Bringing home a newborn baby is a joyful, yet overwhelming time in your life, particularly during the first month. Whether it is your first baby or you are an experienced parent, every baby is an individual and it is hard to predict the sleeping, eating or crying habits. It is helpful to know what is typical of babies during the first month of their lives. This helps you experience less stress and doubts about the proper care of your infant.
Hours of Sleep
During the first week of their life, most newborns sleep 14 to 18 hours. This schedule tapers down to 12 to 16 hours a day at one month of age, according to the Baby Center website.
Although it seems like these long hours of sleeping for the baby would give new parents plenty of time to rest during the first month of life, just the opposite usually occurs. Newborns rarely sleep more than 2 to 4 hours at a time during this stage, therefore the parents must awaken to take care of the baby's needs. Babies experience longer rapid eye movement (REM) sleep than adults. This is necessary for their brains to develop well. This type of sleep is easier to disrupt than other stages of sleep, which is why the baby awakens so frequently.
Acclimating Your Baby
Babies often mix up their days and nights. While it is difficult to remedy this problem during the first couple of weeks, you can gradually start training your newborn that nighttime is for sleep. Establish a nightly routine to encourage your baby to sleep during the night. This can be as simple as giving the baby a warm bath or change of clothing, singing a lullaby or giving him a bottle. Interact with your baby often during the daylight hours and avoid keeping the noise level or lights down low. When the baby awakens from his nap, sing and talk to him and encourage him to stay awake. During the night when your baby awakens, keep the lights turned on low and your voice soft and soothing and avoid talking a great deal. It may take several weeks for your baby to associate darkness and quiet voices with sleep time. Try to put your baby down in his crib when he is tired but not asleep. This will teach him that he does not need you to fall asleep. Consistency will pay off if you continue training your baby for as long as it takes to acclimate him to life outside the womb.