New born baby sleep

New born babies typically sleep for 16 to 18 hours in a 24-hour period.

If you and your baby had a particularly traumatic delivery, she might want to sleep all the time in the beginning, apart from when she wakes up for a feed.

During the first few days after the delivery, baby will need to rest and recover. Coming into the world must be exhausting. This will give a new mother a little time for extra sleep and a chance to recuperate a little. Gradually you will notice sleep patterns and cycles develop. While adults have sleep cycles of round 90 to 100 minutes long, going from slow wave sleep to REM, a baby from birth to around 6 months old will have shorter cycles of 45 to 50 minutes.

Babies have periods of quiet sleep and active sleep, basically lighter sleep and deep sleep. Have you ever noticed how your baby seems to be zonked out whilst sleeping in your arms yet as soon as you place her in her cot or crib she stirs and immediately starts to cry almost waking fully? If this sounds familiar then you baby was in a light sleep as you put her down in her crib. Often, if you wait for a little longer, for her to go into a deep sleep, she would quietly remain settled with eyes tightly closed and not noticed her change in environment.

Your new born baby will have sleep cycles of 45 to 50 minutes. During the transition between lighter sleep and deep sleep she may stir and need to be resettled. She also will stir from a deeper sleep at the end of a cycle for be fed or because she has other needs to be fulfilled such as a nappy change, wind, too hot too cold or contact with a parent. Most babies will need help to get to sleep, or will need help to learn how to put themselves to sleep. During the first month, its normal for a breast-fed baby to wake as often as every 2 hours for a feed. Because regular night waking in the early weeks and months is a survival mechanism for a new born and the oxytocin hormone secreted in mother’s milk is a natural sedative. Therefore, it’s quite usual for baby to associate nursing back to sleep as the only way to settle. Nursing to sleep is a very natural and healthy way to settle a young baby, it’s a great time for mother and baby bonding. These isn’t anything wrong with this and you should ignore anyone who suggests otherwise.

I’ve heard many times “never allow the baby to fall asleep on the breast” and I suggest if this advice is given you may wish to take it with a large pinch of salt as mother nature has her own opinion. Allowing your young baby to nurse for however long and often as she wishes when she wakes from a sleep develops a sense of security and comfort and apart from helping develop mother baby bond, allowing a new mother to feel relaxed and develop a good milk supply.