June 16, 2024

A Realistic "What to Expect" with your Newborn

A Realistic "What to Expect" with your Newborn

As a new mum, you might find yourself exhausted, confused, and perhaps even frustrated by your newborn's patterns. The idyllic image of a peacefully slumbering baby often contrasts sharply with reality.

Understanding and normalizing what to expect from your baby can help you manage your expectations and find some peace in the early months.


In the first few weeks, babies sleep a lot—usually around 14 to 17 hours in a 24-hour period. However, this sleep is not continuous. Instead, it's broken into short bursts ranging from 30 minutes to 3 hours, both day and night.

Newborns have tiny stomachs and need to feed frequently, and the number one priority is to establish good feeding, whether that is formula or breast milk. Their sleep-wake cycles are primarily driven by hunger and does not differentiate between day and night as it does once the circadian rhythm starts to take charge.

This means that your baby may wake to eat as frequently as every 2 hours all around the clock. And guess what – this is NORMAL!

Napping comes with a huge variation for newborns, too. Sometimes you may get a sleepy baby who will gladly sleep consistent 2 hour chunks through the day, but a baby of the same age may only take 30 minute snoozes and need to be assisted to maintain this nap. If that contrast isn’t enough, your little one may even do both alternating from day to day to really keep you on your toes.


The witching hour is a common experience for many newborns. It typically occurs between 5.00 to 11.00pm and can last for a few hours despite the misleading name "Withing HOUR".

During this time, your baby may become unusually fussy, cry more, and be difficult to settle. This period of increased irritability often peaks around 6 to 8 weeks of age and can persist until your baby is about 3 to 4 months old.

There is no exact explanation for why witching hour occurs, but there are a few factors that may contribute to the severity of it. It is thought that overstimulation of the new life your little one is now living or overtiredness from a busy day may increase your bubs witching hour. You may also find witching hour more severe if they are dealing with gas or digestive discomfort.

The biggest assumption regarding witching hour though, is that at the end of the day, your baby is looking for additional comfort, so often this goes hand-in-hand with our next point - cluster feeding.


Cluster feeding involves your baby wanting to feed more frequently over a short period, usually during the witching hour. Instead of feeding every 2-3 hours, your baby might want to nurse every hour or even more frequently, sometimes wanting to remain latched for hours on end.

While this can be exhausting after an already taxing day (and ahead of another sleepless night), cluster feeding is extremely normal and serves several important purposes:

  • Increased milk supply: frequent nursing helps stimulate your milk production to meet your growing baby's needs.
  • Comfort and security: nursing provides comfort and a sense of security for your baby, especially during the fussy witching hour.
  • Preparing for Longer Sleep: babies often cluster feed in the evening to fill their tummies and prepare for a longer stretch of sleep at night.

Some other things you may experience in the early weeks that can feel overwhelming:

  • Babies poop. A LOT. You will go through so many nappies.
  • They generate so much laundry. You and your little one will go through multiple pieces of clothing in a day.
  • They will cry more than you think they will. YOU will too. 
  • You will always doubt yourself, but trust that you know best and you’re doing a phenomenal job.
  • Going into motherhood with your second seems so much less scary, but your second (or third, fourth…) may be a completely different temperament and have you feeling like a new mum again.

I hope this helps you know that you are not alone. Everything listed above is normal and almost every mum will see some or all of these challenges. Just as you are learning to be a mum, your baby is learning how to to be a baby and it’s ok that it feels a bit rocky.

As your baby grows, the days will gradually become more predictable, and you’ll find yourself getting more rest and less stress.


If you are preparing for a newborn or are in the trenches of the adjustment and feel you need support or reassurance, our 30min Quick Chat is the perfect option for you as we can run through realistic expectations and provide you comfort.

We will help you come up with a loose plan on how to navigate your newborn routines and strategies to help navigate everything you’ve read on above.

  • Check out our Newborn Sleep Guide that is packed full of information to help you navigate the first couple of months with your new bub.
  • Not sure what is right for you? Get on the phone to one of our experienced consultants with our FREE 15min Discovery Call