How Much Does A Newborn Baby Sleep
Babies and infants require a lot of sleep. A healthy newborn baby will spend a majority of their 24-hour day sleeping.
To be exact, a newborn should sleep 17 to 20 hours per day, on average. These hours arent consecutive. If they were, parents would never have problems with sleep deprivation! A newborn will sleep one to four hours at a time. Most often, your baby will sleep two to three hours chunks.
Nighttime sleep should be eight to 12 hours, waking every two to four hours to eat. Breastfed babies do tend to wake up every two to three hours because breast milk digests faster.
Most newborns can only stay awake for 45 minutes to an hour at a time. You have to be cautious not to keep your baby awake for too long! An overtired baby is harder to get to sleep and fussy.
Throughout the first 12 weeks of life, your baby will start to develop day and night sleep patterns. By the time your baby is three months old, he will sleep 14 to 15 hours per day. Babies are always changing!
Stats On Parental Sleep Deprivation
Almost all parents will experience sleep deprivation in the first six weeks or so after a baby is born. After all, babies dont even know night from day at that point. But even once babies consolidate more of their sleeping to the nighttime hours, sleep deprivation is still part of the new parent experience during the first year, and usually beyond.
In fact, a 2019 study published in the journal Sleep found that parents experienced some sort of sleep deprivation for the first six years of their childrens lives. Of course, this doesnt mean that the magnitude of sleep deprivation was the same throughout, but it is very common for young children not to sleep as soundly as we hope and expect them to. Here are some other highlights from the study:
- Mothers reported an average of 40 minutes lost sleep per night in the first year of their babys life.
- Mothers were the most sleep-deprived during the first three months of their babys life, reporting an average sleep loss of about an hour.
- Fathers experienced sleep loss as well, but not as intensely as mothers, averaging a sleep loss of 13 minutes per night during the first three months.
- Mothers reported lingering sleep deprivation for the first four to six years after the birth of their first child, though similar results were not reported after the birth of subsequent children.
Put Off Extra Responsibilities
You want to get back to feeling like your normal self soon after giving birth, but dont push yourself. Put off any extra responsibilities that you may feel inclined to take. You dont NEED to bring a dish to that work potluck. Everyone will understand that youre tired!
Dont volunteer with your childs classroom. Skip some playdates and dont feel obligated to head to a family party if youre really tired.
All of these things are great, but if youre exhausted, theyre only going to make matters worse. Right now, you need to preserve all of your energy and not waste it on activities that arent necessary.
Lets be honest youre in a survival mode right now with a newborn baby! Your single goal is to survive until your baby sleeps longer stretches, and you CAN do it! This hard stage only lasts so long, and itll just be a painful memory before long.
Don’t Miss: What To Do If My Newborn Is Constipated
Newborns Are Noisy Sleepers
Irregular breathing that may include short pauses and weird noises is rarely cause for alarm, but it can freak new parents out.
Here’s a quick lesson on your baby’s respiratory development to put things into perspective: A newborn’s normal breathing rate is about 40 to 60 breaths a minute while he’s awake, though that may slow to 30 to 40 breaths per minute once he’s asleep. Or he might take shallow, rapid breaths for 15 to 20 seconds followed by a total pause in which he stops breathing entirely for a few seconds.
You can blame all this on the immature breathing-control center in his brain, which is still a work-in-progress.
Create A Relaxing Bedtime Routine Like A Bath
Time is a precious commodity when you have a baby, and adding something new to your routine could sound intimidating. But even adding a few minutes to your bedtime routine could make a big difference. “It’s also helpful for new moms to have their own relaxing bedtime routine to unwind after a hard day of taking care of their new baby,” says Murray. “A great way to start a bedtime routine is with a bath. It will help to soothe her muscles and mind. Additionally, a bath helps to lower your body temperature, which facilitates sleep — as our body temperature has to lower by two degrees in order to fall asleep.”
If you tend to feel overwhelmed before bed and struggle with a racing mind at night, Murray suggests adding a few minutes of journaling to help process emotions and worries. “This will allow her to process her emotions so that she isn’t kept awake by a racing mind after an overnight feeding session,” she says.
Read Also: How Much Formula Can A Newborn Have
How Long Might Older Babies Sleep For
By the time babies are about three months old, around half may sleep for about five hours during the night . Between three and six months the balance of light and deep sleep becomes more organised, so babies settle more easily .
As babies get a bit bigger, youll notice that their sleep time will decrease to around 15 hours by 12 months. Most of that sleep will be at night and the rest during one or two daytime naps .
Although, just to let you know, night time waking might not disappear completely. It is still normal behaviour after three months and 27% of one year olds still wake in the night .
