There’s a lot of information out there to prepare new parents for everything from what to pack in your hospital bag to labor, but we know that it can be just as challenging when you’ve finally arrived home with your bundle of joy. We’re here to help you break down the ins and outs of your first night home with baby.
Sleep, Sleep, and More Sleep
Newborns spend about 75% of their time asleep! Being born is sleepy work, so during the 0 to 6 week period newborns will essentially be in an eat-sleep-diaper change cycle. They will only stay awake for 35-45 minutes at a time. Which will give you enough time to change, feed, and put baby in a new outfit before they are out like a light again!
While your little one will spend most of their first day and night at home snoozing, newborns have not developed their circadian rhythm yet, so frequent wakeups are common. The key to their midnight wakeups is to figure out what caused them to stir — the usual culprits are hunger or a dirty diaper — and fix the problem without disrupting the baby too much. When babies are first born, they are easily overstimulated by sound and light because they are just growing accustomed to being outside the womb. So, if you can fix the WHY behind their wake-up quietly and with just a nightlight, the chances of your little one quickly dipping back into deep sleep are much higher.
Distinguish Between Day and Night
The first night home is way too early to start trying to develop a sleep schedule or bedtime routine, but it’s never too early to start teaching your baby the difference between daytime and nighttime. It might seem like something everyone is born knowing, but the truth is your baby needs you to teach them the difference, and a simple way to do this is to make sure that their environment changes with the time of day. Keep it simple during your first day and night home by keeping the daytime a bit brighter and making sure that their nursery is calm, dark, and quiet all night — even during their wakeups!
Pro Tip: Use Sleepwear that Soothes
Another thing to take into consideration is what to dress baby in at night. One way to start to distinguish between day and night when you first bring your newborn home is clothing! When the sun sets on your new baby’s first day home, get them ready for sweeter sleep with gently weighted Zen Sleepwear. The Nested Bean Sweet Dreams Starter Pack is the perfect way to aid your baby’s sleep from their first night at home through 6 months of age.
As we mentioned, your baby’s first days outside of the womb can be overstimulating. All the new sights, sounds, and even smells can distract your newborn from their much-needed rest. This overstimulation can cause them to lose sleep and then doze off when they should be eating. Proper nourishment, especially during this stage, is integral for development, so make sure to give baby lots of opportunities to nurse. Basically, breastfeed anytime they wake up during this first 24-hours at home with your newborn.
Noises and Other Worries
Babies breathe through their nostrils, which are very small at this point, so you will hear some noises during the night. In addition to that, newborns do something called periodic breathing, periods of pause between breaths that last up to 10 seconds. This is completely normal and can actually be a sign that your baby is in deep sleep, but it can still be nerve-wracking! Some signs to look out for regularity can be a pause in breathing that lasts 15 seconds or more or irregularly fast breathing. As always, if you have any questions ask your doctor, but these are the general rules of thumb to keep in mind during baby’s first night home to keep your mind at ease.