daily routine you’ll know how to decipher his cries. If he recently ate but is fussy, he must be tired or gassy. If he recently slept, you’ll know he’s hungry, etc…
The best way to help your newborn fall into a predictable sleep schedule (as soon as he’s developmentally ready) is to follow the tips from this article.
Is this normal newborn fussiness or colic or the “witching hour?”
Many newborns go through a period of increased fussiness. This often happens around the same time each day (usually evening.) This fussiness can start at 2-3 weeks old and peak around 6 weeks. It’s also called the “Witching Hour.”
Sometimes it’s caused by a growth spurt. Your baby fusses because he’s hungry and wants to feed often. Other times it’s caused by cognitive development. Your baby is becoming more aware of his world and taking in more. But, by the end of the day he’s overwhelmed and overstimulated and can’t help but have a meltdown. His neurological system is still immature and it’s difficult for him to process so much stimuli from his new world.
Colic is different than normal newborn fussiness. Colic is often diagnosed by the “rule of three.” Your baby cries for at least: 3 hours each day, 3 days per week, for 3 weeks. (Pass the wine, please!)
It’s important to rule out other causes of discomfort or crying in your newborn, so speak to your pediatrician if you’re concerned.
Pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp has helped thousands of parents learn how to calm their crying babies, using a the 5 S’s method he developed. These 5 S’s are Swaddle, Side-Stomach Position, Shush, Swing, and Suck.
Can I prevent SIDS?
It’s one of the biggest fears of every parent. (It definitely kept me awake and worried many nights when my daughter was a newborn.)
The good news is that you can reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS by more than 50% when you follow a few basic guidelines. First, make sure your baby’s sleep space is safe (this article tells you how.) Then, make sure your baby uses safe sleeping positions (explained more here.)