Many new parents might not know what is considered “normal” newborn behavior. Babies develop at different rates, but they still display many of the same behaviors. Don’t be alarmed if your baby seems a little behind. It is important to know what kind of behaviors to expect from your newborn so that you can tell if there is a problem.
If your baby was born prematurely, don’t compare his or her development to that of full-term newborns. Premature babies are often developmentally behind full-term babies. If your baby was born two months early, then he or she might be two months behind a full-term baby. Your doctor will follow the developmental progress of your premature baby. Contact your doctor if you think your baby is developing at an unusually delayed rate. Newborn babies usually sleep 20 minutes to 4 hours at a time, up to 20 hours a day. Their stomachs are too small to keep them full for long, so they need to be fed every few hours. Babies have different sleeping habits, but at three months most babies sleep 6 to 8 hours a night.
Newborns might cry for several hours a day. It is their way of telling you they need something or that something is wrong. Newborns cry when they:
- Are hungry
- Are tired
- Are too cold or too hot
- Need their diaper changed
- Need to be comforted
- Have gas
- Are over-stimulated
It is also common for newborns to hiccup, sneeze, yawn, spit up, burp, and gurgle. Sometimes newborns cry for no reason at all. If this happens, try comforting your baby by rocking, singing, talking softly, or wrapping him or her in a blanket. Soon you will be able to tell what your baby needs by how he or she cries.