Due to their ongoing development and survival needs, infants are very dependent of others, especially their primary caregiver. I’m sure that now you have started to develop a new schedule to help coordinate with your newborn, but believe me it will get easier to time coordinate with your newborn as he or she grows up. Just like you have learned or are trying to coordinate your time with your child’s, soon your child will learn to coordinate their actions and wants with yours, especially the sleeping schedule. I mean you cannot always be with them, hovering over them every second of the day. You have to work, sleep, and take care of yourself. So how do babies become associated with the social world?? There’s three answers to that: 1)sleeping 2)feeing and 3)crying. Lets begin with sleeping!
It’s probably been days since you had a good 8 hours of sleep at night without any disturbance, right? At this time, you’re probably feeling extremely tired, broken-down, weary or even annoyed by the tiniest thing. And that’s OKAY! Your body isn’t adjusted to this new schedule. You have probably asked yourself, why do I feel I get no sleep when my baby is sleeping for most of the day??? Well to answer that question, babies DO sleep most of the day. In fact, they sleep around 16.5 hours a days during the first week of their life, around 15 hours a day by the end week four, and 14 hours a day by the end of their first fourth months!!!!!! So why are you so tired??? The answer is that babies sleep in little snippets that can last a few minutes to a few hours meaning that they can be awake at any time regardless whether it is day or night. But hang in there, as your baby gets older, their sleeping schedule will lengthen and slowly start to coincide with your schedule, meaning that in a few months you will start to get those amazing 8 hours of sleep you’ve been wishing for and those great sleeps you need to feel energized and be awake and alert throughout the day. But for now when your baby falls asleep, do something for you! Whether its doing your nails, taking a shower, or getting some sleep. Take advantage of when your baby has fallen asleep because you never know when he or she will wake up. Now that we discussed sleeping let’s talk feeding!
There are many different theories out there of when babies should be fed, and of course these theories vary due to cultures. So when should you feed your baby, on demand? Every four hours? Or as often as every 2 to 3 hours? Today in United Sates parents are advised to feed their babies as often as 2 to 3 hours so that your baby isn’t starving. In my opinion, feeding your baby every four hours is quite a long time for a baby, infant, or even an adult to go without food. Studies have shown that babies that were fed every four hours were the babies that cried the most as opposed to babies who were fed when they showed signs of hunger. So what about feeding your baby on demand? I think this is the best choice, but that’s my opinion. I like this option the best because babies should be fed when hungry, simple as that. Of course don’t over nourish your baby because that is also unhealthy. Also studies have shown that babies fed on demand are more likely to coincide their meal schedule with adults by age 7 or 8. So simply, it’s up to you to decided when you feed your baby. And now that we talked a bit about feeding lets move onto crying!
Crying is the one signal we all know when something is wrong with our baby. They cry to communicate with us and let us know that they are experiencing some type of discomfort since they cannot articulate their emotions and feelings. Of course many of us, especially in the United States assume that infants are now crying on purpose to get attention and I somewhat agree with that. I believe that infants can cry out of discomfort or simply to just get attention but of course as their parent, you know them best so you have to choose wisely of when to pay attention to their needs and when to ignore it. Like I mentioned earlier about the studies of babies being breast fed on demand are the babies who cried the least, keep that in mind! If you’re an anxious parent who is still trying to figure out what your newborn needs when he or she cries, take a step back and try to listen to their cries and distinguish them. Try to recognize patterns and needs between the cries and this will help you as they get older and will make it easier by planning methods you will need when they are toddlers and are throwing tantrums at the grocery store.
Getting used to a new schedule isn’t easy. You have to help your baby fall asleep and feed them and comfort them when he or she is in distress, but it will get better and easier as time goes by. Each day you will learn a new technique that can help you the next time when you’re trying to get your baby to sleep, feed him or her, or trying to comfort them. It’s okay to feel confused, and anxious especially if you’re a first time parent but remember it will get easier, so for now hang in there because it will all be worth it!