Newborn Sleep Characteristics

Most newborns are very sleepy and sleep a lot in the first couple of weeks of life.  I think this is a wonderful design by God to give moms a chance to rest and recover more from birth and ease parents into a joyful, but busy transition.

They may be hard to rouse from sleep, and it may be a challenge to keep them awake while they feed, especially breastfeeding.  They also are often easier to get back to sleep, though.  But, if they are overstimulated, and if they are awake too long, it may be harder to get them to go back to sleep.  For example, if a newborn is awake longer than an hour and a half, he is very likely to get overtired, and will then release stress hormones that will make him seem “wired”. Often, this produces a baby who is very fussy, hard to soothe, and hard to calm to sleep.

If you are attentive to how long your baby has been awake, including the time he spent feeding, and you watch his cues to see when he’s getting sleepy, you can avoid a lot of stress on him and yourself by getting him to sleep in his optimal sleep window.