Newborns sleep most of the time -- about 90 percent of the day or night -- and will often fall asleep right at the breast. Half of this sleep time is spent in quiet sleep, the other half in active sleep. These two states alternate about every 30 minutes.
In quiet sleep, the baby's face is relaxed and the eyelids are closed and still. There are no body movements except rare startles and extremely fine mouth movements. The baby is at full rest; breathing is very regular.
In this state, an infant’s eyes are usually closed, but occasionally they will flutter from closed to open. You can often see the eyes move under the lids. The term rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep refers to the eye movements observed during this type of restless sleep.
In active sleep, occasional body activity ranges from movement of the arms and legs to stirring of the entire body. Breathing is not regular and can be slightly faster than it is in quiet sleep. While asleep, infants in this state often make funny faces -- grimaces, smiles, frowns -- and may display chewing movements or bursts of sucking. When babies wake, they usually have been in active rather than quiet sleep. Adults dream while in REM sleep; no one knows whether infants also dream in this particular sleep state.
- How to Comfort a Crying Baby
- Breastfeeding Immediately After Birth
- Reading Your Baby’s Cues
- The First Hour of Life