By The American Academy of Pediatrics, Rachel Moon
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Additional info for Sleep: What Every Parent Needs to Know
Breathing may be somewhat irregular, and she may smile or make sucking motions with her mouth. As in adults, infants’ quiet sleep is deeper than their active sleep; breathing is more regular and the baby will not move as much, although she may occasionally twitch or make a sudden movement. Unlike adults and older children, newborn babies fall directly into active sleep, a pattern that continues until they are about 3 months old. As you’ve already read, initially sleep is about evenly divided between active and quiet, but this quickly falls to a ratio of 25% active and 75% quiet in an older child or adult.
One way to help comfort your baby until she has better motor control (about 2 months) is by swaddling—that is, wrap her from the shoulders down in a sheet or lightweight receiving blanket. Some babies sleep well if they are swaddled firmly; others seem to prefer a lighter wrap that lets them keep their arms partly free. Some babies like their arms swaddled; others are more comfortable when their arms are outside the swaddle. You want to make sure that you don’t swaddle your baby too tightly, as this can make it more difficult for her to breathe or can cause problems with her hips.
Use this time to cuddle, play with, and get to know your baby. This is a great opportunity for tummy time (see “Tummy Time: A Primer” on page 31). If your baby spends most of the day sleeping and is awake most of the night, try to reverse the pattern by waking him to eat and play during the day. As evening approaches, switch to a dimmer and quieter environment. Spend less time playing and giving extra attention. Place your baby for sleep in a darkened, quiet room. Your baby is still likely to wake up every 2 or 3 hours, but given the right environmental cues, this should begin to change in a few weeks.