How Much Do Newborn Babies Sleep

How Much Should A Newborn Baby Sleep

How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?

Newborns require up to 18 hours of sleep during each 24-hour period. Most newborn babies sleep an average of 16 to 17 hours, however.

Unlike children and adults who generally sleep through the night in large, uninterrupted blocks of time, infants sleep in many short spurts throughout the day and night. Sleeping sporadically allows an infant to receive frequent feedings and the external stimulation needed for brain development.

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.

Your Babys Health: When Is Crying Colic

All babies cry from time to time, but crying may be a condition called colic if

  • your baby seems to cry each evening for hours on end

  • the crying sounds high-pitched

  • the crying seems to be for no apparent reason

  • you have a hard time calming him when he is crying.

Your healthcare provider may make a diagnosis of colic if your little one cries for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for at least three weeks straight. Colic often starts when a baby is 2 to 4 weeks old and can last until the baby is about 3 to 4 months old.

Experts aren’t sure about the cause of colic, but some potential factors could include:

Although colic usually only lasts a few months, this can seem like a lifetime when your baby is in the middle of a crying spell! Sometimes, nothing will seem to work to calm him and your nerves may fray. Never shake your baby. Instead, leave him safely in his crib for a short time and take a break in another room, or ask a loved one to care for him for a few hours so you can have some much-deserved âme time.â With colic, there is light at the end of the tunnel in a few months or so those colicky crying spells will likely come to an end.

Other health issues to know about include:

Regular Health Visits and Immunizations

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Week 3 Of The Newborn Sleep Schedule

Now that your baby is about 3 weeks old and is getting the hang of full feeds and has their days and nights mostly fixed, its time to start thinking about teaching your baby to fall asleep on their own.

Why worry about this so early?

Heres why because they are probably already doing it at this point and their drive to sleep is still strong.

2 and 3 week old babies often go to sleep on their own without much fuss, and if you want that to continue then now is the time to start good habits.

As babies get bigger theyll stop this and thats when you get in a pickle.

Having to jump through hoops and use newfangled vibrating equipment, washing machines, and cars to get baby to sleep.

How Much Should A Newborn Sleep Is My Baby Sleeping Too Much

How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need?

It might seem crazy that newborns sleep more than they are awake. To some parents it may not seem that way, who are struggling to catch a breath in between their baby’s super short naps. However in some cases babies will sleep longer and may need to be woken up to be fed.


For newborns, sleep during the early months occurs around the clock and the sleep-wake cycle interacts with the need to be fed, changed, and nurtured. Newborns sleep a total of 10.5 to 18 hours a day on an irregular schedule with periods of one to three hours spent awake. The sleep period may last a few minutes to several hours.”

National Sleep Foundation

Newborns arent born with an internal biological clock its developed over their first few months. You wont see a regular sleep-wake cycle develop in your baby until 3 to 6 months old. Until then, theyll spend 75% of their time asleep, and the other 25% alert and feeding.

When to wake your baby

The only time you need to intervene in your newborns sleep is to make sure they are adequately fed, every 2.5 to 3 hours. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfed babies will eat 8 to 12 times per day and bottle-fed babies will eat 5 to 8 times per day .

As long as your baby is gaining weight at a healthy rate , its okay to let her sleep. Many babies will wake on their own because theyre hungry, but if not, then you may need to wake them up yourself. This may be the case during the first couple of weeks after birth.

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Why Is My Baby Waking Early In The Morning

Mama, I see you, padding down the stairs in the dark with your babe in your arms while the rest of the world sleeps on. I know all too well the bleary eyes, foggy mind, and heavy heart. You feel alone and defeated, because no matter how much wishing, hoping, or praying you did, your little one is awake at 4.30am again, and youre wondering how youre going to make it to naptime.

I know youre exhausted and really just want to know what to do to get your toddler to stop the 5am bedside wakeups and sleep a little bit longer, but taking a minute to understand the science behind the early mornings will actually help you solve them.

How Much Sleep Do Newborns Need

Every baby and child is different, and the amount of sleep each little one needs may vary. In general, though, newborns sleep for up to 16 or 17 hours in 24-hour period, but the sleep doesnât happen all at once. Instead, very young babies will snooze in one- to three-hour blocks during both the day and night.All of this sleep is essential for your babyâs healthy and happy development. Over time, this haphazard round-the-clock dozing will become more organized, with more of your little one’s sleep hours taking place at night.

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Signs Your Newborn Is Tired

Your baby may get tired after any activity – a feed, a nappy change, or when youve had a cuddle or playtime. Theyll likely get tired after theyve been awake for one to one and a half hours.

When theyre tired, your baby might:

  • clench or suck on their fists
  • have tense or jerky movements
  • arch backwards
  • have trouble focusing, or stare into space
  • startle easily.

Where Should Our Newborn Sleep

How Much Sleep Does my Baby Need?

Your newborn can sleep in a bassinet or a crib. This can be located in a parents room, a siblings room or in the newborns own room. Its important that you have your baby sleep in a safe place. Your baby should not sleep in your bed with you. This is dangerous because of the risk of suffocation, strangulation and sudden infant death syndrome .

You can bring the baby into your bed for feedings, but should return the baby to a crib as soon as you are done. Many experts recommend feeding your child while in a chair to avoid any injury that can happen while sleeping in a bed with the baby. Room-sharing with your baby is recommended, but not bed-sharing.

