How Much Sleep A Newborn Baby Needs
Your baby will need about 9 to 18 hours of sleep until they are 3 months old. The average they will sleep is about 14.5 hours.
Your baby is unique and may sleep differently to other babies. Some babies sleep for long periods, others for short bursts. They will sleep during the day and night. They might sleep for anything between a few minutes to a few hours at a time.
Newborn babies dont know the difference between day and night. Their sleep is more likely controlled by their tummies.
Newborns Communicate By Crying
The average newborn cries and fusses almost three hours a day until around 3 to 6 months of age. Some newborns cry more than this.
Newborns are usually the most unsettled during their first three months. They also have their longest periods of crying during this time.
A lot of this crying and fussing tends to happen in the late afternoon and evening.
Crying is a newborns main way of communicating, you should respond calmly and consistently.
Sometimes, there is no clear reason why a newborn is crying. They may not stop crying even though you try to help them settle.
From approximately two weeks to three to four months of age, newborns go through a stage of increased crying, which peaks around 6 to 8 weeks of age.
The crying may be difficult to soothe. If you need to take a break, place your newborn in their cot or another safe place and take a break for a few minutes. Your self-care is important.
This is a completely normal part of newborn development. There is no need for concern, as long as your baby is growing, gaining weight and is happy at other times.
However, if you are worried about your newborns crying, please talk to your maternal and child health nurse, doctor or phone the Maternal and Child Health Line on 13 22 29.
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When Should I Talk To My Doctor
- Loud snoring: If your child regularly snores loudly, this can be a sign of a problem.
- Sleepwalking: Sleepwalking is a disorder where a child is partly awake, but not completely, during the night. Your child may sit up in bed and repeat certain movements, such as rubbing their eyes. They may get out of bed and walk around the room. When you talk to your child, they usually wont answer you. If your child sleepwalks it is important that you ensure the area is safe. Gently guide your child back to bed without waking them. If the problem continues, contact your doctor.
- Night terrors: These are different from nightmares. Children with night terrors scream uncontrollably, may breathe quickly, and seem to be awake. If you wake your child, they will likely to be confused, and may take longer to settle down and go back to sleep. Night terrors usually happen between the ages of 4 and 12, but can happen to children as young as 18 months old. Most children will outgrow them, but talk to your doctor if they persist.
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The Truth About Babies And Nighttime Sleep
While in the womb, your baby was asleep most of the time and received a steady stream of nourishment around the clock. But all of that drastically changed the moment your baby was born. Suddenly, your little one had to learn how to be awake and eat on their own.
That’s a lot for a newborn to accomplish, and it takes time. Eating and sleeping dominate your baby’s schedule as all the developmental changes that they need to survive and thrive in the outside world take place.
As babies burn through calories and nutrients, their hunger wakes them up. In the beginning, this happens frequently, around the clock.
A newborn consumes only about 40 to 80 calories per feeding. This means a newborn will need six to eight feedings per day, on average, resulting in a sleep schedule that cycles every two to four hourseven at night. Sleeping through the night is not only an unrealistic expectation for a newborn. It’s an unhealthy one, too.
Keep in mind that these are just approximations, not milestones that your baby needs to reach. If your baby is a month old and is still not sleeping four hours at night, try not to worry. It’s important to respond to your baby’s hunger cues. Between daytime naps and nighttime sleep, your baby should be consistently getting a healthy amount of sleep for their age and developmental stage.
Babies Under 6 Months: When And How Much They Sleep
NewbornsNewborns sleep on and off during the day and night. They sleep for 14-17 hours every 24 hours.
They have two different kinds of sleep active sleep and quiet sleep. In active sleep your baby moves around. You might see jerking, twitching or sucking. In quiet sleep your baby is still and breathing evenly.
Newborns move through active and quiet sleep in cycles that last about 50-60 minutes. They might wake up after a sleep cycle and need help getting back to sleep.
Babies 3-6 monthsBy three months, babies start to develop night and day sleep patterns, and they tend to start sleeping more during the night. Babies usually sleep for 12-15 hours every 24 hours.
At 3-6 months, babies might start moving towards a pattern of 2-3 daytime sleeps of up to two hours each. They might still wake at least once at night.
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Sleeping Through The Night
While the amount of daytime sleep your baby needs will decrease as they get older, their nighttime sleep duration will get longer which is good news for you! However, you shouldnt expect your newborn to be sleeping through the night quite yet. Find out what to expect and how to make it happen in our article: When Do Babies Sleep Through the Night & What Might Be Preventing It?
After 3 months, your baby still needs a good 13-15 hours of sleep per day. Colic, sleep regressions, acid reflux/gas, and Moro reflex are just a few of the things that could be interfering with your babys sleep. The Zen Swaddle or Zen Sack can help with many issues, but some fixes might require a change in routine. You can check out our 7 Highly Effective Sleep Tips to help, or read up on 2 month old sleep and 3 month old sleep. If you find your baby is not getting anywhere near the amount of sleep on our chart, it might be a good idea to talk with your pediatrician to make sure everything is okay.
