5 Surprising Things About Newborn Sleep

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5 Things You Might Not Know About Newborn Sleep

A newborn experiences huge changes in her environment after birth. Just imagine the cosy warmth of womb where food is always supplied and baby can sleep whenever they want. Then imagine having to adjust to different temperatures, light levels, having to wear clothes on delicate skin. The whole ambience of their surroundings has changed and it must be quite a shock. All this means that newborns need time to adjust and get used to these massive changes. 

Newborns Do Not Need Pin-Drop Silence

Newborns are usually used to a lot of commotion and noise, since they have spent a good nine months in their mother’s womb. Therefore, you do not need to be particularly careful around them, they can even sleep with the lights on, or with plenty of background noise. Most newborns relax when listening to baby white noise such as heartbeat and womb sounds which mimic the familiar sound of the womb. 

“Most young babies can sleep in the noisiest, brightest places,” says Charles Shubin, director of pediatrics at Mercy Family Care in Baltimore, “They don’t need the same kind of sleep environment we do.”

On the contrary, research reveals that they tend to sleep better with a repeated sound of a machine or the fan. Therefore, you do not need to drive people out of your room or create a night time environment for your baby to sleep. What you should do is cherish the time while the “sleeping phase” lasts, after that all that awaits you is endless hours of sleepless nights.

Newborns Have Their Own Personalities

Newborns have varied set of sleep personalities, some try their best to ward off drowsiness, while others happily embrace it and enjoy sleeping. 

“There are definitely individual differences in how babies sleep, just as there are light sleepers and heavy sleepers among adults,” says pediatrician Cohen

If you have more than one child, you would probably be able to relate to this and can compare the extent to which sleep personalities differ, amongst various children.

Some Newborns Sleep All Day and Party All Night!

Depending on which part of the day your baby was born, his body clock would operate accordingly, especially during the first few weeks. There is a possibility that they would sleep all day and stay up, racking your brains, all night. The best way to survive this period is to take a nap, whenever your baby sleeps. Having said that, this irregularity in sleep behavior is only temporary and as the baby matures, physically and mentally, sleeping routine would automatically get fixed.

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Newborn Sleep is Unpredictable

If you think the weather is the most unpredictable thing ever, you couldn’t be more wrong. During the early stages of an infant’s life, after the birth process, he/she is thoroughly sleep deprived and tries to make up for the loss sleep by sleeping at inappropriate hours. Usually, a newborn sleeps for only a few hours, at a stretch and then wakes up again, with a soiled nappy or hunger pangs. Research reveals that newborns sleep about 14-18 hours, on average, but this figure reduces, as the baby grows up. Therefore, you cannot simply predict when and where your newborn will go to sleep. Never make the mistake of keeping your baby from sleeping.  A newborn needs his fair share of sleep and this is certainly not the time to work on his sleeping habits by sleep training. Wait until baby is older – around 4 months or more. 

Newborns Need a Safe Sleeping Place 

When you think of the ideal sleeping place for your child, what is the first thing that comes to mind? A wooden crib with a soft and cozy cushioning, right? Various pediatricians have discovered that, perhaps the most ideal setting for a newborn to sleep in is a flat and firm mattress, with a soft blanket to keep them warm. Stuffing your baby’s crib with toys and stuffed animals would only restrict his sleeping space, not to mention the risk of suffocating your baby. Therefore, make sure you clear out the sleeping space and make it as spacious as possible. No crib ‘bumpers’ or padding should ever be used with a young baby who cannor control their sleeping position. 

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Our Experts

Our Expert

Jane Cooke - Baby Sleep Expert