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Where Your Baby Should Sleep

Cot death or sudden infant death syndrome is the sudden and unexpected death of a baby who seems healthy during sleep.

It can happen in a cot, pram, bed, car seat, baby seat or anywhere a baby is sleeping.

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a cot in the same room as you.

Safe Sleep Practices For Infants

  • Practice the ABCs of safe sleep: Babies should always sleep Alone, on their Backs, in a Crib. Place your baby on his or her back for every sleep, night time and nap time.

  • Do not put your baby to sleep on his side or tummy.

  • Once your baby can roll from his back to tummy and tummy to back, your baby can stay in the sleep position that he assumes. But always place your baby to sleep on his back.

  • Place your baby on a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib with slats no greater than 2-3/8 inches apart.

  • Make sure your babys face and head stay uncovered and clear of blankets and other coverings during sleep. If a blanket is used make sure your baby is placed feet-to-foot in the crib. Remove all pillows from the crib.

  • Create a smoke-free-zone around your baby.

  • Avoid overheating during sleep and maintain your babys bedroom at a temperature comfortable for an average adult.

  • Remove all mobiles and hanging crib toys by about the age of 5 months, when your baby begins to pull up in the crib.

  • Remove crib bumpers by about 12 months, when your baby can begin to climb

For additional safe sleep practices for infants including information and video on choking, making a safe home environment, resources, swaddling and tummy time, click here.

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How To Know If Your Baby Is Waking Too Early

Recently, a client told me that her toddler was waking at 4.45am every day, like clockwork. She had reached out for support because bedtime was a battle, and when I told her we would also work on getting her little guy to sleep until at least 6.30am, she was astonished at the possibility of that happening.

She felt that those early morning wakeups were par for the course as a parent, and that her son just didnt need any more sleep. After a few short weeks, bedtime was going smoothly, her son was sleeping until about 7am each day, and she was starting her day off on the right foot.

Unless your entire family is catching an early morning flight for the adventure of a lifetime, I cant think of a single reason why your baby needs to be getting up at 5am. But sometimes its hard to know just how early is too early to start the day.

I think we can all agree that 4am is not an ideal wakeup time, but what about 5am? 5.30am? It can be difficult to determine if your baby is actually waking up too early or if shes just an early riser. Although some of our kids are larks, and some of our kids are owls, none of them are really ready to be getting up at 5am.

After the newborn stage, the majority of babies and toddlers thrive with a bedtime somewhere between 7-8pm, because thats typically in line with their circadian rhythm. Newborns often do best with a later bedtime for the same reason.

References: What Scientific Studies Say About Newborn Sleep

How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?

Anders TF. 1979. Night-waking in infants during the first year of life. Pediatrics 63: 860-864.

Bennett C, Underdown A, and Barlow J. 2013. Massage for promoting mental and physical health in typically developing infants under the age of six months. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Apr 30 4:CD005038. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005038.pub3.

Cheruku SR, Montgomery-Downs HE, Farkas SL, Thoman EB, and Lammi-Keefe CJ. 2002. Higher maternal plasma docosahexaenoic acid during pregnancy is associated with more mature neonatal sleep-state patterning. Am J Clin Nutr 76:608-13.

Cubero J, Valero V, Sánchez J, Rivero M, Parvez H, Rodríguez AB, Barriga C. 2005. The circadian rhythm of tryptophan in breast milk affects the rhythms of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin and sleep in newborn. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 26:657-61.

Cubero J, Narciso D, Terrón P, Rial R, Esteban S, Rivero M, Parvez H, Rodríguez AB, Barriga C. 2007. Chrononutrition applied to formula milks to consolidate infants sleep/wake cycle. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 28:360-6.

Custodio RJ, Junior CE, Milani SL, Simões AL, de Castro M, Moreira AC. 2007. The emergence of the cortisol circadian rhythm in monozygotic and dizygotic twin infants: the twin-pair synchrony. Clin Endocrinol . 66:192-7.

Dement W and Vaughan C. 1999. The promise of sleep. New York: Random House.

Doan T, Gardiner A, Gay CL, Lee KA. 2007 Breast-feeding increases sleep duration of new parents. J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 21:200-6.

Image credits for Newborn sleep patterns

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Baby And Children Sleep Chart

How much sleep does your baby need? When will your child sleep through the night? How many naps are normal now? Check out our age-by-age sleep guide.

Here’s a ballpark estimate for how much your baby or child should be sleeping, but remember that all kids are different, and some may need a little more or less than others.

Newborn-4 months

Naps: 7-9 hours

4-12 months

Naps: 4-5 hours

1-2 years

Naps: 2-3 hours

3-5 years

Nighttime Sleep: 10-13 hours

Naps: 0-1 hours

6-12 years

What If My Baby Isn’t Sleeping Enough

There is also a chance that your baby might be sleeping too little and not clocking the required amount of shut-eye for her age.

If your baby sleep log shows that her daytime and nighttime hours fall short of what she should be getting in a 24-hour period and you see telltale signs of an overtired baby including persistent fussiness, trouble settling down to sleep at night, and short catnaps instead of full naps, to name a few talk to your pediatrician about how to help your little one get enough sleep.

Getting to know your baby’s sleep cues and following a consistent, soothing bedtime routine are among the tips you’ll likely get from your doctor.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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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.

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