If you find that your newborn has confused day and night (sleeping all day and awake all night), here are some thoughts to try and reverse the cycle.
Being too warm.
Very young babies that are overdressed and too warm may fall asleep easily. Falling asleep without issue may not seem like much of a problem, but being overdressed may cause your baby to slip into a pattern of too much daytime sleep, which often leads baby to stay up all night. If you find that your baby is waking only to feed, then fall back to sleep immediately at the breast/or bottle during the day, being overdressed may likely be the culprit (unless your baby is an extremely long nurser).
Some babies are sleepier than others, so unless you are having an issue, there is no need to worry about too much daytime sleep. But keep in mind that even very young babies need to be awake some of the time. I want to make it clear that I am not implying in any way that one should overstimulate their child to keep them awake. However, I am suggesting that during the day, if your baby has confused day and night, that one should promote the reverse. The lights should be on (of course not during nap times) and baby should be allowed a kick around on the floor gym or anywhere laying in front of you. Dimly lit rooms are nice and cozy, but will not promote baby to stay awake. A nice stroll around the house or a look out the window are also great activities for little babies.
If your baby is falling asleep at the breast because he is overdressed, not only may he be getting too much daytime sleep, but he may be falling asleep before he gets a full feed. Baby needs to take in a certain amount of calories during the day. If a drowsy baby is falling asleep before getting a full feed, he may nurse excessively at night and you both may get little rest.
Take a break!
If you’re keeping baby cool and you find that he/she is still falling asleep quickly and seemingly not taking a full feed, my favorite trick is to let baby feed from one breast then lay him down to wiggle around for 10 to 15 minutes. After the intermission, a wide eyed baby can then take a full feed from the other breast (then fall asleep, lol).
At 6 weeks old, my daughter began sleeping through the night, every night (12 hours). I then started drinking coffee and over a 2 month period I drank two cups of coffee per day, a couple days a week. The other days I consumed no coffee. My daughter began waking up like clockwork at 4:30am, but only on the days I drank coffee. I carried on with my coffee routine noting the days I drank coffee to see if my daughter would wake. Over a 2 month period she only woke on days I drank coffee and since I’ve stopped she hasn’t woken up since. I am not suggesting I preformed a proper study, but it is definitely food for thought in how caffeine may be affecting your baby.
This is a topic for a longer article, but for now I will say that an overtired or overstimulated baby often fights sleep. A newborn should be getting 3 to 4 daytime naps and only staying up for 2 hour stretches at most.
If you have found a routine that works for you and your family this is not a criticism on your parenting choices or baby, this article was written to hopefully aid tired parents that are struggling with a baby that is up all night.
I am not the authority on any topic asked in this forum. For questions that may have medical implications, please consult your doctor or midwife. The purpose of this section of the site is to provide support, help, or a sounding board for individuals. Whether a person is going through struggles, would like to know they’re not alone, or find out which bottle worked best for my children, I will do my best to answer. There are going to be many ways to reply to all questions posted. I am merely providing my perspective. This forum is not meant for debate.