30 answers

My Newborn Is nocturnal....help??!!!

my sisters son was born june 14 2008. he nurses like a champ but sleeps ALL day and is awake at night. she had a c section so is on pain killers. we think maybe thats why but we arent sure. how do you stimulate a week old and what tips can i give her to stimulate him and attempt to get him on schedule of sleeping at night and being awake durind the day??

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When he wakes up for his morning feeding (say at 6 or 7:00) feed him and then try to keep him awake as long as you can by playing with him, etc. He will probably fall asleep before the next feeding but do the best you can. After the next feeding (around 9-10:00) feed him and then put him down for a nap. Keep alternating wake and sleep times after each feeding. Wake him up to feed one last time before you go to bed (around 10 or 11:00)and then put him back down. When he wakes up in the middle of the night feed him and put him back down again. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Well i had 2 csections.. And pain pills do not affect the baby in any way.. The molacules of the pain pill are too large and wont pass to the baby .. I was told that twice.. So it is only a case of days and nights confused.. And rember no kid is alike

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Sounds like day/night confusion. Make sure that she puts the baby in a place (like a window) where plenty of light comes in during the day. Sunlight naturally nurtures the baby's biorhythms to know the difference between night and day. Also, make sure the baby is where the action is during the day and have Mom and other family members go about her business as usual. Newborns will sleep right through most of the commotion (which is fine), but at least the variables are in place to know that activity/light is awake, quiet/dark is sleep. It is probably too early to get on any kind of set schedule, but that will be a little easier in a few weeks. I used to talk on the phone, cook, and have the TV going with my newborn right there in the bouncer. It takes about a week or so to get it all worked out. :)

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When he wakes up for his morning feeding (say at 6 or 7:00) feed him and then try to keep him awake as long as you can by playing with him, etc. He will probably fall asleep before the next feeding but do the best you can. After the next feeding (around 9-10:00) feed him and then put him down for a nap. Keep alternating wake and sleep times after each feeding. Wake him up to feed one last time before you go to bed (around 10 or 11:00)and then put him back down. When he wakes up in the middle of the night feed him and put him back down again. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Our daughter had her days and nights turned around for the first couple of weeks. I too had a c/s, plus she was jaundiced and in an incubator for the first few days, but I think most newborns are like that no matter what they go through. We got Lily on a "schedule" (which of course varies--not necessarily a particular time of day) of feeding as soon as she woke up, then playing with toys and keeping her awake, putting her down to nap, and then starting over. Eventually (after 2 weeks or so) she got adjusted. I wish you the best! It's tough when they're not sleeping!!

My first was also nocturnal the first 6 weeks and that is not at ALL unusual. After that he started getting his days and nights straight....I didn't wake him up a lot like the others suggested - I hated to wake up a sleeping baby.
They usually do start to figure it out naturally around 6 weeks.

During the day, lay the baby on a blanket or in his carrier near a bright window. Don't actually put him in a patch of sunlight, but make sure he's exposed to light during the day--even when he's sleeping. Exposure to light is supposed to be key in helping our bodies adjust to wakful and restful times. Wake the baby up every three hours to eat if he doesn't do it on his own during the day--and let him sleep at long as he wants at night, and make sure there are normal household sounds during the day--in other words, make sure your sister isn't keeping things quiet. If this is her first child, and it's just the two of them, that may be happening without her meaning to, but having music or the TV on in the background or talking on the phone all count. Then in the evening, dim the lights and make things quiet. In the middle of the night don't turn on lights to feed the baby if she can help it (those green-glowing nightlights are great), and don't change the diaper at every night feeding unless there's poop in it (which may be the case though for a baby so young). And don't make eye contact or talk at all to the baby during night feedings--both of those things are stimulating for babies and you can rouse a child out of its drowsiness that way. Hope these ideas help!

Well i had 2 csections.. And pain pills do not affect the baby in any way.. The molacules of the pain pill are too large and wont pass to the baby .. I was told that twice.. So it is only a case of days and nights confused.. And rember no kid is alike

My 3 month old was nocturnal also. I talked to the Dr. about it, and he laughed at me when I asked if there was anything I could do to reverse it. He said "pray". Although this made me very angry - say that to a hormal woman on no sleep..., he is probably somewhat right. We just lived with it, and in a few weeks, she had her schedule re-set by herself.

