|Sleep and the newborn baby|
Most newborn babies will sleep 16-20 hours out of 24. They wake when hungry or uncomfortable, and are fairly easy to soothe once the reason for crying has been established. For the first few weeks it would appear that there is no routine. Baby can demand a feed at intervals of between 2-4 hours. Some times this interval varies throughout the day. During growth spurts more feeds are required. Recent research has demonstrated that babies have developed a rudimentary sleep/wake cycle as early as 51 to 60 days. Parents my not recognise this, and the desire for feeds often does not have much evidence of a pattern at this stage. Most babies will wake and sleep as the infant's body requires.
If naps are taken in normal ambient light, in normal household noise, the circadian rhythm develops more quickly and a pattern and routine are more easily developed.
When you start to recognise your baby’s sleepy signals you have a very small window of opportunity to put the child down and have a successful settle to sleep. If you take too long before you allow your baby to settle they go beyond tired, and become distressed and fussy. This is often the beginning of a napping problem. Learn to recognise your baby’s sleepy signals and aim to have baby in an appropriate sleeping place within 5 -10 minutes.
Naps should be taken in normal ambient daylight with normal levels of household noise. Baby is not used to complete silence. Before birth there was constant noise from mum’s breathing, heartbeat and digestive system. A completely quiet world is alien to a newborn.
For most babies settling is not difficult. The two most common causes of fussy babies and difficulty in settling are Reflux and Colic.