What can you expect from your new baby's sleeping and feeding cycles? You might be surprised, so read on to find out more.
During the first two weeks, your baby's feeding and sleep cycles will usually be the main focus for both you and your newborn baby. You will soon discover that everything you do revolves around when your baby feeds and sleeps (as well as how much sleep you get). As every person is different, so every baby will be too. If your baby is not behaving the way the 'text books' (or we) say they should, it may be more to do with how your individual baby is, rather than what you are (or are not) doing.
Most full term babies will spend a great deal of their first few weeks eating and sleeping. On average, a newborn baby will sleep from 16 to 19 hours a day - but not all at once (sorry!) When awake, babies will feed, and at times be 'unsettled' and/or cry. They will not usually need (or want) to be entertained for very long (if at all), until they are at least 6 to 8 weeks old.
Working out a routine
Newborn babies generally have ever-changing feeding and sleep cycles to suit their individual sleep and food needs. We now know that if we encourage 'baby-led', or 'demand' feeding, (rather than a rigid, timed feeding pattern), newborn babies will usually get into a 'good' routine sooner themselves, put on weight more quickly and be more settled.
Trying to feed a baby that is not ready, or 'putting off a feed' because it is 'too soon', can make the feed an inefficient and/or unrewarding one for both of you. This is because the baby is usually too sleepy, or they have become exhausted with excessive crying. As they say - 'you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink'.
Trust your instincts