Hang in there!

It's called "reverse cycling" and is completely normal in the first few weeks. Here's a link with more info on it and tips for handling it

And beware of any kind of "schedule" right now. The only thing baby needs in these first few weeks is unlimited cuddling and nursing. And expect baby to still sleep a lot during the day. They are not awake very much at all in these first few weeks. Also, even though all the adults in the house will want to sleep all night, don't expect baby to for a while. And actually, she should not. She should be nursed often, even overnight, in the first few weeks. As she matures, she'll be able to go longer stretches at night without nursing. In a newborn, long stretches of sleep are not a sign of a good sleeper, but rather a sign of a hungry baby. They can use sleep to get thru the pains of hunger (of course this changes as baby matures, and is able to go longer stretches without waking or nursing).

You don't say if your sister has breasfed before. Either way, here is a great link to some excellent info on the first few weeks of breastfeeding she may find helpful. This page will also provide you with even more links. I found all of them super helpful when I was first starting out.

Congrats to your sister on the new baby and for breastfeeding! Best wishes and good luck!

My youngest son at appr the same age got his days/nites turned around.What I did was let him sleep for appr an hr at nap time..then woke him up..played with him,fed him..what ever it took to keep him awake for a few hrs and let him sleep again..nap..for an hr..then started all over again.When nite came I let him sleep as long as he would which was usually appr 6hrs then we would start over again.Took appr 1week to get him back on schedual..days and nite back the way they should have been..give this a try..good luck..
S. B

My daughter was the same way. Took about a month for her to turn around. I'd say just bear with it. We would open curtains to make it lighter when we thought she'd had a long enough nap during the day. I know they say not to wake a sleeping baby, but we did try to stimulate her by tickling her feet after she'd had a long nap in the day. I would tell your sister to try to sleep when the baby does. I didn't do a good job with this. I felt like I had so much to do during the day. I was exhausted after a few weeks even though we had Grandma stay overnight a few times. My daughter is 8 now and sleeps fine. Looking back, I wish I had gone with the flow a little better and not been so uptight about getting her on my schedule.

She's going to have to be very intentional about waking him every few hours during the day to eat so that he can get on a regular schedule. I remember having to wake my daughter when she was a newborn. Try undressing him, tickling him, a cool washcloth. My husband used to cradle her in his arms and then swing her back and forth. The sudden motion did a great job waking her. Also, babies often tend to fall asleep after nursing, but it's good if you can stimulate him to be awake for a few minutes after eating. Eventually that will be his awake time and then he can take a nap before eating again. That type of schedule worked great for us. My daughter learned to go to sleep on her own at an early age and started sleeping 6 hours at night at about 5 weeks. She's been a great sleeper ever since.

I hope your sister has plenty of help. It can be very exhausting when babies don't want to sleep at night. Tell her to hang in there. It really will get better if she works to get him on a daytime schedule.

I would let him get the day-night schedule by himself. dont´t force him. I don´t think it´s good to force a one week old healthy baby to anything.
about the pain killers I´m not sure but there are still so many side effects of the medicaments that we don´t know...

Good luck!!

You really need to check with the doctor about whether or not the pain med. she is taking is coming through the breast milk. This could become quite dangerous for the baby, esp. if there is a cumulative effect.

My first child (now 2) was nocturnal as well. Actually, he NEVER slept, and I was miserable! But since then,I have learned the trick. She needs to wake that sleepyhead up every three hours during the day, no matter what! That means even if Momma is in the middle of a nap while baby is sleeping, she needs to get up and change his diaper, feed him, and try to keep him awake during the feeding and about ten minutes afterward. Then she can check his diaper again, and put him back in his bed awake. He should fall asleep unless his has gas, etc., keeping him up. If he falls asleep during nursing (as my son did) she needs to start with taking off his socks and tickling his feet. If that doesn't work, she may need to strip him all the way down to his diaper to get him to stay awake. I promise, if she sticks with this schedule, he WILL sleep through the night. Not immediately, but possible by six to eight weeks. I was so tired with my son, that if he slept, there was no way in heck that I was waking him up. But then he just wanted to party all night long. I learned my lesson by the time my daughter was born 16 months later. Now I am pregnant with my third, and I will definately stick with a routine with it. (Notice I said "routine", not schedule. I got too stressed out trying to keep them eating everyday at certain hours. So whenever he woke up for the day, I just started the three hour routine from that time.) Tell her good luck! It WILL get easier!

you have to try a couple of hours of wake time at a time then slowly change bed time and wake time the pain pills are probably the cause it will change as she gets off the pills.

