Newborn sleep might not seem like a big deal at first. Your newborn baby (under 6 weeks) is wired to sleep a lot in the early days. In fact, most newborns are generally good sleepers during the day and may even sleep from one feed to the next. They are very likely to wake to feed as often at night as during the day – usually 3 hourly.
If your baby wakes more often at night than during the day, they may be experiencing ‘day-night reversal’. In this case, you need to guide your baby towards more lively interactions in the day and less engagement at night.
Tips for managing day-night sleep reversal
It is relatively simple to improve your baby’s night-time sleep by keeping night feeds strictly business affairs. Here are 5 simple tips to help your newborn differentiate nighttime from daytime:
- Unless your baby is premature or your doctor advises you otherwise, don’t wake your baby for feeds at night– take their lead for waking at night. This allows your baby to establish natural sleep cycles.
- Try not to smile or talk to your baby at night – keep these happy interactions for day light hours.
- Feed in semi-darkness – use a dimmer, nightlight or a passage light instead of the bright bedroom light.
- Don’t change your baby’s nappy at night – buy the best nappy you can afford for nighttime and leave it on from one feed to the next, unless they’ve soiled their nappy. A good quality gel nappy can be left on all night as they soak up all the urine and your baby’s bottom remains dry.
- In the very early days (the first 6 weeks), don’t use a ‘dummy’ to try and decrease night feeds. Rather feed them when they wake for night feeds, if more than two and a half hours have passed since the last feed.
Follow these simple strategies and in a short time, your baby will start to have one longer stretch between feeds at night. By 3 months, they should have a good 6-8 hour stretch once at night.
Demystify newborn sleep
Be the expert on your baby’s sleep. Download Parent Sense – the all-in-one baby app that let’s you track your baby’s sleep for free. Subscribe to unlock expert sleep tips or sign up for Meg Faure’s Sleep Sense online course as a convenient in-app purchase (no subscription required).