How Can Parents Help Their Babies Sleep Through The Night
In addition to a consistent bedtime routine, two strategies have been demonstrated as effective in helping babies sleep uninterrupted during the night: bedtime fading and graduated extinction.
Bedtime fading is putting the baby to bed 15 minutes later each night to compress sleep and limit time in bed. If the parent checks on the baby 15 minutes after putting them to bed and they are asleep, bedtime no longer needs to be delayed.
Graduated extinction is the process of creating longer and longer gaps between when a baby cries and when the parent responds to the cry. The parent waits for two minutes after the baby first cries before responding, then waits four, and then six minutes after the next cries. These waiting periods are gradually extended over time until the baby has learned to self-soothe.
Not all strategies work for all babies. Consult your pediatrician for suggestions that are right for your child.
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Week Old Sleep Schedule Development And Sleep Patterns
Your newborns sleep patterns: A 1-week old will sleep upwards of 16-18+ hours in a day, but babies this age tend to sleep in chunks of 2 hours at a time and will need to eat that often. It is important to feed 1-week-old babies often to ensure proper weight gain and, if youre breastfeeding, it helps establish your milk supply. So, even if your baby wants to sleep longer than 2 hours, you will need to wake him or her to feed. Its very likely your baby will go right back to sleep after a feeding and diaper change quite a bit of the time. Or, at least, it might feel that way.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your babys night sleep will not be very long just yet. In fact, late bedtimes are common at these younger ages and many newborns mix up day and night. This means if they are awake at all, they are awake at night when you are sleeping and then sleep in very long stretches during the day. Understandably, you may be wishing they would sleep that long at night. If so, you will want to consider correcting your newborns day/night confusion if they dont correct it themselves in the next week or so.
|1-Week-Old Sleep Schedule|
Normal Baby Sleep Versus Adult Sleep
Babies under 1 are naturally lighter sleepers compared with adults. They spend more of their sleeping time in ‘active sleep’ instead of ‘quiet sleep’.
In active sleep, babies breathe shallowly and twitch their arms and legs. Their eyes flutter under their eyelids. Babies can be easily woken up from active sleep.
Everybody has a cycle, where their sleep varies from light to deep. Adults’ sleep cycles are usually about 90 minutes. Babies’ sleep cycles are usually about 40 minutes, so they tend to wake up more often.
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How Does Feeding Affect Sleep For Babies
There is some debate about how and whether the method of feeding affects a babys sleep. While some research has found more nighttime awakenings in babies who are breastfed, other studies have found little difference between sleep patterns of breastfed and formula-fed babies.
Overall, because of documented health benefits apart from sleep, the AAP recommends exclusively breastfeeding for six months and then continuing with complementary breastfeeding for a year or more. Although not firmly established, there is some evidence that babies who are breastfed may have better sleep during their preschool years.
Helping Your Newborn Sleep
Newborns follow their own schedule. Over the next couple of weeks to months, you and your baby will begin to settle into a routine.
It may take a few weeks for your baby’s brain to know the difference between night and day. Unfortunately, there are no tricks to speed this up, but it helps to keep things quiet and calm during middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes. Try to keep the lights low and resist the urge to play with or talk to your baby. This will send the message that nighttime is for sleeping. If possible, let your baby fall asleep in the crib at night so your little one learns that it’s the place for sleep.
Don’t try to keep your baby up during the day in the hopes that he or she will sleep better at night. Overly tired infants often have more trouble sleeping at night than those who’ve had enough sleep during the day.
If your newborn is fussy it’s OK to rock, cuddle, and sing as your baby settles down. Swaddling can also help to soothe a crying baby. For the first months of your baby’s life, “spoiling” is definitely not a problem.
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When Should I Seek A Doctor’s Help
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your baby seems to be extremely fussy/irritable or cannot be soothed he/she may have a medical problem such as colic or reflux .
- Your baby appears to have a breathing problem.
- Your baby has a difficult time being awakened from sleep.
- Your baby is uninterested in feeding or persistently shies away from activity.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/17/2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- National Sleep Foundation. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Sleep. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. November 2016, 138. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Safe Sleep. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sleep Education. Healthy Sleep Habits. Accessed 3/23/2020.
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What Should A Newborn Sleep In
We recommend newborns sleep in the SNOO baby bassinet. The SNOO keeps the baby swaddled and secure in a sleep sack, while rocking them at various speeds, and using soft white noise to calm and help your baby sleep. You can learn more about the SNOO here.
Have questions about a Happiest Baby product? Our consultants would be happy to help! Connect with us at .
Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.
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Sleep Between One And Three Months
As your baby becomes more wakeful during the day, their sleep pattern may change. They might start having longer sleeps at night maybe even around four to five hours.
Most babies still need night feeds, and help to settle back to sleep.
If your baby was premature, or had a low birth weight, your doctor might recommend you only let your baby sleep for a certain amount of time before waking them for feeds.
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.
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