How To Get My Newborn On A Sleep Schedule

Get Sunlight And Avoid Artificial Lighting At Night

How can I get my newborn to sleep at night?

Make sure you expose yourself and your baby to bright light during the day. And keep lights outor at least dimmedafter sunset.

As noted above, natural lighting helps influence newborn sleep patterns. But it also helps you keep your own circadian rhythms from drifting, which is important if you are going avoid insomnia and be a source of daytime cues for your newborn.

Stimulation During Day No Stimulation At Night

This is a big one.

Daytime is for play.

Nighttime is for sleep.

Dont treat days like nights, afraid to wake the baby up. If its naptime, protect the nap. If you are feeding or playing with the baby then its okay for some stimulation.

However, at night, keep lights out, voices low, and all forms of Wakey Baby off.

This can be hard since babies are so gooey and sweet, but its what makes the difference in the long run.

Read: The Dreamfeed: The Why, The How, & When To Stop

How Do I Make Sure My Baby Gets The Right Amount Of Sleep

Overstimulation during the day can cause your baby to either sleep too little or sleep when they should be eating, due to exhaustion. Newborn babies need to be fed frequently to ensure proper development.

If your newborn baby becomes overtired they will become fussy, and harder to settle for sleep. We’ve given age-targeted tips to help avoid overstimulation and improve your baby’s sleep in the sleep schedules below. For more information on how much sleep your baby needs and how long they should be sleeping at a time read How Much Do Newborns Sleep?

Learning your baby’s sleep cycle

While your baby has your nose or eyes, the two of you couldn’t be farther apart when it comes to sleep cycle! The main reason your newborn’s sleep patterns are unpredictable is because of their evolving sleep cycle.

Adults can easily pass from one sleep cycle into the next without completely waking up. Newborns, however, don’t stay in deep sleep for long periods at a time, so they are more susceptible to frequent wake-ups. Our post, Your Baby’s Sleep Cycle, explains more in-depth about how your baby’s sleep cycle is linked to their sleep patterns.

To learn more about the changes to your baby’s sleep cycle and how to cope with sleep regression, read our post 10 Tips to Surviving the 4 Month Sleep Regression.

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Simple Newborn Scheduling Tweaks Boost Sleep

A study of breastfed babies found that 2 simple scheduling tweaks yielded a big improvement in sleep in the first 2 months:

  • Waking up for a dream feed between 10 p.m. and midnight.
  • Responding to nighttime cries with a few minutes of holding or a diaper change before feeding.

Within 3 weeks, 100% of babies were sleeping 5-hour stretches with these 2 steps, versus 23% of infants where no scheduling was tried.

How To Keep Your Light Sleeper From Waking Up All The Way

Newborn Sleep Schedule

1. Dont rush in the moment you think your baby has awakened.

As noted above, babies experience frequent arousals, but that doesnt mean they are doomed to wake up all the way every few minutes. Babies often jerk, sigh, or vocalize during partial arousals. If you avoid stimulating them during these moments, they may go back to sleep on their own.

2. Tank up the baby before you go to sleep.

Whether you breastfeed or bottle-fed, try to give the baby an especially large meal before your own bedtime. This will encourage your baby to sleep longer. To learn more about this approach, see this Parenting Science guide to Dream feeding.

3. If you feed your baby formula, try to find one that includes DHA.

DHA is a fatty acid found in fish oil and other dietary sources. Its important for brain development, and may play a role in shaping sleep patterns as well.

In one study, children who consumed low levels of DHA had reduced amount of slow-wave sleep . In another study, pregnant women with higher blood levels of DHA gave birth to babies who spent more time in quiet sleep .

DHA is found in breast milk, so its plausible that boosting a nursing mothers DHA intake could improve a newborns sleep patterns. If you use formula, it seems like a good idea to find a baby formula that contains DHA.

4. Check out my article on baby sleep aids.

There youll find tips for improving newborn sleep, and avoiding practices that are either unhelpful or potentially hazardous.

