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  Newborn - Confusing day and night
My baby sleeps like an angel in the day, but then seems to wake every few hours all night. I really need help with this!

This is a problem that pops up frequently with babies who are considered ‘good’ babies by their parents. They sleep for hours between feeds, and the hapless parents congratulate themselves on how easy their baby is to cope with. Of course, once nighttime falls, the baby is short of feeds, and wakes up hungry every few hours, to make up for the lack of food during the day. So, especially with newborns, do not be lulled into a false sense of security by a baby who only feeds 4 -5 hourly. Many new parents are lothe to wake a sleeping baby, as they have been told that the baby’s brain grows during sleeping. Of course that is true. But the baby’s brain can grow at night just as well.

A newborn baby has a very tiny stomach and needs to feed up to twelve times a day to get enough nutrition. It is easy to see that feeding 4-5 hourly in the day is going to lead to a short fall later on. So you need to start feeding the baby 3 hourly during the day – especially during the evening. If the baby is well fed when you give him the last feed before you go to bed too (around 10pm) then you stand a much better chance of having some nice long stretches of sleep.

The nighttime feeds should be completely different from the daytime feeds. So not make eye contact with your baby or chat to him. Keep the room as dark as possible and do not do any thing that cause him to become more wakeful.

By contrast the day feeds should be a very happy and sociable time. You can chat to the baby and enjoy his company when winding and once he is contentedly fully fed. It is not a good idea to be too communicative during the feeding itself, as some babies are easily distracted.

Remember that your baby’s brain is growing all the time, so this is the chance to programme in such useful concepts as day and night. Some babies are easier to convince than others, but it is really worth persevering.

See also:

Newborn - Appearance

Newborn - Bloodshot eyes

Newborn - Circumcision

Newborn - Colour of eyes

Newborn - Early outings with baby

Newborn - Going home from hospital

Newborn - Handling

Newborn - Jaundice

Newborn - Cradle Cap

Newborn - Heat Rash

Newborn - Red Rash On Upper Body

Newborn - Spots

Newborn - Reflexes

Newborn - Sticky eyes

Newborn - Swaddling

Newborn - Timing of feeds

Newborn - Vernix

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