6 States of Newborn Consciousness

In these early first months, newborns sleep in many short cycles and never sleep through the night.  Newborns spend their days and nights moving through six states of consciousness and each cycle runs about 60-90 minutes long. Most babies will have a single four-hour stretch of sleep once a day.  These short sleep cycles help babies to feed often and develop quickly.

Most babies need extra holding and feeding in the afternoon and evenings.  You can prepare for this by preparing dinner at Lunchtime and then taking a nap. Once you understand your baby’s habits and patterns you can organize your day around their needs. However, be aware that the baby’s patterns change almost as soon as you figure them out as they grow.

  1. Deep sleep

A quiet calm baby who breaths rhythmically with occasional jerks or facial expressions. This is a period of necessary healing and growth.  Loud noises fail to wake the baby.

  1. Light sleep

A sleeping baby moves frequently in their sleep twitching, making noises, and breathing irregularly.  You may note REM eye movements. The baby may startle with loud noises and fall back to sleep.

  1. Drowsiness

The baby acts sleepy with loose muscles, yawning, fluttering eyelids, and irregular breathing.  And it is normal for this baby to wake and fall back to sleep as an instinctual response to stimulation.  Rocking will assist in sleeping and talking with waking.

  1. Quiet alert

The baby is wide-awake and alert but also is calm and relaxed. They are attentive to their environment, looking around and interacting peacefully. This is a period of learning.

  1. Active alert

The baby is alert and active or agitated. They are moving around, making faces and noises, as well as breathing irregularly.  Babies are usually looking for something like food or a diaper change at this time. Failure to address their need will cause the baby to cry.

  1. Crying

A crying baby is flailing around, making faces, breathing irregularly, and moving between crying and screaming, with or without tears.  They are unreceptive to soothing and act irritated by everything you are trying.  Crying shows that their needs were not met, and they cannot wait or cope with the situation any longer. They need comfort and safety. Crying is their last method of communicating a need.


Image credit: Pixabay