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How can we get our newborn to sleep at night as soundly as he does in the day?

My wife and I had our first child three nights ago. The last two days she has been sleeping all day and up for a good chunk of the night. Can anyone recommend any techniques for shifting the majority of her awake hours to the day time?

  • Firstly, congratulations! Secondly, I'm in the same boat- Ours is 13 days old now, and my wife and I just feel like zombies. I asked a similar question a few days ago, and it looks like the best advice is to just wait it out. They'll learn eventually.
    – Urbycoz
    Apr 16 '12 at 11:59

Give it time. The baby is used to sleeping all day because that's what the baby used to do in the womb - I am certain your wife used to complain how the baby starts moving around in the womb right when she used to lie down in bed for the night.

With a newborn, there is little you can do in terms of training her. You can only "encourage" her by keeping noise levels low, lights off, lowering your voice - i.e. minimize the stimulation so she is "bored" to sleep. Similarly, in the day time, continue to wake her for her regular feedings and play with her when she is awake. Keep the lights on, talk to her, etc. But make sure that she is still sleeping the 14-16 hours of sleep that newborns need.

Be careful not to exhaust or tire your child thinking that if it is exhausted, it'll sleep all night. It won't. All you'll end up with is a baby that is too tired to stay awake but is hungry. The baby will keep waking up every 10-15 minutes to eat for a couple of minutes. It's a nightmare!

As for you and your wife coping with this, unfortunately, the best thing to do is to turn into night owls yourself. Try sleeping when the baby is asleep and don't be shy to take naps during the day.

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