When your baby is born, she/he will be alert and ready to bond with you during the first hour. Afterwards, she will go into a deep sleep for about 4 hours as she begins adjusting to life outside the womb. During the first 2 weeks, she will eat about every 2-3 hours and sleep a total of 10-18 hours a day. You may even have to wake her for feedings.
By week 3 having acclimated more to life outside the womb, her eating habits will become more regular although still inconsistent and prone to changes during growth spurts. Around the third month of life, your baby’s sleep cycle should be more regular and he/she should be sleeping for longer stretches. What a sense of timing. Welcome changes indeed!
While you cannot force your baby into a predictable sleeping pattern, you can guide her. When you get up, open the blinds and turn on the music, creating a routine for your baby to follow. When you get ready for bed, dim the lights, bathe your baby, and put on soothing sounds. Consistency is critical for developing well-regulated sleep habits.
If your baby awakens between feeding times, gently pat his/her back, sssh, and offer a pacifier, to help your baby learn how to self-soothe. The less noise and more consistency you provide, the more you help your baby adjust and learn to develop healthy sleep patterns.
Jamie Bodily is the founder and director of ParentsCount. A Birth and Postpartum Doula in St. Louis, she assists new parents in developing healthy routines, adjusting to a newborn, calming tips and breastfeeding assistance.