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Both for the arrival of your new little one, and for the wise decision to take action and educate yourself on the sleep needs of your newborn. Many of the parents I work with wish they had known then what they know now, they would have done many things differently. You are well on your way to having a super star sleeper in no time!

A Bit About Newborn Sleep!

Let’s learn a little about newborn’s sleep before we get into the Newborn Guide further. Babies are born with an immature circadian rhythm. It takes 2-4 months (8-16 weeks) to develop. During this development time days and nights can be mixed up, naps may be unpredictable, along with waking every 2 to 3 hours to eat around the 24 hour clock. 

Frequent daytime feeds and light exposure help adjust their circadian rhythms. Exposure to daylight is the best thing to help set the circadian rhythm. Each day should start off with the first feed in bright light. 

Newborns spend half of their time in deep sleep and the other 50% is in REM sleep. REM, or Rapid Eye Movement, is a very active stage of sleep. This can be why they have periods of sleeping really well, and periods of very noisy sleep while in the REM stage. It is normal for newborns to grunt and make all kinds of noise while sleeping, so try not to disturb them if this is the case. Their sleep cycles are about 30-60 minutes long. 

Newborns sleep about 14-20 hours a day. In the first two weeks, they should be eating, changing diapers, and right back to sleep. It is normal for newborns to be very sleepy.

After the 2 weeks their waketime window is usually 45 min – keep an eye on the clock, as some don’t show sleep cues. This means that they should be back to sleep 45 minutes from the time they woke. I advise starting to get them back to sleep after 30-35 minutes, so they can be back to sleep at the 45-minute mark. 

For newborns, night sleep usually develops before day sleep, which is quite normal, it’s what their body needs most. It is normal to have night waking’s! The rule of thumb is to feed them when they wake, especially in the first few weeks. 

Please be aware that some babies will not develop consistent or predictable daytime sleep until 3-6 months. It all depends on how the body clock develops, how the baby is developing, how the feeds are going, and how the baby is growing. 

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