Recommended Reading: Can Probiotics Cause Constipation In Newborns

How To Keep Babies Awake Long Enough To Feed:

  • Rub their feet and hands
  • Wipe their forehead, neck, and face with a wet wipe
  • Strip baby down to their diaper and un-swaddle or wrap them so they are not too warm and snug
  • Burp thoroughly when you change nursing sides, or halfway through with the bottle
  • Before a feeding, put your newborn on the ground for a little tummy time while you prepare to feed them, theyll kick around and wake themselves up a bit

When you begin nursing, encourage your baby to take a full feed. This will vary depending on the baby, but it will not be 5 minutes, then falling asleep.

If your baby falls asleep after only a few minutes, gently rouse them and encourage them to continue feeding.

If you can get your baby to take full feeds for the first week theyll naturally rest well, both day and night.

I know it can be super hard for you to get through this , but you will get through it.

Theres a tendency to just let baby feed for a few minutes here and there and sleep here and there. This feels natural, but if you are a first time mom particularly its very hard to begin to understand babys cues.


Because baby seems to be fussing a lot and then falling asleep a lot and you dont know when theyre tired or when theyre hungry. THIS IS WHY routines are so beneficial to baby and mom.

Baby doesnt need to cry to make their needs known if they are just well fed and well slept from the get go.

Sample One Week Schedule:

What Are The Different Alert Phases Of A Newborn

Babies also have differences in how alert they are during the time they are awake. When a newborn awakens at the end of the sleep cycles, there is typically a quiet alert phase. This is a time when the baby is very still, but awake and taking in the environment. During the quiet alert time, babies may look or stare at objects, and respond to sounds and motion. This phase usually progresses to the active alert phase in which the baby is attentive to sounds and sights, and moves actively. After this phase is a crying phase. The baby’s body moves erratically, and he or she may cry loudly. Babies can easily be overstimulated during the crying phase. It is usually best to find a way of calming the baby and the environment. Holding a baby close or swaddling may help calm a crying baby.

It is usually best to feed babies before they reach the crying phase. During the crying phase, they can be so upset that they may refuse the breast or bottle. In newborns, crying is a late sign of hunger.

Recommended Reading: Why Is Newborn So Fussy At Night

Week 4 The Of Newborn Sleep Schedule

Now that both you and baby are good and used to one another, its time to find a mutually beneficial routine and get your newborn on a schedule.

A routine that serves the needs of your infant for nourishment, sleep, and lots of mommy bonding.

As well as a routine that allows mom to take care of herself, meet the needs of other children, and maintain a working and functioning home without compartmentalizing your life.

How Can You Help Your Baby Fall Asleep

how I got my newborn to sleep through the night | sleep + eat schedule

Not all babies know how to put themselves to sleep. When it’s time for bed, many parents want to rock their baby to sleep. Newborns and younger infants will fall asleep while breastfeeding. Having a routine at bedtime is a good idea. But if an older baby falls asleep while eating or in your arms, this may become a pattern. Your baby may then start to expect to be in your arms to fall asleep. When your baby briefly awakens during a sleep cycle, he or she may not be able to go back to sleep on his or her own.

After the newborn period, most experts recommend allowing your baby to become sleepy in your arms, then placing him or her in the bed while still awake. This way your baby learns how to go to sleep on his or her own. Playing soft music while your baby is getting sleepy is also a good way to help create a bedtime routine.

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Dealing With Baby Sleep Problems

All babies change their sleep patterns. Just when you think you have it sorted and you’ve all had a good night’s sleep, the next night you might be up every 2 hours.

Be prepared to change routines as your baby grows and enters different stages. And remember, growth spurts, teething and illnesses can all affect how your baby sleeps.

If your baby is having problems sleeping or you need more advice about getting into a routine, speak to your health visitor.

What Are The Signs Of Infant Sleep Problems

Once a baby begins to regularly sleep through the night, parents are often unhappy when the baby starts to wake up at night again. This often happens at about 6 months old. This is often a normal part of development called separation anxiety. This is when a baby does not understand that separations are short-term . Babies may also start to have trouble going to sleep because of separation anxiety. Or because they are overstimulated or overtired.

