Silja's Sleep Diary: two weeks old

Written by Taru, Silja's mom

At two weeks old Silja spends her days feeding and sleeping ... like a newborn 'should'. On the lookout for an early newborn sleep schedule, her mom also tries out the baby sling, bathing at night and a dummy. She even gets a few long nights ...

Silja is two weeks old today and dozes on the sofa next to me while I write this.

She's not quite awake and not quite asleep, and this seems to be the way she prefers to spend her days: after all the novelty and excitement of last week, this week it's been pretty much all about eating, sleeping and pooing.
She doesn't have much of a schedule for daytime naps but seems to crash out whenever I put her in her pram, or if she's tired she'll just fall asleep wherever she happens to be.

If I'm lucky, she'll sleep in the morning between 7 and 8 am when I'm getting my 'big' kids ready for school – although today she didn't, and somehow we still just about managed to be ready for the school bus on time.

Mornings and early afternoons seem to go well, either she's napping, feeding or happily socialising with me. Late afternoons are tougher and she can be quite cranky and just want to feed all the time – I don't know why babies do this but my older kids were the exact same, too.
Co-sleeper baby with siblingsObviously this time of the day is exactly when the big kids are home and I'd like to spend some time with them, while dinner needs to be cooked and husband is not yet home.

I've been trying out a baby sling and after a couple of unsuccessful attempts Silja is starting to enjoy being carried in it. I'm hoping this will get us through cranky afternoons as I think they might well get worse as she gets a bit bigger.

Once the big kids are in bed after 8pm, quite contrary to what we'd like to happen, Silja really perks up and is all set to enjoy our undivided attention. We've been bathing her every other day and although this is supposed to calm her down, it's certainly not working for us.

Does a bath help baby sleep?

A bath is often thought to help baby calm down. However, this is usually not true, especially not for a newborn.

The thing is that a bath can be pretty disturbing for such a small baby rather than relaxing.

Maybe being in the water feels nice, but that doesn't take long, and then they have to go through the whole undressing and getting dressed thing and by that time ... no more relaxed baby.

Also the idea that a baby, or child, or adult, will have a better night after a bath is a myth.

The relation between bath and sleeping is 'scientifically' not more than this: after a hot bath, the body temperature drops (from hot bath to out-of-the-bath). A dropping temperature is exactly what naturally happens with a falling-a-sleep body.

So, if you go straight from bath to bed and have no disturbing activities inbetween, yes you can fall asleep rather easily, but the relation stops there. It will not make the night longer.

And going to bed 30 or more minutes after the bath, there will be less and less effect, if any.

By this time I'm ready for bed myself, and I'm just glad my husband is usually around and happy to spend an hour or two with her.

I wasn't too keen on introducing a dummy to her yet as I'd just like to get breastfeeding properly established first.

However, my husband wanted to get one so he could help to settle her, so he's been trying it out with her. The first time earlier this week was a spectacular failure – she spat the dummy out again and again, and apparently found the activity so stimulating that she wouldn't go to sleep for two hours afterwards.

Since then, there have been some moderate successes, and a spectacular triumph last night: my husband put Silja down in her cot wide awake with her dummy, and while I was dozing in my bed next to her, ready to feed her yet again if necessary, she just closed her eyes, quietly spat out the dummy, and fell asleep. I couldn't believe it and had to check she was breathing.

Quite surprisingly, Silja actually seems to be getting into some sort of a routine at night.

I didn't expect anything like that quite yet, and although this is probably great as I can get a fair amount of sleep, it also really freaks me out as I'm now starting to worry if she's getting enough to eat.

She feeds around 10 or 11 pm, then sleeps until around 2 am, and then until 5 or 6 am. There are all sorts of variations of this theme – earlier in the week she fed at 1.30 am, then did a huge poo. Having sorted that out, I tried to settle her in her cot, only to realise that she'd now peed all over herself and needed to have all her clothes changed. Two weeks old baby in mothers arms

After all that fun and excitement she was ready to feed again, followed by yet another poo. It was well after 3 am when she finally fell asleep.

We had a couple more nights like this, then a few nights with very straightforward 2 am feeds, and now for the last two nights she's just skipped the 2 am feed and slept right through until 5 am or later.

I'm not really complaining, but the problem with that is I keep waking up in panic and checking if she's breathing, and by 3 am my breasts feel like they're going to explode.

So it's not perfect, but could definitely be much worse at two weeks old. I'm seeing the midwife again on Monday, and if Silja has gained weight properly, I'll probably be able to stop worrying – until something else comes along.

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Silja's Sleep Diary: Three Weeks Old