Newborn Sleep: the first 8 weeks
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Sleep > Newborn Sleep: the first 8 weeks
My daughter is about 8 weeks old and goes to bed anywhere from
12-2am. How do I get her to go to bed sooner? I've tried
waking her during the day to play, no naps longer than 3 hours
during the day.. swaddling her and turning the lights out at
night. Is it even possible to train an infant this young? Any
advice would be greatly appreciated.
My son is also 8 weeks old and he now falls asleep between 9
and 11 pm and sleeps for 6-8 hours straight without waking up.
I don't know if I should be taking any credit for his schedule
or he is just naturally that way (and of course I realize that
infants can change their habits for no apparent reason and my
luck can disappear just like that), but in any case, here's
what I do. First of all, I swaddle him at night but not during
they day (especially after 1 pm or so), so his afternoon naps
are fairly short - from 40 minutes to an hour and a half. If he
sleeps for more than an hour and a half in the afternoon, I
would actually wake him up. And I try not to let him nap after
6 pm or so. Secondly, I give him a lot of tummy time in the
afternoon, which he enjoys and this way he spends a lot of his
energy holding his head up, struggling and grunting (of course,
if you daughter isn't holding her head very well yet or hates
being on her stomach, I would find another way for her to
exercise). I also give my son his bath around 8pm, which seems
to relax him before the night (again, might not work if your
child hates baths, which was the case with my first son). And
lastly, I feed him more frequently after 6 pm, so the total
amount of milk my son gets in the evening before going to bed
seems to be enough for him not get hungry for the next 6-8
hours. I am very consistent with this schedule and hopefully
him sleeping through the night is an established habit by now,
but of course we will see. By the way, we did the same thing
with my now 3-year-old older son, who has also started sleeping
through the night around that time and we've never had any
problems with his night routine.
by the time you get responses this phase may have passed! i have
2 children under 2 years and i can tell you there is no solution
to this stage of baby development. get a sleep book (''healthy
sleep habits, happy child'') that defines these stages for you. it
helps to know what is coming and how little you can do to change
it. it is a phase of development that is normal in all babies. in
regards to training the earliest i could get #2 on a schedule
(8am nap, 1pm nap - both about 1.5 hrs, bedtime at 5pm and up at
6am) was around 5.5 to 6 months (she is almost 7 months now).
just keep pushing for that earlier bedtime. that will take a
couple weeks for 10pm, couple more for 9pm, etc. but that earlier
bedtime drives nap schedules, etc. don't waste time waking your
child during the day - it does nothing. get rest while you can.
Eight weeks--oh, my! Your daughter is too young for sleep
training. Let her sleep when she sleeps during the day (this will
do wonders), accept when she won't sleep at night. Take her into
the sun when she is awake during the day if you think her
day/night cycle is off.
And wait. She will settle in, and in a few more months, if you
are still up late, you can start adjusting her sleep. It's a
tough time for you, but it will get better!
Yikes! First of all, 8 week olds are still supposed to sleep some
huge percentage of the time, so I think what you are saying is
that one of her lengthy awake times is in the late, late, late
evening. And it is not really possible to do any kind of ''sleep
training'' at this point, all you can do is kind of get her on
board with the rest of the planet with the day/night thing. In
other words, it's not a question of ''wearing her out'' so she'll
sleep more, it's just switching her sleep times around. One thing
you didn't mention trying is making sure she is in the sunlight
during the day, of course not in direct sun getting a sunburn but
some time outside and curtains and blinds of the house open. I've
heard that it's especially helpful to get out of the house and in
the sunlight in the afternoon. So try that and make sure you are
not wearing her out too much, letting her snooze as much as she
wants at least one other time in the day, so she is not
over-tired, since that disrupts sleep. A good time for an extra
long nap might be the morning, since that will power her up for
the day. Oh, one more thing, you might try putting her down ''for
the night'' at 7 or whenever her last ''nap'' is, even though you
know she is going to get up to eat again, and nurse in the dark,
and try to put her right back down. Finally, it really is early
days (the two longest months of your life, though!) and this too
shall pass. It is not too early to read ''The No-cry Sleep
Solution'' by Pantley.
Oh, this is such a hard time! I am sure you are doing everything
right. It sounds like you are keeping it mellow and dark at
night, not talking to the baby or playing with her(?). The key
is BORING visits. You also may need to rock her or nurse her to
sleep, if you can. But you may just have to wait it out til she
is done with the night owl thing.
