Newborn babies (under 6 weeks) are generally good sleepers during the day. They are still quite sleepy 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, she 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.
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 differentiate night-time from day:
- Unless your baby is premature or your doctor advises you otherwise, don’t wake your baby for feeds at night– take her 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 night-time and leave it on from one feed to the next, unless she has soiled her nappy. A good quality gel nappy can be left on all night as they soak up all the urine and the bottom remains dry.
- In the very early days (the first 6 weeks), do not ‘dummy’ your baby in an attempt to decrease night feeds. Rather feed her when she wakes for feeds at night, 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 and by 3 months should have a good 6-8 hour stretch once at night.