Both of my girls were the same way. They are nocturnal because while in the womb, we kept them asleep when we were up and moving around. We kinda rocked them to sleep during the day, then we would lay down to go to sleep and they would wake up and start kicking around. So they kept that routine when they were born. My midwives said that a newborn needs to eat every 4 hours and not to let them sleep through it. I agree with all the other ladies with trying to keep him awake as long as possible through and after the feedings. They do eventually change, like my girls. But, I was also told to nap while the baby napped and my Mom stayed with me for a week and would take the baby for 2 to 3 hours so I could rest. I got a lot of sleep at the beginning which helped later on when I couldn't.

I had two C Sections and those pain killers should not affect that baby at all. The baby's days and nights are mixed up and you will have to switch it around. You will have to try to wake him up and not let him sleep so much during the day.
You have to shorten his naps but start off slow b/c if he gets overtired, he will not sleep either. He should wake up early and take naps as usual but his last nap, the late afternoon nap, she will have to keep him up and put him to bed around 7:30 or 8:00 at night. He will be waking up every 2-3 hours for nursing or feeding and that is normal. I used a noise machine in both of my children's rooms to add to the sleep aid and keep out household noises for a restful sleep. The baby should be sleeping all day and at night, about 18-20 hours a day at this young age. Good luck!

ok, I know you're going to look at this and go huh? but since she probably wants to sleep she might just try it.....
my great grandmother who had 22 (yes 22) children had tricks for everything. for this one, have your sister sit on the bed with her baby and slowly (and gently)support her son while having him do a summersault (spelling?) ... it supposedly resets their circadian rhythems (internal clock) and within a day or two things will shift. I of course thought this was crazy too until I did it with my own child and it worked beautifully.... good luck.

Please take it easy on yourself and your baby. I know that you've heard that you need to sleep when he sleeps. Heed that advice, it is really true. Allow yourself time to recuperate. Trying to regulate a newborn is futile. Some people are successful but it is the baby not them that makes this successful. I've had three and each one was very different. Until recently, your baby was held 24/7, never experienced hunger, never experienced being too cold or too hot, nothing was too loud or too bright. Spend the next two months pampering yourself and your baby. In two months time you will find yourself with an entirely different little creature who will be much more receptive to scheduling. Right now, he is learning that you are the wonderful lady that he can trust to meet these new needs in a timely fashion. Later, once that trust has been established, he can learn patience and order. Find someone to help you, e.g., your husband, mother, friend, etc. and then let everything else go.

I had the same issues with my infant son when I first gave birth. I also had a C-Section performed and my child was born June 13th, so I am fully aware of what your up against. The only thing I can possible advise you to do is prevent the infant from sleeping during the day. Keep him busy with talking to him and taking walking trips, that way it gives them the opportunity to work up some energy. Then the baby should sleep for most of the night. As the baby grows it will grow accustom to proper sleeping habits.

My babies were all active at night when I was pregnant. As soon as I got up in the morning it was like I was rocking them to sleep all day in the womb. When I would go to sleep they would wake up and be active at night. When they were born they were the same as your sister's son--awake at night and sleeping during the day. My mom told me to wake the baby up in the morning after I showered and was ready for the day to try to get the baby on OUR schedule. My babies always took a morning nap, an afternoon nap, were up with the family in the evening and went to bed early. All of my newborns woke up to nurse about every 3 hours. My oldest nursed every two hours. He was always hungry and is eating me out of house and home now. He is a 6'0 tall 215 pound teenager now. :o)

