Everything I Need To Know About Newborns – A newborn’s sleep is an important topic when you have a baby. Newborns have very different sleep patterns and needs compared to infants and older children.
At Nurtured Birth, we believe that postpartum is an important time for mothers to heal, bond with their new baby, and adjust to new family dynamics.
Everything I Need To Know About Newborns
Sleep and rest are a big part of this, and knowing what to expect in the first few weeks can make the transition to early parenthood easier.
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They sleep about 16-20 hours in a 24-hour day, and there is no sleep pattern because their brains have not yet begun to produce melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep cycles.
It’s perfectly normal for your newborn to have day and night mixed up, as your baby has tuned into your body’s day and night signals during pregnancy.
Newborns cannot stay awake for more than 45-60 minutes. After that, your newborn is overtired and his body produces a lot of cortisol, making it even harder to fall asleep.
New parents are often surprised by how much their newborn wants to be held, even when he is asleep. Newborns have an innate instinct to feel safe and comfortable, especially as they get used to the outside world. They survive by seeking comfort and security, crying if sat down or left alone in a quiet, dark room.
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New parents may feel like they are doing it “wrong” when holding their sleeping newborn. Remember that your newborn is wired for this connection and you cannot “spoil” him by holding him while he sleeps.
When your baby sleeps alone, be sure to follow safe sleep guidelines (see here for more information).
Many new parents are looking for ways to help or teach their newborn to sleep “well”. In society there is an opinion that the “good child” is the one who learns to sleep for a long time as soon as possible.
There are many so-called baby sleep experts who claim that newborns can be “trained” to sleep well as long as parents do X or Y. That you will have perfect sleep if you start the “right way” “. children in the shortest possible time.
Everything You Need To Know About Babies By Linda Mcdonald 9780916198046
When these steps don’t work, parents feel like failures and become even more frustrated. And when you wake up several times a night, it’s tempting to think there’s something “wrong” with your baby.
The fact is that newborns do not sleep badly to cause inconvenience to anyone. They sleep in a way that is normal and appropriate for their development and needs.
Newborns sleep very differently than adults, as they spend most of their time in REM sleep. This means they have short sleep cycles of around 50-50 minutes and can be very active in their sleep (squirming, struggling, crying). They can also change their sleep cycles quite often.
REM is very light sleep, which is considered an essential part of newborn brain development. But there is another defensive purpose. Babies who are in deep sleep have a harder time waking up if they are not getting enough oxygen. Although REM sleep is lighter and newborns wake more easily, they are less prone to SIDS.
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As children grow and develop, their sleep patterns will change. This is not an exact science, as not all children develop in the same way. Some babies want longer periods when they feel safe, others need more or less sleep, and there are babies who are complete textbooks.
At around 6 weeks of age, the baby’s brain begins to produce small amounts of melatonin, which peaks around 12 weeks after birth. It is not immediately, but you will notice that your child’s sleep has become more organized.
Exclusive breastfeeding can help your baby regulate sleep patterns. Breast milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, which is used by the body to produce melatonin (what cute women’s bodies are!). Tryptophan levels change with your circadian rhythm, so when you breastfeed your baby before bed, he falls asleep faster.
Remember, newborns have small bellies and cannot go through the night without feeding. Frequent night wakings to feed are normal and necessary for newborns. As your baby grows, he may follow feedings and wake up less often during the night. Some babies may still wake to nurse but fall asleep quickly.
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Most new parents find it very difficult to cope with the sudden lack of sleep when a newborn is born. Even new mothers who get up several times a night and breastfeed recover from childbirth and the exhaustion of pregnancy. Self-care is an important part of combating sleep deprivation:
Click here to learn how a postpartum nursing doula can provide you with support and care as you navigate the early days of parenthood.
Sign up here for Nurtured Birth’s wonderful email series that follows you throughout your pregnancy and explores you and your baby’s development. It’s true: your baby is stunningly beautiful and possibly the cutest little human ever born, but even the cutest babies need a little pampering now and then. And as you’ve learned, newborns don’t come with instructions, so we’ve rounded up some expert tips to help your baby look (and feel!) their best.
Umbilical cord care. This beautiful organ that was nurtured during pregnancy has few problems outside the womb as you wait for it to dry up and fall off, which usually takes one to two weeks. With each diaper change, gently wipe the belly area with warm water so that the umbilical cord itself remains dry. Avoid stuffing the diaper, which can trap moisture and make the area “very dirty and smelly very quickly,” says Michelle Ponti, a pediatrician in London, Ont. If you notice any odor, redness, swelling, pus, or if your child seems feverish or irritable, contact your doctor.
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It’s okay for the cord to get a little wet during the bath if it’s allowed to air dry afterward, says Calgary-based pediatric naturopath Hillary Dinning. Be careful not to accidentally touch a sensitive area.
Bathing Do not bathe the baby around the first week of life. Most of a newborn’s skin is covered with a creamy white substance called vernix caseosa, which is mostly made up of fat from the baby’s sweat glands. This layer acts as a barrier and protects the baby’s skin in the womb. Dinning says that after birth, this natural layer continues to protect against bacteria, keeping your baby’s delicate skin healthy and hydrated. After five to ten days, the varnish will come off on its own and this is the perfect time to bathe your baby for the first time.
Ponti says that in the first month of life, all your baby needs to stay fresh and clean is a sponge (not a dip in the sink or bath). Wash the baby’s body up to three times a week with a soft cloth soaked in warm, soapy water only when necessary (for example, after a dirty spit-up or a required diaper change). (You may also need to clean up other small messes from feedings and changes in between.) When you start bathing your baby more after the first month, one to three times a week is enough to keep him clean. Ponti recommends an unscented soap made specifically for babies. Remember that baby soap does not lather well, so “don’t add more and expect bubbles”, explains Ponti.
Genitals When bathing, treat your baby’s genitals like any other body part in the bath, gently washing the area with warm water – from front to back for girls – to prevent the spread of bacteria. Ponti advises patting the baby dry after bathing to prevent the skin from getting cold and then letting the skin dry completely before applying a barrier cream (only if you notice your baby is a little red from a small rash) or a diaper. It also strongly warns against using the powder to dry the baby’s genitals or for any other purpose, as the fine powder can easily enter the baby’s lungs.
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If your son has been circumcised, wash him gently with warm water every day for a week after the operation. After each bath, apply a layer of Vaseline to the bottom of the penis to protect it from the diaper while it’s sensitive and healing. Continue to apply this topical barrier after every bath and diaper change until it is completely healed, usually within 10 days.
Skin It’s true – your baby’s skin is already perfectly soft, but Ponti recommends applying baby lotion regularly to keep the skin hydrated, allowing it to act as a good barrier against infection. Dry patches are also prone to cracking, making the area susceptible to bacteria or fungus.
Very often, children aged two to four weeks have acne on the face – small pimples that cover the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. They can even spread throughout the body. They are caused by the mother’s hormones still circulating in the baby’s body
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