It is too early to sleep train officially, but those are the
things you can do now to let her know that nighttime is sleep
time. She is pretty little, so she could still just be getting
days and nights messed up.
The day my son turned 4 months is the day we started sleep
training. We had an actual phone call session with Dr. Marc
Weissbluth who wrote Happy Baby Healthy Sleep Habits... or
whatever the title is. He says 4 months is the earliest. Feel
free to email me with sleep questions, as what we learned from
him was magic (cry it out, but magic).
I have a four months old daughter, and if it were up to her, she would
fight going to
sleep all night long. I have discovered that if I give her a bath just
before 8pm, and
give her a bottle right when she starts rubbing her eyes, she falls
asleep with the
bottle in her mouth in about 5-10 minutes.
This seems to work most of the time, give it a try, it may work with
your little one.
Also, something else I've noticed, if i give her a toy she gets a bit
more agitated, but
if I just swadle her up in her favorite blanket she goes to sleep much
noticed that she likes to pull the blanket over her face to fall asleep,
this too you
Best of luck,
My girlfriend still has this problem with her 4 yr old, so I hope that
to you. I had good luck getting my daughter to sleep as an infant by
with her when she was tired. (I was tired, too, and I almost always
fell asleep too,
which wasn't always convenient, but that was a different problem....)
but within 20
mins. she would be asleep--how long she would sleep was dependent on
things-hunger, diapers, developmental stage, etc. This worked so well
that I still do
it with my now 4 yr. old. Also I discovered that when she was a little
older than your
baby she had sleep/awake intervals, and that no matter what I did I
those, so I had to accept and adapt my own schedule to them. That is,
wake, be awake for 3 hours, nap for 2, be awake for 3, nap, etc. and
intervals got bigger as she aged, but the interval concept remained, for
ex. at one
she was awake for 6 hours, slept for 2-3, then was awake for 6. That
means if I put
her down for a nap at 2, she would sleep until 4 and then be awake until
there was no way she would sleep before 10. Now she is on a 12 awake,
so I have to wake her up by 7:30 if I want her to go to bed at 7:30.
Make sure you
aren't messing with a natural pattern, that in the end may be a healthy
not convenient to you. You may have to stop what you are doing in the
and make her sleep the thing you take care of for a while--a few weeks,
things on a schedule you can live with (not necessarily one you plan or
My 2-week-old sleeps almost continually. He does rouse often
enough to be fed 7 or 8 times a day and is gaining weight well.
He probably has 2 half-hour periods per day when he is alert.
But the rest of the time he is fast asleep. I know I should be
counting my blessings but I am also worried that something may
be wrong (is he ill?). Is this normal?
Yes, count your blessings! My 5 month old daughter was exactly
the same way as your son. I remember days where it seemed she
only woke to eat. She slept SO much. She gradually had more
awake periods; probably most noticeably after about 10 weeks.
I look back on those first couple of months fondly, as I could
just hold her in my arms for hours at a time. Ah, so
precious! Remember that you typically hear about AVERAGES,
i.e., ''newborns sleep X hours per day''--whatever the number,
it's an AVERAGE, which means some babies sleep MORE. Be happy
you were blessed with one of those. Enjoy!!
I also have a two week old and he is sleeping all the time. I
believe this is normal...it was also the case with my first
child. They say that they ''wake up'' around 3 weeks, so enjoy
this quiet time with your sleepy baby.
I could have written your post seven months ago. My son slept
ALL THE TIME. My poor parents would be the most disappointed,
because they would stop by to see him and he would undoubtedly
be asleep or on his way. It was for us--and I think in the
vast majority of cases it is--entirely normal. Birth is
traumatic and growing takes lots of energy! Isaac's ped has
marked on his charts ''doing super'' at every single well-visit
since his birth, so I'm sure you have nothing to worry about.
Enjoy his long naps while you can!
Birth is a lot of work for infants too, and he's just sleeping
it off. I wouldn't worry at all -- take advantage of it! :)
Yep, it's perfectly normal for a 2-week old baby to spend all his
time when not feeding sleeping.
If you are worried feel free to call your pediatrician for
advice. I spent many anxious moments as a new mother until I
realized that pediatricians expect to get called alot about
newborns and it is their job to answer your questions. It never
hurts to check these things out. That said, by the time you read
this your son is probably sleeping less as they are very groggy
the first two weeks of life.
