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There are always going to be nights when your newborn JUST. WON’T. SLEEP. And if baby doesn’t sleep, that means neither do you.
Infants generally have short sleep cycles consisting of about an hour between light and deep sleep. However, movement, sounds, changes in lighting, or hunger may easily wake them. In the first few weeks of life, your infant may have trouble deciphering between night and day, leading to reverse cycling. Reverse cycling is essentially when your baby wants to nurse or bottle feed more often at night than during the daytime, leading to sleep disturbances for both of you.
The solution to this is NOT trying to keep your baby up longer stretches during the day. An overtired baby is even harder to put to sleep.
You see, a newborn’s sleep isn’t regulated by an internal clock like ours is. It is regulated by their nutritional needs. Ensuring that your newborn is getting enough to eat during daytime hours is a key part of getting their days and nights straight. That means ensuring they are not taking 4 hour naps but that you’re waking to feed them. If they go back to sleep after feeding, it’s all good. Just make sure they are eating at least every 2.5 hours during the day.
If your baby is having trouble falling asleep at night consistently, implememting healthy sleep habits can help eeryone get more sleep. It may be beneficial to set a scheduled bedtime routine such as feed, swaddle, shooshing, swaying in your arms, diaper change, then crib. A short bedtime routine may help remind your little one that it’s time to calm down and rest their eyes. Well, at least until they wake up for another feeding in a few hours…
If it seems like your baby is reverse cycling or having trouble telling when it is day or night, you may want to keep the lights on during the day (even when baby is napping) and frequently interact with and talk to your baby when he or she is awake during the day. At night, it is best to make baby’s environment calm, quiet, and dark, signaling their little bodies and brains that it’s time to rest (and to let mom and dad finally rest!)
If you need any more tips on how to “reverse” reverse cycling, contact your postpartum doula or sleep trainer for tips. Being a parent to a newborn can be tough, but once you’re armed with the knowledge and support from Mainstay Doula & Co.’s ABC’s of Newborns, you’ll be even tougher.
We are doulas living in Miami with a love for cafecito, pregnancy and newborns. We are the experts and the moms who have been there sharing our best tips and tricks with a side of inspiration. Our goal? Help you kick ass at this parenting gig.
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