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Newborn Sleep Patterns: New Mom Advice

on Jul 10, 2012

by Tiffany Merritt

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Sleeping like a baby? Does that give you visions of sweet, serene newborn sleep? Quite the opposite. Be prepared for your newborn sleeper to be noisy & restless.

Have you ever heard the term “sleeping like a baby?” Well, it leads you to believe that when babies are sleeping, they’re super quiet and serene and wonderful. I’m here today to tell you, it’s just not true. Newborns in particular are extremely noisy. This is something that I did not know despite all the research I had done before I had my first. My husband and I had no idea. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

So, the night that our daughter first started making sounds, it really truly sounded like this, “Eeeeeeeeehhhhh, huuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrlllllllll.” Yeah, we shot out of bed. Pretty sure that something horribly wrong was happening with our child. So we did further research on strained weird noises, you know, we just thought she must have some sort of condition. We got to take her to the doctor, something’s going on. Turns out, super normal-but super weird. So I wish someone had told me beforehand so that I could be more prepared and not quite so terrified. Even after I realized it was normal, I spent a lot of time lying awake in bed in the middle of the night thinking, “Really? How can something that small make such a loud and terrifyingly weird noise?” But they do. And there is a reason that they do.

Their lungs aren’t completely developed and their breathing pattern is definitely not completely developed. This is another thing for you to know-it’s actually pretty normal when they’re sleeping for newborns to stop breathing for 10-15 seconds before they resume it. There’s nothing wrong, they’re not at any risk. It’s just normal and it is so scary and I wish I could tell you a little tip or trick to make it so that they don’t do that but there isn’t one. It’s just something you need to be aware of. So if you’re hovering over the crib and watching, don’t freak out when they stop for about 10 seconds. They’ll start up again.

So, why do babies do this? Well, again, like I said, their system isn’t completely, fully functioning and ready to go yet. It’s irregular and also their sleep patterns are very different from an adult or even a child. The whole sleep cycle for them is only about 20 minutes long and fully half of that is active sleep. So that means, they’re making audible sounds and they’re moving a lot.

This is why it’s very important in my opinion to swaddle your babies. They don’t have control over their arms and they will literally slap themselves or, you know, hit themselves awake and they’ll do that every 20 minutes or so. That’s going to mean not great sleep for your baby and definitely not great sleep for you. So it’s important to do that. But the noises, there’s really not much you can do about them but get ready for them and learn how to either sleep through them or fall back asleep quickly after you hear them.

We have a two month old now. She just turned two months, and she does still make those sounds. But their frequency is decreasing so they’re on their way out, precisely when they end and it’s going to be different for every baby. But I would say somewhere in the neighbourhood of two to four months. So, hopefully this information helps some of you out there who have newborns or will be expecting them shortly. Just know they’re really noisy.

Thanks a lot!
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Newborn Sleep Patterns: New Mom Advice, 4.6 out of 5 based on 11 ratings

Tiffany is a mompreneur & editor whose parenting tips and product recommendations can be found at her popular blog, Stuff Parents Need, where she's busy making life a little less hectic for new parents.

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