Your Newborn’s Sleep: Leap 1
Welcome to parenthood!!!
The early weeks of parenthood are a total daze and just when you think you may be getting the hang of it, your baby starts being cranky more than usual, crying a lot, is extra clingy and not sleeping well. This leaves us wondering:
- What am I doing wrong?
- Is something wrong with my baby?
- Am I not producing enough milk?
- Will I never sleep again?
- Am I spoiling my baby?
First things first, deep breaths! You will get through this!
What’s going on is your little one has hit Leap 1.
What Is A Leap?
A leap is mental grow phase where babies gain new perspectives and abilities. During these timeframes, babies are able to perceive or sense the world differently than they were able to before. Leaps can affect some or all the senses, including feel, smell, taste, hear and see.
Babies will experience difficult periods during their first 20 months of life while they are going through these dramatic developmental progressions. Babies can experience mood, disturbances, more tears, clinginess and a crankiness. Sometimes babies will eat less during these periods. Also, sleep can be disrupted.
Knowing about these leaps helped explain what may be happening with my baby at different ages and stages. Above all, it provided insight into how I could support her through the developmental leaps.
When Do Leaps Happen?
One thing to note is that leaps are based on your baby’s adjusted age. This means that leaps should be calculated based on your due date, not the day your little one was born.
Leap 1 = around 5 weeks
Leap 2 = around 8 weeks
Leap 3 = around 12 weeks
Leap 4 = around 19 weeks
Leap 5 = around 26 weeks
Leap 6 = around 37 weeks
Leap 7 = around 46 weeks
Leap 8 = around 55 weeks
Leap 9 = around 64 weeks
Leap 10 = 75 weeks
Signs Your Baby Has Entered Leap 1
This leap usually happens around 1 month old. Here are some telltale signs that your baby is in leap 1:
- Starts to cry more than before – this is usually the first sign your baby has entered the leap
- Is generally crankier than normal
- Seems to cling to you and not want to be away from you
- May want to nurse/feed all the time
- Was sleeping around the clock and may suddenly stop sleeping well
How Long Will The Leap Last?
A developmental leap will happen for a day or may last up to a week and then your baby should calm down again.
That’s encouraging, right?
How Can We Bring Back Sleep?
As exhausting as the newborn period is, it’s helpful to know that it is normal for your baby to not have any sleep patterns at this age. During this time, it may feel like a 24/7 nap fest and a lot of that sleep may be while holding your little one. Don’t worry about spoiling your baby. “Bad” habits aren’t learned quite yet.
In short, what’s your goal during this leap?
Do anything you need to do to safely promote sleep for your baby and you.
Review the AAPs guidelines for safe sleep.
>>DOWNLOAD OUR NEWBORN SLEEP TIPS<<
Here are some additional things to help with sleep and setting your little one up for healthy sleep habits:
Keep Awake Windows Short
Your baby can only be awake around 45-60 minutes at this age. As a result, getting your baby down before they are overtired (when possible), will help to keep your baby better rested and easier to move through this leap.
The Witching Hours
It is common for your baby to be fussier in the evening. This is known as the “witching hours” or the period of purple crying.
It’s important to remember that this is a normal development phase, but if you have concerns, put a call into your pediatrician.
Soothing Your Baby
One of my favorite ways to soothe a baby when fussy or if they are tired is to use the 5 S’s created by Dr. Harvey Karp.
- Side or stomach position – while awake – back for sleep!
- Shush / Sound machine
- Swing – gentle bobble head motion back and forth
- Suck – pacifier, clean finger or breast
Additional soothing tips:
- Hold and cuddle your baby A LOT
- Frequent feeding – to help with the growth spurt and if you are nursing, your amazing body knows to produce more melatonin in your breastmilk in the evening to help your baby sleep better
- A change of scenery – getting outside, weather permittingBaby massage/stroking
- A warm bath, followed by a warm towel and baby massage
You may try ALL. THE. THINGS. and your baby is still inconsolable. You aren’t doing anything wrong – this is normal and it will pass. See Parent Tips below.
Day to Night Confusion
Day to night confusion is where babies sleep longer during the day and wake more at night. Not ideal for us as adults! However, this is a good timeframe to begin working on helping your baby figure out their days from their nights. Once your little one figures this out, you can begin getting longer stretches at night, once your baby is able to sleep longer periods. Here are some tips to help with day to night confusion:
- During the day, keep the blinds and curtains open, exposing your little one to natural light.
- In the evening, close the blinds and dim the lights
- At night, keep the sleep space as dark as possible
- For night feeds, no flirting. Try to make the feeding all business and use a sleep safe light.
Keeping a sleep log is a great way to learn your baby’s patterns and sleep needs. You can use an app like Huckleberry or download our free sleep log.
Leap 1 Parent Survival Tips
Crying, crankiness and clinginess can wear on even the most patient parent. Keep in mind that Leap 1 is temporary and brighter days are ahead!
Meanwhile, here are some things that you and your partner can do to help each other make it through Leap 1.
- Try to stay calm. Deep breaths will be your BFF. If you are stressed, it will be very hard to calm your baby as your little one will feel your stress. Take turns taking breaks as needed.
- Go easy on yourself. You aren’t doing anything wrong. This is a normal phase of development and it will pass.
- Follow your instincts. If you are concerned, a call or visit to the pediatrician for a well-child visit may help to put your mind at ease.
- See a lactation counselor. If your baby is nursing a ton more during this timeframe, it can start to create insecurity about your milk supply. If you start to feel this way, see a lactation counselor for a weighted feed and advice, if needed.
- Share the load. Take turns each getting a longer stretch of sleep. One parent goes to bed early and the other parent tends to the baby until 12:00 – 1:00 am. Then the second parent is on duty.
- Call in reinforcements. If you have friends or family offering to help, take them up on it and then you go take a nice, long nap!
As your baby moves through Leap 1, your little one is going to need a lot of extra comfort and cuddles! Don’t worry about spoiling your baby – you are taking care of their needs right now and this isn’t here to stay!
You are doing a great job! Keep up the good work!
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