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All You Should Know About Newborn Sleep In First 24 Hours After Birth

4 min read

All through nine months, a mother eagerly awaits the arrival of the baby. But once the baby arrives there are mixed emotions—while on one hand, there is a feeling of excitement about the road ahead, on the other hand there is extreme exhaustion both for the baby and the mother. This is quite normal. It’s a good idea to keep visitors away for the first day at least and concentrate completely on your baby’s needs. Soon after arrival, your baby will be checked, measured, pricked and cleaned. So even your baby needs some rest after all these. During the first few hours, the baby needs to adapt to a new environment and therefore wants to be as close to you as possible.
newborn and mother sleeping

Newborn Baby Sleep Patterns: What You Need To Know

Here are some basics you need to know about your baby’s sleep pattern in the first day after birth. It’s a good idea to know what to expect so that you don’t worry unnecessarily.

  • As babies do not understand the difference between day and night, they tend to sleep for quite long in the first 24 hours after birth. Sometimes they may sleep up to 18 hours, not at a stretch though, but in intervals. This is not unusual. You will soon realize that your sleep patterns are getting altered too and long hours of sleep for you is a thing of the past
  • The birth process brings in a lot of exhaustion for your baby. To overcome that, they need to sleep for long specially on the first day
  • Long sleep hours are essential to facilitate your baby’s growth
  • Though your baby may sleep for long hours, they do keep getting up in between to feed. Your baby won’t sleep more than 3 hours at a stretch as their tiny tummy digests milk very easily and quickly so you‘ll find them waking up often to refuel themselves
  • As a new mom, you need to get yourself adjusted to this new routine. Try to get naps in between while your baby sleeps so that you get enough rest. It is important that you take care of yourself too, not just your baby
  • Sometimes, new moms tend to check on their sleeping babies often during the night. Your baby’s sleep can be still or at times accompanied by a strange noise. It’s normal and you will gradually get used to it and will get up less in the middle of the night to check on them
  • Some babies tend to breathe quickly and then pause for a couple of seconds while sleeping. This is normal too and not something to be worried about
  • It’s a good idea to swaddle your newborn to make them comfortable. This reminds them of being in the womb and makes them calm and easily fall asleep
  • You will be surprised to see your newborn sleep anywhere, anytime. Sometimes they could even sleep in the middle of feeding. Make sure to keep any kind of noise to the minimum so that they can sleep undisturbed
  • Your newborn has a light sleep also known as the rapid eye movement (REM) which is easily disturbed sleep. You may notice that initially your baby may sleep with his eyes slightly open
  • While you cannot see much on the outside, a lot of brain development happens on the inside when the baby sleeps well

newborn sleep

Preparing Your Baby For A Comfortable Sleep

Place your baby close to you, in a small bassinet or a cot. Make sure the room is neither too cold nor too hot. Swaddle the baby for comfort and remember to always place them on their back. It’s a good idea to avoid cot bumpers. Never leave your child unattended during sleep. Make sure there are no loose pillows and blankets and no chances for the baby to slide off the cot. Make sure the lights are dim and there’s no noise to disturb your baby. Sing a soft lullaby if needed to make your baby drift off to sleep comfortably.

I’m Exhausted. Is This Normal?

Giving birth and looking after a newborn can be a very tiring experience for the mother. Due to the newborn’s erratic sleep pattern you will also not get enough sleep. You will probably pass the first few days in a haze of tiredness. It is perfectly normal and all the new parents go through this phase. But remember these sleepless night nights will not last forever. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. At the hospital the nurses and other staff will happily offer support so that you can get some rest and recoup. Your spouse and family members will be happy to offer help. If you live in a joint family, you will probably have a lot of help but if you are on your own, first few days with the baby can be quite challenging. Ask for whatever help you can get. It is a good idea to hire a maid either a full time or a part time, who can help you around with the household work like cooking and other household chores. This will give you more time to attend to your baby and at the same time get some much needed rest.
All this may sound overwhelming at first, but every mother gets used to it in a couple of days. The first day is almost the most difficult. It is thrilling as well as exhausting for both the mother and her baby. It’s a good idea to have someone over to help. As the days pass, both the baby and the mother get used to each other and know what to expect. Things move quite smoothly then on. Remember, your baby’s routine keeps changing quite often and it is quite interesting to watch your baby as they keep growing.

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