What to expect as a new parent? Expect the unexpected! Each human being is unique and different! As much as we want to plan and know what becoming a parent will be like, we really don’t know until we meet our little one. When it comes to newborn sleep and predictions of how much sleep we will be getting here is what we do know.
Newborn sleep expectations.
1. Newborn babies’ sleep cycles only last 30-45 minutes.
What does this mean? After 30-45 minutes they will wake up. At the end of each sleep cycle we all naturally wake up as we enter into the next sleep cycle. Adult sleep cycles are around 90-120 minutes long, and we get very good at going right into the next cycle. Babies on the other hand have to learn sleep skills, so they might wake up at the 45 minute mark, or they could slightly stir and continue on to sleep right into the next cycle.
2. A Newborn wake window.
Newborn babies can only tolerate being awake for 30-45 minutes, and this includes a feed. If your baby is cranky after eating and has only been awake for a half hour, the child is most likely tired. Everything is hard work for a newborn, even just looking around at the new world they are discovering. Honoring their wake window will help them sleep better and also save you from having a very cranky overtired baby.
3. The biggest newborn mistake.
The most common mistake parents make with newborns is waking them up when they are actually sleeping. Newborn babies are VERY noisy sleepers! They spend half of their time in REM sleep and half in Deep sleep. REM is a very active noisy sleep where they will be twitching, grunting, smiling, whimpering, and eyelids fluttering. Parents hear noise and think the baby is awake and get them up when they are still in their REM cycle. Instead, sit back and watch the child. It is pretty amazing to see them in this sleep stage and also let them get the rest they need! Trust me when I say they will let you know when they are awake and hungry.
Control what you can control.
Focus on these three things you can control as you go into becoming a parent. Another really important piece with newborns is safe sleep. Read all about SIDS Prevention and how to create a safe sleep environment. Get as much education and knowledge you can about children’s sleep. Sleep is SO important for a baby’s survival, development, and growth! Becoming a new parent isn’t just about “oh my child doesn’t want to sleep.”. As a parent you must help them learn independent sleep skills. You can find resources and programs that will help coach you through the whole process. It is never too early or too late to learn how to sleep! At Flourish Everyday Coaching we work with prenatal mamas, newborns, all the way to adults!