Most newborns are, actually. Because that is what they are used to. In the womb, babies are more active at night because in the day while mommy is moving, she is basically rocking them, and there are soothing, muffles sounds to help them sleep. Adjusting a newborn is hard and it is really up to the parents to decide how they want to do it. Keeping the baby awake during the day is mostly a matter of activity. Give him a bath, take him outside, play with him, try your best to keep him awake. He WILL be cranky and fussy. I would not recommend doing it all at once. Just try it little by little, and slowly adjust his schedule to a more desirable one. My oldest boy took less time to adjust than my youngest. It's just a matter of persistence and what that parents want to do. A cold washcloth to the face helps wake them up, but it always seemed a bit mean to me. Just try to get him up to play, hold him up, bounce him, show him things, etc. Be very active with him, and less coddling. Save the cuddles and the rocking and the singing for at night. Those are my best suggestions. Hope this helps!

make sure you make a difference between day and night.
During the day make noise, put the baby to sleep on a place with light different than the crib, so he will get the idea of night time and day time.

My ped is very vocal about having them awake every three hours during the day. I know they say don't wake a sleeping baby but if you are trying to flip their night and days then you need to. Make sure during the day you/she is waking him every three hours to eat and awake if only for a little bit and that the area is not dark and silent like the evenings. At night have a bedtime routine that is consistent and soothing. Make sure it is not stimulating and relaxing (ex. bath, swaddle, and dark). Hopefully this will help some. It does take time but we had great success each time (we have four kids the newest ones are 6 weeks and doing well with their days and nights). Good Luck and God Bless.


Ok, I had the SAME problem with my son when he was first born and my friend gave me some great advice. Wake him up once every hour during the day, if you have to use a non-warmed baby wipe to wake him up, and make him eat a little bit. If he starts going to sleep again, get him undressed so that he's not so comfy cozy, wipe his back with the baby wipe to wake him up and try again. Do this every hour until you are ready for bed, then give hime a nice warm bath with that night time baby wash, its wonderful, and then feed him til he won't eat any more and put him to bed. Worked for me, I hope it helps you. My son has slep from 9:30 to 4:30 straight, eaten and gone back to sleep til 6am or later since he was 3 months old. Unless he's teething.... which is a whole other dilemma. lol. Good luck!

you can't really start a sleep schedule that early with a baby but she can start by feeding more during the day. He will eventually adjust.

First of all remember that he is only one week old. He is used to being in the woumb. He could sleep all day when in there. It takes a while for babies to get used to being awake during the day. My daughter started sleeping through the night about 6 weeks. My older daughter is 5 and still doesn't sleep through the night. No amount of stimulation helped either of the kids. Just tell her to be patient he is only a baby afterall.

Why is the mom still on painkillers a week after the c-section? I've had four of them and never took a pain pill after I left the hospital...The first thing I would suggest is getting the mom off the pills...csection pain doesn't last that long. Yes, that could be why the baby is sleeping all day...he's on narcotics.

make sure there is alot of activity and light during the day. you can also try to keep him in cooler clothes sometimes when they get to warm and comfy they just go to sleep. good luck this is very common btw im sure when she noticed when she was pregnant he wasnt very active during the day b/c she was up moving around and swaying and when she laid down i bet her started kicking... my daughters both started at the same time ever night. kinda cool... until you are ready for bed of course!

I didn't read your other responses, but I'm older (w/4 grown and 3 'grands'). A week old is too early to call anything a 'schedule' for mom OR baby. Newborns usually feed about every 2-3 hours around the clock, so if he's sleeping more than that at a time during the day, I wouldn't feel a bit bad about awakening him and keeping him awake for a while(feeding, playing with, talking to, and handling him, etc.) several times during the day to 'wear him out', and he'll gradually (but soon) be tired enough to sleep more at night. He'll get it! I'd 'pound' my newborns (pat their backs hard enough to make a nice 'sound', but with my hands flat so as not to 'slap' them. They'd stretch and grunt and awaken with a smile. Also massage (running your fingers along his/her body, back, legs and arms with enough pressure to stir them) is effective. Touch (from super-gentle, tickly strokes to hugging/snuggling to firm rubbing) is therapeutic, even to babies.

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