Newborn Naptime

by Nancy Newell
(Tennessee)

Since your baby has spent most of his or her first months sleeping in the womb, it makes perfect sense that the little one will spend a good share of the time sleeping after birth. However, it is a very different kind of sleep. In the womb, the baby received nourishment directly through the umbilical cord from the mother, so there was no need to wake up to eat. After being born, however, the baby will wake up about every three hours at first to eat. The baby's tiny stomach is only able to hold enough food to last about three hours, so therefore the baby will have to wake up and cry for nourishment more often. Once full, he or she will go back to sleep until the need for food wakes them again.


The baby was much more comfortable in the mother's womb. The baby slept all curled up in the fetal position, and he or she was warm and cozy inside the mother. After birth, however, the baby is no longer curled and comfortable, and the temperature change from the womb is quite different. This is one reason why they cry, other than hunger, and why they are quieted when you hold them in your arms or lay them on your shoulder. The baby is warm and comfortable there, just like the womb.

It takes a little time for all to become harmonious, but once the new parents figure out a schedule they can all work with, peace will reign in the household. A baby doesn't operate on a set schedule, though. It is up to you, as the parent, to figure out what works best when it comes to napping. Maybe your baby will fall asleep faster if you are holding, or rocking him. Soft music might lull him to sleep. Crying before falling asleep is normal, so if the baby cries when you lay him or her to bed, do not panic. Often times the baby will cry themselves to sleep within a few minutes.

Once asleep, there really is not a "set" time period for the nap. Some babies will sleep for a few hours, while others wake up in just a few minutes. All babies have to have naps at least two to three times a day, preferably in the same place each time. The crib is the ideal place because the baby will soon come to know and recognize it as his or her bed.

Don't feel as if you have to tiptoe around the house once the baby is asleep. The sooner the baby gets used to certain noises, the better he or she will be able to sleep through any activity that is going on. If your new baby starts to fall asleep in the period of a few hours before bedtime, try to play with him or her to keep them awake as long as you can. He or she will sleep better all night if they are not taking a nap just before bedtime. Remember, you may have to wait another three hours before the baby gets tired again!

Nancy Newell is a writer for My Baby Bedding Shop and is the loving parent of two. One boy and one girl. Her children are all grown up now but she loves writing about children and giving tips on certain scenarios that parents are faced with along the way. Nancy would like for you to check out her Baby Bedding. She would also like for you to take a look at these Baby Crib Bedding Sets.

Comments for Newborn Naptime

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Baby won't sleep
by: Anonymous

Oftentimes if a baby won't sleep you need to look at your habits and what you have been teaching. A family member has their daughter sleep with them in their bed. And when they go for a drive the mother sits in the backseat of the car with her. They have been doing this since their daughter was a newborn. Their daughter is now 4 years old and they are still following the same routine, but only because the daughter screams. She also will not let up when they try to put her in her own bed. She screams continuously if the mother sits in the front seat of the car and demands to have her mum in the backseat.

Cuddle baby
by: Anonymous

I so agree, that you should cuddle baby, hold and rock, make him/her feel warm, and loved and protected and secure. Our methods of having a child sit separately in a car, sleep separately in their own bed, play by themselves, is not only strange but unnatural. There is no real contact and opportunity for close physical bonding. And as for getting kids to follow some rigid sleeping patterns of our own making, those are efforts bound to be painful for parent and child!

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