Keep The Crib Free Of Objects Including Bedding
Until your baby reaches 12 months of age, make sure that their crib is free of loose items, such as blankets, pillows, toys, and stuffed animals. These items increase the possibility of accidental suffocation. A pacifier, however, is fine to give to your baby and may even reduce the risk of SIDS.
A fitted sheet that remains snugly on the crib mattress, without the possibility of bunching or coming loose, is recommended. Sometimes parents mistakenly believe that blankets or bedding are okay if they are placed flat beneath the baby, rather than used to cover the baby. Aside from a fitted sheet, no bedding should be in the crib as a baby sleeps, regardless of where it is placed.
Read Also: When To Start Bathing Newborn
How Much Sleep Does Your Baby Need
Newborns sleep about 16 hours a day, usually in 3- to 4-hour periods. Your baby needs to eat every few hours, which is why she doesnt sleep for longer periods of time. Your baby may get cranky or overtired if she doesnt get enough sleep.
Dont be surprised if your baby can only stay awake for an hour or two. Over time, her body gets into a sleep pattern. She starts sleeping for longer stretches, even during the night. If youre worried about your babys sleep, talk to her health care provider.
Dont Let Your Baby Overheat
How should you dress baby for sleep? Simple is safest. Put your baby in a base layer like a one-piece sleeper, and skip the socks, hats or other accessories. Instead of a blanket, use a sleep sack or swaddle. Shell be warm enough but not too warm. Never use weighted swaddles, sleep sacks or blankets for your baby.
A room temperature of 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit is best. To tell whether your baby is too warm, feel the nape of her neck. If she’s sweating, shes too hot.
You May Like: How Do I Get My Newborn On Medicaid
The Decision Whether To Cosleep With Your Baby Is Extremely Controversialand There Are Two Sides To The Story
Few parenting conversations in early childhood elicit as much angst and judgment as the one about our childrens sleep: Where should they sleep, and how do we get them to sleep through the night? We label newborn babies as good, or not, depending on how much they disturb us in the nighttime, or we believe babies sleep is a reflection of our parenting competence.
But our beliefs and decisions about childrens sleep are more a reflection of the culture we live in than the scientific evidence for whats best for children, says anthropologist James J. McKenna, in many of his 150 scientific articles on childrens sleep. McKenna is director emeritus of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, and author of Safe Infant Sleep: Expert Answers to Your Cosleeping Questions. He has devoted his career to understanding what happens to babies and their caregivers when they sleep together versus apart.
McKennas conclusions, supported by research from other anthropologists and developmental scientists over the last 30 years, have thrown him into direct conflict with the American Academy of Pediatrics over recommendations about where babies should sleep. Separately, say the pediatricians, while McKenna and his colleagues say, Together, but safely. McKennas easy-to-read book offers important insights about how cosleeping can be made safe and what kind of benefits it might promote for childrens development and parents well-being.
Swaddle And Keep Him Cozy
After spending nine months in a tight tummy, its no surprise that your newborn prefers a snug space now. Sure, hell grow into the crib eventually, but for now, he might prefer sleeping in a bassinet or cradle, which offers your baby a cozier, more contained space to settle into.
Swaddling your baby with a blanket or dressing him in a sleep sack will offer an extra dose of security and may even help him sleep a little longer. Just be sure to stop swaddling by the time he’s 3 or 4 months old, when he can roll over and wriggle out of his swaddle or blanket.
Don’t Miss: How To Alleviate Gas In Newborns
Sleeping Problems Whats Not Normal
Babies can be snuffly or noisy sleepers. Its common for babies to have irregular breathing patterns when they sleep they might breathe quickly, and then have short pauses, for example. This is normal.
If youre worried about your babys sleep because:
- you cant settle them
- they sleep for long periods
- theyre too tired to feed
- they dont wake for feeds
- theyre not feeding well, or not having many feeds
- theyre breathing more quickly than usual
- theyre wheezing or grunting
then contact PlunketLine on , or talk to your midwife, doctor, or your Well Child nurse.
Put Your Baby To Sleep In A Crib
A crib or something similar, like a bassinet or bedside sleeper, is the safest place for your baby to sleep at night. Other furniture, like couches and chairs, can be very dangerous for infants. Even devices made for babies, like car seats, carriers, swings, and strollers, are not recommended for use as regular sleeping locations. If your baby falls asleep in one of these devices, it is best to place them on a firm mattress as soon as possible. Later, as an infant grows older, parents may prefer to introduce a toddler bed.
Recommended Reading: What To Pack For Your Newborn At The Hospital
Tips To Improve Sleep For New Moms
Sleep deprivation and motherhood donât have to go hand-in-hand.