Common responses of babies having these night awakenings or trouble going to sleep may include the following:

  • Waking and crying one or more times in the night after sleeping through the night

  • Crying when you leave the room

  • Refusing to go to sleep without a parent nearby

  • Clinging to the parent at separation

Sleep problems may also happen with illness. Talk with your baby’s healthcare provider if your baby begins having trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, especially if this is a new pattern.

Also Check: How Much Formula To Give To Newborn

What Is Safe To Sleep

Since the AAP’s recommendation, the rate of SIDS has dropped greatly. Still, SIDS remains the leading cause of death in young infants. The “Safe to Sleep” campaign builds on “Back to Sleep,” reminding parents and caregivers to put infants to sleep on their backs and provide a safe sleep environment.

Here’s how parents can help reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related deaths:

For parents and families who have experienced a SIDS death, many groups, including First Candle, can provide grief counseling, support, and referrals.

Tips For Better Sleep

  • Help your baby know that its nighttime by making sure that shades are drawn and lights stay low or off.
  • Establish a bedtime routine early! This can help to send your little one the message that its time for a good, long rest.
  • Encourage your baby to eat frequently during the day and especially in the hours leading up to bedtime. During growth spurts, itll be much easier for you if they cluster feed during the day not at 2 a.m.!
  • Expect changes.

Just when you think you think youve got it all figured out and your baby is following a sleep pattern, things may change.

Take a deep breath and remind yourself that its because different stages of growth and development require different patterns and amounts of sleep. Your calm attitude can go a long way in soothing your baby back to sleep youve got this.

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How Much Sleep Does My Newborn Need

Newborns need 15-18 hours of sleep from birth until about 2 months. You can expect them to sleep about 8 hours during the day and 8 hours at night, waking frequently for feedings.

Even if your baby is able to sleep consistently for more than 3 hours at a time be sure to wake them to eat. Newborns have very small stomachs and need to be fed frequently to meet their nutritional needs.

Falling back to sleep after a night feeding may be easy for your infant, or the stimulation can make returning to sleep more difficult.

Developing a reliable sleep schedule before 4 months will be nearly impossible with night feedings, growth spurts and unexpected changes. Even still, after 4 months parents might be greeted with the dreaded sleep regression. Starting good habits for sleep with your newborn will help you avoid long term stress.

We recommend these sleep training tips to help your little one fall asleep on their own. Maintaining a sleep schedule is much more exhausting without the tools to encourage sleep.

You can keep track of your infant sleep needs month to month with this chart. We encourage parents to create an environment where their babies can get plenty of rest to maintain healthy growth.

To 6 Months: Sleeping 12

At 4-6 months into the newborn sleep schedule, your baby might be sleeping up to eight hours at a stretch! Naps will be up to three hours long, and waking time between a nap is anywhere from 90 minutes to 2-1/2 hours.

Four-to-six months old is a time of significant transitions for babies. Some might experience sleep regression, while others will be sleeping through the night like a champ. Sleep regression is when your baby’s sleeping patterns are erratic and they consistently wake up and can’t fall asleep. While sleep regression is tough for any parent to go through it is temporary. Their transitions go beyond the physical changes in their little bodies, though, as this is the time you’ll want to wean them off certain sleep associations-including night feeding and swaddling.

Sleep Bags are a great way to shift away from swaddling gently. They’re slightly weighted for cozy comfort and made from breathable bamboo with a reversible zipper for easy changing-the perfect alternative to loose blankets.

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How Can We Room

To keep your little one close, but not in your bed:

  • Put a bassinet, play yard, or crib next to your bed. This lets you keep that desired closeness, which can be especially important if you’re breastfeeding. Having an infant sleep in a separate space in the same room as the mother reduces the risk of SIDS.
  • Consider using a bedside sleeper, which attaches to your bed, letting you and your baby be next to each other but on separate surfaces. The CPSC has recommended safety standards for bedside sleepers, but no studies have looked at whether these devices prevent SIDS and other sleep-related deaths or injuries.

Experts recommend that infants sleep in their parents’ room without bed-sharing until their first birthday. If parents prefer to move the baby to another bedroom, it’s best to wait until the child is at least 6 months old.

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