Also some kids sleep alot. I was really alarmed when I saw how
much my brother's six month old daughter slept, she hardly seemed
to be awake for more than a short time before she napped again.
My son was never a big sleeper. But after a while my niece woke
up more in the day (sleeps great at night for long stretches!)
and has the usual nap schedule. Kids sleeping patterns (and
behavior in general) vary much more than you would ever guess
from reading parenting books. I found the ''Baby Book'' by William
and Martha Sears very reassuring for all my baby questions. I
consulted it numerous times a day :)
Congratulations on your new baby!
From what you've said, it sounds normal. Eating 7-8 times a day
and gaining weight are the important things. 2-week old babies
have darn little ''quiet alert'' time. That will change! Enjoy
your little one!
those were the days
My one month old breastfeeds constantly. Sometimes over two
hours in one sitting, and four to five hours with small ten
minute breaks! I think it is a combination of being a slow
eater and having a strong sucking instinct. I understand she
has a small stomach and I believe in feeding on demand and don't
mind her sucking for comfort. However, it gets to the point
where she clearly isn't hungry anymore and is very tired but
won't go to sleep. She starts frantically pecking at my breast
and then starts howling. There seems to be no way to comfort
her except to continue feeding her, although I know that she is
TIRED not hungry. The only other way I've successfully found
getting her to sleep is by driving or taking a walk with her in
a sling. But she usually wakes as soon as we've stopped moving
and wants to feed again. Any advice on how to break this cycle
and get her to sleep?
When our daughter was an infant, she did the same thing. We were
reluctant to use a pacifier, and she refused to keep it in her
mouth anyway, so we ended up offering our pinkie fingers a lot of
the time, just to give her something to suck on. At about 3
months she finally decided to take a pacifier, much to our relief!
Then she spit it out and never went back to it atr about 7 months,
but that was another story...
It will get better. My son was the same, and now at 11
months I can hardly get him interested in nursing. I found
that as a first-time-mom I was constantly trying to ''fix'' things
that were going to change regardless.
Some people would say that your baby is crying because
she needs to vent stress, and that the best thing you can do
is hold her, talk to her, and look at her so that she knows
that she is loved a supported while she gets to the bottom of
it. I experiemented with this and I think there was merit in the
idea, although nothing applied 100% of the time.
Time is what will work. In fact, I think it is a decent bet that
by the time you read these replies, your baby will have a new
pattern. Keep on feeding on demand, and when the babe is clearly
tired switch the sling to dad, send the two of them out for a
walk, and either take a nap or a bath - or both! Good luck, and
hang in there - the only constant with newborns is change.
I would strongly suggest you contact a lactation consultant.
You want to confirm that your little one is getting enough milk,
and why she is taking so long to feed (need? nurture?). I had
almost the same problem and it turns out my son (at one month)
wasn't getting enough milk (among other issues). I worked very
closely with a lactation consultant for my 2nd child and
resolved the issues that I had with my first. Even if all is
well with you baby - I would try to find out why she is nursing
for such a long time for your sanity!! I highly suggest Janaki
Costello, lactation consultant, at 525.1155. Best of luck.
My advice, which may be taken ill by some (I know _I_ would have
taken it ill with my first child) is try a pacifier. It sounds
as though breastfeeding is well-established. You didn't say how
your baby was gaining. If the baby is slow in gaining, maybe it
might not be a great idea, but if your baby is putting on weight
fine, I would try a pacifier. I didn't do the pacifier thing
with my first one, but after several sleepless nights getting up
with a 21-month-old and a newborn I decided to give it a try with
my second. Wow! It suddenly became clear why so many people do
use them. Just pop that thing in and they go right back to sleep
(if you can get them to take it.) We had to work at it for a
while, and my daughter only took it for six months, but what a
wonderful 6 months they were! Being wary of the whole pacifier
thing anyway, I was careful about not popping it in every time
she squeaked, but it was so nice to 1)get her to go to sleep
easily 2) calm her in the car (we endured so much screaming in
the car with my older daughter because we just had to get where
we were going and nothing would calm her, which completely
frazzled us.) 3) get her to go back to sleep at night when I
knew she didn't need to nurse, for instance, when she had only
been asleep an hour or two, or when her flutter sucking after
nursing was keeping me awake, but if I popped her off she'd wake
up. I could slip the pacifier in and we could both sleep. Oh,
and my second daughter also did what it sounds as though yours is
doing: she wanted to nurse to go to sleep, but wasn't hungry and
would howl and pop off when the milk let down. The pacifier was
a good solution to this problem.