Oh baby! Motherhood is a little different from what you had in mind. Of course, you love your baby more than you could have ever imagined. But you havenât had a good nightâs sleep in weeks — maybe months. And this sleep deprivation isnât likely to let up anytime soon!
Itâs not easy caring for your baby — not to mention the rest of your family — when you are sleep deprived. Itâs also dangerous. Drowsy driving, such as driving your infant to the pediatrician when you have had little or no sleep, is responsible for an estimated 100,000 crashes each year, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And sleep loss can also increase a new momâs risk of postpartum mood problems.
So what can you do about it? A lot, experts tell WebMD. Follow these 10 expert tips for improving your sleep while bringing up baby.
Week 5 Of Newborn Sleep Schedule
The dream feed is one of the most important feeds of the day. Or night, rather.
Because its what will help baby get a longer stretch of sleep through the middle of the night and its whatll help you do the same!
A dream feed is essentially a feeding you give the baby between 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm or so, right before you go to sleep.
It helps top the baby off so to speak and will hopefully allow you both an extra hour or two of uninterrupted sleep.
This feed is important because it works to fill the babys tummy during early evening hours so they learn to sleep long stretches.
It is also the last feed youll likely drop.
When you have only one nighttime feed left this will be that feed.
Heres a handy dandy list of 28 things to try so baby will stop fighting sleep and sleep longer and later.
Recommended Reading: How Much Does Daycare Cost For A Newborn Per Week
Reasons Newborn Babies Cry
- They are hungry and need to feed
- They are tired and need to nap. Essentially newborns nap between each feeding. If baby has been up more than 1.5 hours then they are tired, and likely overtired.
- They are physicallyuncomfortable. Baby may have a wet diaper, dirty diaper or be too hot or cold. Generally, newborns need about one more layer than we do!
- They have reflux and its uncomfortable. You will see your pediatrician, of course, for this, then use the information here to keep baby as comfortable as possible until they outgrow this.
- They have colic and/or are letting off steam. Newborns dont usually develop colic until around 6 weeks or so, but some crying is normal with newborns. Its the only way they can communicate. Our job is not to stop their crying as quickly as humanly possible, but to learn to decipher their cries so we can meet their needs appropriately and promptly.
Other Tips For A Safe Night Sleep
In addition to safe clothing and sleeping surfaces, there are a few other tips you can implement to ensure that your newborn has a safe night sleep:
- Put baby to sleep using a pacifier
- Avoid smoking around baby
- Breast-feeding your baby is associated with a lower incidence of SIDS
- Keep babys room well ventilated
Kopa Births online birthing classes allow you to prepare for a natural hospital birth from the comfort of your own home, 24/7. Enroll today in our free online childbirth class to start preparing for a natural childbirth.
Hockenberry, Marilyn., Wilson, David. . Wongs Nursing Care of Infants and Children. Elsevier, St. Louis, MO. pgs 542-543.
American Academy of Pediatrics. . SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. Pediatrics, Volume 128, Number 5.
Moon, R. Y. How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained Retrieved from
Rechtman, L., Colvin, J., Blair, P., Moon, R. . Sofas and Infant Mortality. Peadiatrics, Nov, Volume 134, Issue 5.
Read Also: How To Prevent Flat Head Newborn
Sleep When Your Baby Sleeps
Any experienced baby nurse will tell you that the key to staving off postpartum sleep deprivation is to sleep when your baby sleeps. âIf your baby takes a nap, put everything aside and take a nap too,â Zafarlotfi says. âEverything can wait — except the baby.â
Park agrees. âIt is very tempting to try and do chores, wash dishes, do laundry and clean floors when your baby is asleep. But accept that your house is dirty and messy and go to sleep because once baby is up, you have to be up too,â she says.
Do not use this time to make phone calls or catch up on episodes of Greyâs Anatomy, 24, or other favorite shows that you have been recording.
âI donât care of you have piles of laundry all over the house — if you are too tired to drive your child to the pediatrician, you have a problem on your hands,â says Michael Breus, PhD, author of Beauty Sleep and the clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health in Glendale, Ariz.
Getting Your Baby To Sleep
Some babies sleep much more than others. Some sleep for long periods, others in short bursts. Some soon sleep through the night and some dont for a long time. Your baby will have their own pattern of waking and sleeping, and its unlikely to be the same as other babies you know.
It’s also unlikely to fit in with your need for sleep. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps. If you’re breastfeeding, in the early weeks your baby is likely to doze off for short periods during a feed. Carry on feeding until you think your baby has finished or until they’re fully asleep. This is a good opportunity to try to get a bit of rest yourself.
If you’re not sleeping at the same time as your baby, don’t worry about keeping the house silent while they sleep. It’s good to get your baby used to sleeping through a certain amount of noise.
Also Check: How Much Does A Newborn Sleep In The First Week