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Newborn Care Topics..

You are here : home > Newborn Care > Baby's Sleeping > Establishing a Night-time Sleep Pattern

Establishing a Night-time Sleep Pattern

Establishing a Night-time Sleep Pattern

Newborns take time adjusting to the new environment. Establishing a sleeping pattern for the baby should be a gradual process. Here, learn about the sleep pattern of newborn babies and know how to establish a sleeping pattern for your baby.

How is a newborn baby’s sleep pattern like?

Like adults, newborn babies do not sleep for long hours in one go. Overall, they sleep for 16 to 18 hours. They usually take short naps of two to four hours throughout the day and night. This may continue for several weeks. Therefore, you may also have to get-up in the middle of night quite a few times for attending to her needs. She may go back again to sleep after you comfort her, feed her or change her nappy. In the beginning you may find it a little tiring but slowly you will get used to it. Your baby may also settle down as the time passes.

Why can’t babies sleep for long hours at a stretch like adults?

Babies undergo a lot of changes. Like adults they cannot sleep for long hours at a stretch due to the crucial neurological developments that are going on in them. So, you need to calm yourself down and adjust in order to meet the needs of your newborn.

When should I try to establish a sleeping pattern for my baby?

You must realize that the world is a bewildering place for your newborn. It is your job to make her feel loved and secure in the initial stages even if it means waking up for the sixth time in four hours at night to attend to her needs. The baby must feel that when she cries out, you care enough to respond. Do not try and discipline her into regulating her sleeping hours till she is more secure and feels more in control of her surroundings. Your baby must learn to fall asleep on her own, but leaving her to cry it out is a step that should not be taken until after the first few months have elapsed.

How do I teach my baby the difference between night and day?

Make a clear distinction between day and night. During the day make her sleep in a pram, pushchair or outdoors. Avoid darkening the room and reducing the noise level when she naps in the day. When she wakes up, engage her in stimulating activity. Do the opposite at night. When you put your baby to sleep, ensure that she is contented and comfortable, darken the room and quiet things down. When she wakes up at night, feed her without playing with her or distracting her in any other way.

You can also establish a bedtime routine. An ideal way to begin is by giving your baby a warm bath to relax her. Cuddle her and read her a bedtime story or sing her a lullaby. Make saying goodnight a part of the bedtime ritual. Teach your baby to kiss everybody goodnight before you leave the room. Turn on a night light if you think your baby is scared of the dark.

When do babies learn to sleep for longer?

After 7 to 9 weeks your baby will continue to get-up at night when she is hungry. Babies may also get-up when they feel uncomfortable due to wet nappies. Although, it is not advisable to use diapers or nappy pads for very small babies, using diapers, nappy pads or nappy liners at night may help to reduce the frequency of babies getting-up at night. You may seek your doctor’s advice on diaper usage at night.

After the period of 5 to 8 months your baby may learn to sleep for longer hours. During this time babies may sleep for at least 8 to 12 hours at night. Some babies may take even longer to develop this pattern.

All babies are not the same. Some babies may take even longer to start sleeping for long hours at a stretch. Some babies may even continue to get-up at night even after completing 1 year of their age. But there is no need to worry as you will not even come to know when the time flies and your baby gets habituated to a good sleep pattern.

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Janvi.9 years ago
my son is 7 months old and just refuses to sleep at night. he sleeps almost throughout the day. me and my husband take turns to entertain him or try to make him sleep at night.
Christyl.9 years ago
try to keep baby up during the day by taking outings, controlled crying works if you can handle it or if hes wanting to be fed feed him dinner before bedtime and only offer water to him at night, it worked with my son.
Tracey.9 years ago
my baby wakes up in the middle of thenight to come in bed with me and i don't know what to do
Mariela.9 years ago
my baby is 8 months and he still does not sleep at night. he wokes up crying all the time. i live with my inlaws, so it is hard to let him crying till he falls sleep. please i need help, since i am going crazy here
Chris.9 years ago
my wife and i had somewhat of the same problem, sleeping through the day and not at night. as much as you can, try to keep your child awake during the day. no matter how much he fusses, keep him a wake. at times, he will need to take naps, but only naps. over time, he will adjust to sleeping at night because he's not getting his sleep during the day. i hope this helps.
hey hey hey people! want some great advice from a little bird? there is a saying that a child needs just three days to change his habits. the sooner the better. so try to put your kid in his cot the first day (start it from thursday so that at the end of third day you will have weekend to take rest) during bedtime and draw the curtains and leave the room. he would at first get a bit confused and then cry but mind you that will be a cry of protest that no one is there to pat him or cradle him to sleep! after a while he might either stop crying and go to sleep or go on crying for another hour or so... but control yourself by not showing your face to him. maybe if he is persistant then go and soothe him for a while to go to sleep by putting your hand on his body and rubbing it gently on him. next, get ready for the second day, allow him to crib and protest again during night...but again don't try to enter his room. i know its is going to be really hard...i'm telling you all this by experience! be ready for the final third day when your kid will finally realise that you mean it when you put him to bed and draw the curtains and leave the room - sleep time folks!;o))
Ginny.9 years ago
my baby slept throught the night at 6 weeks, 12 hours a night, then, at 4 1/2 months, she started waking 2 times a night again, and the only thing that will get her back to sleep is feeding her. i have tried and tried to let her cry, but, she won't stop and i have 3 other kids that i don't want her to wake up. i am my wit's end trying to get her to sleep all night again. she will be 6 months old in 1 week.
erika.9 years ago
i think letting your baby "cry it out" for long periods of time is cruel. if you have the power to soothe your baby, whether it means staying up at night a little longer or getting out of bed to pick him up to show him you care, why would you want him to cry and feel a sense of desparation? babies are just that..babies and they need constant love and care. to let him cry it out will make your baby feel like he is left all alone and helpless and that is just cruel. the best thing to do is not to let your baby take long naps during the day. if he normally takes a one hour nap, wake him after 30 mins and play with him or take a stroll. keep your baby active during the day and stimulate his brain with games and toys, and he will get tired at night because of all the stimulation. not only will your baby get smarter, but you will get more sleep at night to if you spend the time stimulating him during the day.
mandm.9 years ago
we started the same routine for our second child as we did for our first. give them those first 2 (zombie) weeks to adjust to being in the big wide world. then you must begin the same routine every night. dinner, bath and bed. you must do it within the same time every evening. it takes them a few nights but in the end they get the idea. we have stuck to this routine since our daughter was born in 2000. now we have our 6 month old boy in bed at 6.30pm every night and our daughter in bed at 7.30pm. that leaves us some special time to ourselves. heaven!!!!
Dave.9 years ago
your opinion that baby should be sleeping through thte night at six months is inaccurate and misleading. every baby is different so to try and set a standard for all babies is nonsensical. leaving a baby to cry is cruel and psychologocal damaging because they will learn their needs are unimportant. the greatest gift you can give your baby is to let her/him know that you are there for them always.
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