Understanding your newborn’s eating and sleeping pattern

Understanding your newborn’s eating and sleeping pattern

18 May 2022 | 4 min Read


Author | 2574 Articles

As a new mother, you’re reading every possible book on how to take care of a newborn, watching endless videos on baby needs and have your pediatrician’s number on speed dial. A common issue of every mother is the sleep concerns of a newborn. A baby of 0-6 months old sleeps for about 16-20 hours a day on an average and wakes up mainly to feed. You probably don’t know if your baby will wake up on his/her own to feed or if you should wake him. Also, judging by the amount your child sleeps, you aren’t sure if your baby’s doing alright. Here, we’re going to decode the mystery behind the sleep cycle of a baby.   

Sleep cycle of a newborn

Your baby needs more sleep than you can imagine. Until the age of four months, it is mandatory that your baby gets 15 hours a day of sleep. Sleep patterns of each baby are different and completely unpredictable. Some sleep in blocks of time and cover their 15 hours of sleep, whereas other sleep at a stretch to cover the same. Babies spend about 80% of their time in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. An adult has about only 20% of REM sleep. This is the phase where they dream. This means a baby dreams a lot more than we do. REM sleep is good for your newborn as it develops more brain activity. You must understand the pattern of light and deep sleep of your baby. On an average, a baby’s light and deep sleep cycle are of 50-70 minutes. Thus, after every 50-70 minutes, your baby enters a light sleep. This is the best time to wake your baby if required. The time might vary from baby to baby.

Why should I wake my baby?

The most obvious reason is to feed him. As an adult, you feed enough to sustain throughout the night, but a baby needs to be fed at regular intervals. Another reason why you should wake your baby is to teach him/her the difference between day and night. When they are 5-6 months old, they should be taught that night is for sleeping. Therefore, you must play more and try to keep them active during the day. At night, dim the lights and minimize the noise to let them know it’s sleeping time.

How much milk does my baby need?

Each baby needs to have the proper nutrition for proper growth. A must know for every mother is how much breast milk/formula milk your baby need and when he/she should be fed. Firstly, you need to understand the signs and cues of when your child is hungry and when he/she has had enough. Research mentions that most babies require 150-200 ml of formula per kilogram of their body per day. 

1. During the first 2-4 weeks, a baby must be given no more than 60-70 ml during each feed.

2.  When your baby is two weeks to two months old, he/she will consume 75-100 ml per feed.

3.  Between 2-6 months your baby needs 100-200 ml per feed.

The above information is just an approximate quantity. Like adults, each baby has a different appetite. So, it is fine if your baby does not have the same intake every time.

Should I wake my baby to feed him?

Yes, you should wake a sleeping baby at regular intervals. It is generally assumed that a sleeping baby is full and satisfied. However, your newborn needs to feed regularly. For the initial 2-3 weeks, you need to feed them every two hours. As they grow, you can set the pace for them according to convenience. You can give a gap of 4-5 hours at night. With the above information, we hope the mystery of the sleeping baby is resolved for the most part.



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