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Expert advice

23rd Feb 2024

Four things all new parents should know about newborn sleep

Jody Coffey

It’s okay to find the newborn stage difficult.

You’ve likely heard the unhelpful commentary around a newborn and their sleeping.

While passing remarks like ‘wait until the baby is here’ may do a lot to prepare you mentally for the lack of sleep, it doesn’t exactly offer much practical advice for when the baby arrives.

An organisation has shared some helpful nuggets of information that can help you as a new parent better understand your babies sleep cycle and possibly dictate how you deal with it.

BabyCenter, the online media company that provides information for new and expectant parents, says there are four things first-time parents should know when it comes to newborn sleep.

Credit: Getty

Newborn sleep is widely unpredictable.

Knowing this alone will avoid any internalised feelings of worry or even guilt if your baby isn’t sleeping as much as another parent says theirs is.

BabyCenter says this means you cannot put them on a schedule just yet, but advise that newborns will typically sleep on-and-off for around 16 hours a day.

Oh, to be a newborn baby.

Newborns can get overtired quickly.

If you find your little baby is becoming fussy all of a sudden, it may be their way of letting you know it’s time for a nap.

If possible, this may be the perfect time for you to squeeze in a quick nap too.

Newborns will wake frequently overnight.

Having this slice of information will avoid you attempting to sleep train them, as it’s not something that can be achieved at this early stage, according to BabyCenter, so it will save you the time and stress of trying to do so.

They do advise, however, if your baby seems to be stirring, to wait a few seconds before picking them up, as they might just be making noise in their sleep.

Credit: Getty

The newborn stage is hard.

This may seem obvious, but sometimes even hearing that sentence alone can make you feel like you are justified in your tiredness, stress, or hopelessness. It is okay to find this stage difficult, despite what other parents may claim.

The video concludes with a gentle reminder:  “You’ll get through it, but remember to give yourself some grace in the meantime.”