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bed time...?

Posted by on Oct. 1, 2010 at 8:03 AM
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DS is 2 weeks old, is there anyway we can get him onto a schedule now? DH is determined on getting him to sleep most of the night... the baby is up ALL night and sleeps all day... the dr. told us to stimulate him during the day... how do you stimulate a newborn...?

by on Oct. 1, 2010 at 8:03 AM
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by Group Owner on Oct. 1, 2010 at 4:34 PM

2 weeks old is a fantastic time to start getting DS into a routine of wake, eat, activity, sleep.  Its not technically a "schedule" but if you start early with allowing DS to learn some good sleep habits, it will be so much easier down the road.  Here's what I recommend:

The first 2 weeks is oftentimes called the "honeymoon period" wherein the child is generally only awake long enough to eat and then goes right back to sleep.  The best thing to do in the 1st 2 weeks is to feed, burp, and try to put back down awake in the crib/bassinet.  The 2 week old newborn should easily return to sleep on his own.  If he starts to fuss, stay with him and observe his behavior and listen to his vocalizations.  If after 5-10 minutes his agitation is escalating, you can soothe/pat/hush/rock until he goes to sleep.  Newborns will typically awake to feed 10-12 times in a 24 hour period, hence, that is 10-12 times every day that have to practice falling asleep unassisted.   

From about 3 weeks onward is when it is time to have some (i.e. 10-15 mins) awake time after a feed.  The maximum awake period for a 2 week old is only about 35 minutes, from the time that their eyes open following a sleep period.  Being awake longer than that can result in an overtired, fussy baby who will not sleep well.  This is the time that you want to create a simple, short nap routine to help get his brain ready to sleep.  This can include 5-10 minutes (not much more as being super drowsy before putting him down for a nap is not necessary) of diaper change, swaddling, rocking, bouncing, whatever helps him relax.  After you put him down for a nap, wait and watch him.  Allow him time to fuss and put himself to sleep for as long as you are comfortable with -- the goal is 10-15 minutes, but do what you are comfortable with.  If at any point, he escalates into crying, simply pick him up, and pat/hush, etc. until he's calm again, and then put him back down awake.  Note how long it takes him to fall asleep on his own.  If he doesn't fall asleep within 30 mins or longer or you are getting frustrated, just get him to sleep with whatever means necessary and try again later. 

At about 4 weeks, your DS can start to stay awake for about 45 minutes total, including time to feed, burp, change diaper, then a few minutes of activity, then nap routine about at about the 35 min mark.  Around this time, some naps may begin to become shorter, around 45 minutes.  You can try nap extensions by going in around the 45 minute mark and hush/pat to help him transition to the next sleep cycle.     

You asked about stimulating a newborn. During the day, ensure that he's exposed to lots of natural sunlight when he's awake.  Put him in a swing or bouncy chair for a few minutes next to a window.  During naps and at night, have blackout blinds on the windows.  Some babies, depending on temperament, are oblivious to noises around them and can sleep through a vacuum running or children screaming.  Others are much more sensitive to noise and the slightest creak of the floorboard will awaken them.  White noise can also be very effective at blocking out household noises.  Also, at night, keep the lights off.  Use a small flashlight for feedings and diaper changes.  Keep everything quiet.  His brain will begin to learn the difference between night and day. 

You can also start introducing a dreamfeed before you go to sleep, around 10pm.  This entails going in and if you're breastfeeding, picking him up and feeding him or simply give him a bottle while still in the crib.  Dreamfeeds will enable you and DH to get a longer (generally 4-6 hours at this age) stretch of sleep when you are going to bed.  Remember to keep in mind what's realistic for the child.  By 8 weeks, DS should be consistently sleeping 5+ hours at night and then waking for a feed about every 3-4 hours thereafter.  By 12 weeks, many babies can go 6-7 hours before needing a middle of the night feed.  It is not realistic for a 2 week old to sleep through the night, even more especially if breastfeeding.

Points to remember

1. Avoid overtiredness by keeping awake times within the maximum amount of time for DS's age.

2.  Help DS learn good sleep habits by doing the same brief nap routine before every sleep period and allowing him the opportunity to learn to fall asleep unassisted.   

3.  Start a dreamfeed so that DS's longest stretch of night sleep coincides with your bedtime.

Hope this helps!

by New Member on Oct. 2, 2010 at 9:01 PM

Thanks SleepHelper, you have given me a lot of things to work on and look into... I hope I can help DS get himself into a 'routine' soon!!

this is the lil man I am talking about :-)

by Group Owner on Oct. 3, 2010 at 10:35 AM

DS is beautiful!  Good luck with everything and be sure to come back when you have questions!

by New Member on Jul. 1, 2011 at 2:19 AM

Ds is very cute........all the best!!!!!!!!!

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