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How Much Sleep My Newborn Baby Needs (0-3 months)

When your newborn first comes home it may seem your baby is sleeping all the time. And to a fatigued parent, it may feel your baby is just not sleeping as much as other babies. On the average a newborn sleeps 17 hours out of 24, with some babies sleeping 11 hours and others sleeping up to 20 hours a day. There are no straightforward answers to how much sleep your newborn needs as they have no regular patterns

True, most babies are very quiet and sleepy in the first 1-2 days following birth. After that they tend to become more active in the night, keeping you awake with their intermittent cries for either a feed, a diaper change or simply to be held. Though their alert periods are very short in the start, this will change and gradually lengthen by the time baby turns a month old.

There is a considerable variation in sleep patterns of every baby; therefore there is no right or wrong number of sleep hours or awake time for your baby. The main thing to look out for is if your baby is thriving, and adequate sleep helps achieve that.

Did you know..

• Sleep is very necessary to help babies and children of all ages to develop correctly in terms of physical, cognitive and emotional growth.

• Sleep is a learned behavior which can be influenced by surroundings, and because of that you are your baby's best guide when it comes to establishing appropriate sleep patterns.

• Regular feeding schedules that complement sleeping schedules help a great deal; newborns get driven into the sleep-wake cycle by the need to feed. It is a good idea to separate feeding time from sleeping time that is your baby should be awake during feeds. Typically newborns need to be fed every 2-3 hours.

• Sleep patterns differ with every baby (and child) although largely consistent across babies (and children) at the same stage of development.

• Sleep patterns are always changing though in a predictable way throughout childhood; it just doesn't stay the same.

Interesting Sleep Facts

There are two main kinds of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement). In REM sleep though the brain is active, you are actually in deep sleep. The heart and breathing rates tend to fluctuate along with your eyes under your eyelids. It is easier to wake up during this stage. NREM sleep is a deeper, restorative kind of sleep. During this stage breathing and heart rates are fairly consistent and because your brain is not as active, you do not dream as much. Newborns spend half of their sleeping time in REM sleep compared to adults who spend a quarter of their time in REM. Newborns go through REM and NREM every 50-60 minutes while adults do so every 90-110 minutes.

Babies from 0 to 6 months need to rely on parents a great deal to help them fall asleep; rocking, comforting etc is only to be expected in the early stages. Allowing your newborn to cry herself to sleep is inapt since crying is the only form of communication a baby knows. Allow your newborn some time to learn how to regulate her sleep pattern by learning from external cues so that she is able to differentiate between night and day. Roughly your baby is able to distinguish between night and day at around 2 months of age.

Like you, your baby wakes up several times in the night (a part of natural sleep cycle). If he is unable to lull himself back to sleep, your baby will cry out for help to be picked up and calmed back to sleep. A very common cause for sleepless nights, you can solve this problem by teaching your baby to soothe himself back to sleep.

Around 8-12 weeks sleep for your baby becomes more regular as her biological clock starts to develop. You can start guiding your baby into a day-night sleep routine. No two babies are alike and will display different tendencies; while some will sleep for five hours at a time others will still wake up for feeds every 2-3 hours.

Your baby will continue to wake several times in the night, like adults. There is no age at which a baby is guaranteed to sleep through the night. Babies just have to learn techniques to drift back to sleep without spoiling yours.

Did you know while your Baby sleeps..

• The brain cells replicate speedily. The brain is an active organ growing and making new connections at a fast speed, and good sleep helps in this area of development.

• Body tissue and muscles are built. Calories from milk convert into energy to provide your infant with warmth and help in his development.

• White blood cells are manufactured while your baby rests to help build her immunity against infection.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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