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Normal Sleep Patterns

Newborns sleep about 14-20 hours a day and it is recommended they get at least 14-17 hours of sleep for the first 12 weeks a day split up into fragments.  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.

Newborns up until need so much sleep in these first 12 weeks because their brains and bodies are growing at a rapid rate therefore good sleep is necessary for their physical, mental and emotional development.  Even when they are sleeping their brain is still working hard and making new connections.

If you wanting a sleeping schedule every day its best to reveal now that is not such a thing.  By attempting to following the same strict sleeping schedule day by day will just bring frustration and feeling of failure.  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.  However if feeling a little lost and wanting some direction there is no harm and giving it a go in trying to follow a sleep schedule and seeing how it goes.  At the end you can find a Sleep Schedule to try provided by Evie Bonney (Sleep Consultant).

Frequent daytime feeds and light exposure help adjust their circadian rhythms. Evie recommends Exposure to daylight is the best thing to help set the circadian rhythm. Choose the time you want each day to start off and do 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.

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.

Encourage "Twelve Hours of Day, Twelve Hours of Night"

This will help baby babies establish your baby’s natural circadian rhythm. An example daytime routine flow provided by Evie Bonney (Sleep Consultant) for a baby can look like this:

**Important: Follow wake times- not the clock. Do not Exceed Age-Appropriate Wake Times. Newborn babies (up to three months old) will need to take 4-5 naps per day, and these naps should ideally be between one to two hours. 

Cap any individual nap at 2.5 hours, to keep daytime feedings on track.

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