Many newborns spend most of their time sleeping which is approximately 16 hours out of 24 hours. They are conditioned to sleep in short periods of around 2-3 hours between feeds, night and day.
The first few months of your child's life is the time to get to know your child and learn about the needs of your child to sleep, drink, play and settle.
You might find that a very simple, versatile routine seems to make your child feel more in control. However, they are still getting accustomed to space outside your womb, so now is not the time to think about having your baby fit into some sort of rigid schedule. Let them settle and explore that bit themselves.
Newborn sleeping, feeding and play: letting your baby lead the routine
With newborn sleeping and eating, there are no hard and fast rules. The key is to be versatile and to follow the lead of your infant. Your baby will let you know whether they want to sleep, drink or communicate with you.
Just to make things easier for you, we suggest starting with a similar order. For example, you might try a simple routine of eating, playing, sleeping. Here's what it would look like:
- Feed your child when they wake up
- Change their nappy
- Talk, play, cuddle and connect
- Put your baby back down for sleep
If you try this kind of routine, it’s still important to watch your baby’s cues and respond. There might be a possibility that they would want to differ from the above because they don’t fit into hard and fast rules.
When it’s hard to know what your newborn needs
There are moments when it's hard to realise what newborns need to do. For example, you may have tried to feed or put your baby down to sleep, but the baby still seems unsettled.
If your child is crying, check first if the child is ill, hurt or uncomfortable. If not, even if the baby has been fed in the last two hours, cuddling and warmth are in order. For example, you could try to keep your baby in your arms with your head close to your chest.
Your newborn will feel safe and comfortable when you connect with them in a caring and sensitive way. You can't spoil your child by holding, cuddling or talking to them.
Ultimately, these baby sleep routines and responsiveness are just suggestions. Every baby is different. We can’t stress that enough. So, don’t compare your baby’s routines and responsiveness with another baby’s because they WILL be different.
Let us know what you think!