Is your newborn sleeping for long stretches during the day and awake for hours on end in the middle of the night? Many newborns confuse day and night. Find out how to turn this situation around.
Newborn day/night sleep pattern
It's not uncommon for a newborn baby to sleep for long periods during the day but wake frequently or remain awake for long periods though the night. Many newborn babies have difficulty distinguishing the difference between day and night.
You can assist your baby to learn the difference between day and night by the repeated cues you provide (see Your child's body clock). By following some of the suggestions below you may find you can make a difference in as little as 3 or 4 days.
During the day
- Keep the room bright, with shades or curtains open.
- Don't try to reduce normal household noises such as vacuuming, the dishwasher or telephone.
- If your baby is still asleep at feed time, wake him up and feed him.
- When he's awake and alert, play with him during the day (but watch closely for his signs of tiredness as you don't want to risk over-doing it).
- Provide stimulation by talking to him and using direct eye contact.
During the night
- Keep the lights low.
- Don't spend a lot of time talking to him. Use a quiet, soothing voice when you do.
- Move in slow motion.
- Try to avoid eye contact.
- Try not to play with him when he wakes for feeding. Be as boring as possible.
Written by Rowena Bennett.