Babies sleep 14 hours or more when they first come home, but it often doesn’t seem like it. It can be a tough adjustment for new parents to get used to a baby’s sleep schedule.
Newborn babies aren’t able to sleep more than two to three hours at a time if they are breastfed. Even babies on formula aren’t able to sleep more than three or four hours at a time. This is because their stomachs don’t hold much, and the completely liquid diet they will be on for their first four months (or longer) digests very quickly.
None of us sleeps well if we’re hungry, regardless of how young or old. The thing with babies is that they, by necessity, get hungry a lot sooner than adults do. So, they wake up crying.
There’s nothing to worry about if your baby wakes up several times during the night needing to be fed. In fact, that’s exactly as it should be. The problem comes in with the fact that we, as adults, just aren’t used to sleeping that way. Parents from time immemorial have managed to live through the sleepless nights, and you will, too. But some do better than others, and here’s how you can make the most of your opportunities to sleep.
First of all, realize that it is important to take care of yourself. You can’t possibly be at your best for your baby if you don’t also take care of yourself. Part of that means getting adequate rest. We know, that’s easier said than done with a fussy baby in the house.
We figure it this way: When it comes to baby sleep, if you can’t beat ‘em (and you can’t), join ‘em. Your baby is going to be sleeping fourteen hours or more today. There’s no reason you can’t sleep a few of those hours, too. The trick is to learn how to take naps, and lots of them.
When your baby nods off for a nap, you should, too. If you have difficulty sleeping during the daytime, do whatever it takes to darken your room. Consider getting a sleeping mask. If noise bothers you, use a white noise machine. It’s well known that they help babies sleep better, but they can also help drown out daytime noises that make it difficult for you to sleep.
If you nap when baby naps, you will find yourself much better able to cope with the night time feedings and other interruptions to your sleep schedule. OF course, no one can take a nap every time their baby does, and we’re not suggesting that you do. But, most moms can manage to get in at least one nap, if not two or three during the ay while the baby is asleep.