Baby Sleep- Newborn sleep patterns

The first twelve weeks of a newborns sleep pattern can be exhausting for first time parents. Sleep deprivation due to a newborn only sleeping for short periods of time is quite a grueling experience.

Baby Sleep:

Newborn sleep cycles vs. adults

When a baby first falls asleep, she enters into “active sleep.”  This is characterised by fluttering eyelids; relatively rapid, irregular breathing; occasional body movements; and noises such as grunts or brief cries. Your baby has a different sleep pattern to adults. A baby will sleep in short cycles, which can vary from 30 minutes- 4 hours. This may be due to the fact that a baby must feed frequently. This restless sleep state is the newborn-equivalent of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep in adults. Just as adults are more likely to awaken during REM, a baby is more likely to awaken during their active sleep.

A baby may remain in this active sleep state for 25 minutes or more, after which they enter into the “quiet sleep.” Quiet sleep is characterized by slower, more rhythmic breathing, with little movement, and no eyelid fluttering. A baby is less likely to wake up during their quiet sleep. A baby will spend at least 50% of their sleep time in active sleep whereas adults spend only 20% of their sleep time in REM.

Baby Sleep- Tips to help a baby with their sleep;

Reduce stimulation at night. Expose your newborn to natural lighting patterns. Try infant massage- baby sleep may improve. Breastfeed if possible.

Tips on how to keep your light sleeper from waking all the way up

If your newborn falls asleep and you need to move them, wait until they are in quiet sleep when they are less likely to waken. Swaddling is very useful in the early days as their arms won’t flay about causing them to wake up and keep your baby sleeping Feed your baby well. Sleep and rest when your baby is asleep, this will help with your supply of milk if your breastfeeding.