We had no problem getting rid of the pacifier (she rejected it a
6mos), and never had any nipple confusion problems --- she never
had a bottle, so she never got the idea that food could come from
an artificial nipple. Our only problem has been ending the
nursing fixation! I weaned her 3 mos ago at 2 years and she
still grabs me and shouts ''IT'S MY NIPPLE!!''. Always, of course,
Now, on to other things. I believe in nursing on demand, but in
moderation. :) In other words, try to stretch out the time
between feedings with distractions, back patting, walking,
whatever. Also, there is no need to nurse your baby as long as 2
hours. The baby gets the most milk at let down. Ten minutes or
fifteen minutes on each side should give her plenty of milk, or
if you are not comfortable with that, even half an hour per side.
She won't be getting much in the end anyway. Then see how long
you can get her to go without nursing. I never let my daughter
cry, I just tried to gently space things out a bit, to 1-1/2 or 2
hours between feedings. Do it during the day, and the nights
will follow. You need rest, and she really doesn't need to nurse
that much. Remember to take care of both of you! She needs you
to be well-rested. Well, at least decently-rested... :)
Good luck to you!
another nursing mom
If you can't find a solution to the constancy of feeding, I hope
that you can nurse in the sidelying position. I slept and read
novels while my hungry hungry girl gorged/slept/sucked. You
might try nursing one side per nursing, especially if you also
are seeing green poop periodically. There could be too much fore
milk (the clear sweet stuff) and not enough hind milk (rich full
creamy opaque) getting in. This might also make for tummy
trouble and comfort seeking...where? you guessed it, at the
breast. Some people have had luck w/ vibrating bouncy seats as
sleep inducers. I sniffed at such 'gizmos' when shopping pre
birth, but will try anything and count it a success if it works
once. It's also okay (and will be more so as baby gets older) to
pass the baby over to your partner and they can bond while you
get a break, even if there's lots of wailing. You should
probably leave the house though! I could never take it.
Have you tried giving her a pacifier? Sometimes babies need to
suck in order to get themselves calm enough to sleep.
5-day-old only sleeps during the day
From: Mike and Angela
My husband and I are parents of a five day old infant that has a
nocturnal sleep schedule. He has a difficult time falling asleep in the
evening, sleeps for short periods of time and often wakes up and will
cry and scream for an extended period of time. We feel very badly
because we live in an apartment and our baby wakes up our neighbor at
wee hours in the morning. During the day, our baby can sleep for hours
and needs to be woken to be nursed (falls back asleep while nursing).
We have been told to try to wake-up the baby during the day, but are not
sure how to do this and how to keep him awake.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
First don't worry about your childs behaviour. It is quite normal for a
newborn not to know the difference between day and night. It can
take weeks or months until your baby finds to a stable
nursing/sleeping schedule. He might need to drink now every two
hours during the night. If you are lucky the intervalls will increase to
four or six hours at night within the next weeks. It might be more
comfortable for mother and baby to sleep in the same bed so you
don't have to get up every time the baby wants to drink. Second I think
everyone has to accept that babies cry -even at 2am. There is no
"turn-off". To minimize crying and keeping you and neighbours from sleep
I would again suggest to take the baby in your bed. At the worst he
would fall asleep on your stomach. While nursing at night keep the room
dark so the baby can easier learn day/night difference.
Good luck and give your baby time to learn and to adjust to life on
Based on all the reading and research I've done, it is quite normal for
a newborn to have very irregular sleep, including sleeping in the day
and being up at night more. The best way to help a newborn get used to
being outside the womb is to keep it on its mothers (or fathers) body
with some kind of carrier. I think the sling is best, but other
carriers can work as well. We have a nine month old child, and the
sling has been the favorite piece of equipment. Not only does it keep
her close and give her the comfort of our body warmth and heartbeat, but
it also frees up our hands and lets us do things. If a baby is on its
parent's body during much of the day and night, that should help the
loud crying at night. There are lots of other ideas for helping with
baby crying in "The Baby Book" by Sears and
Sears. Our other favorite source of info. was the book "Our Babies,
Ourselves" by Meredith Small. It provides cross-cultural comparisons on
different aspects of parenting. Really well written and there is
chapter specifically on sleep. Best of luck!
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