How Long Do Newborn Babies Sleep For
Babies sleep a lot. In fact, for the first few weeks, babies sleep for most of the day and night. Theyll sleep for around 16 to 18 hours in every 24 .
“Babies need so much sleep because they have so much new information to process. They are also growing and developing at a fast rate.”
Unfortunately, it might not feel like theyre sleeping for quite that long. Thats because they’re likely to doze off in short bursts of a couple of hours and there’s not yet a pattern to their sleep .
Safety First: Lower Sids Risk
Every time you put your baby down to sleep, whether it’s at night or for a nap during the day, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you do the following to lower the chances of SIDS :
- Always put your baby down to sleep on their back.
- Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
- If you baby falls asleep in a stroller car seat or swing, try to remove them and lay them down on a flat surface.
- Your baby should sleep in the same room as you, but not in the same bed as you.
- Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and bumper pads.
- Dont rely on devices which claim to prevent SIDS.
- Do not use wedges and positioners.
- Offer your baby a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
- Avoid covering your baby’s head or overheating.
- Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Make sure your baby gets all recommended vaccinations.
- Get some skin-to-skin contact time with them.
- Give your baby supervised, awake tummy time every day.
- Don’t smoke.
- Breastfeedyour baby.
- If you are tired, dont breastfeed while in a chair or on a couch in case you fall asleep.
- If you’re pregnant, get regular prenatal care.
At Night: Newborn Sleep And Waking
In the first few months, newborns usually wake several times a night for feeds.
Between one and three months, your baby might start waking less often and have a longer period of sleep at night.
By the time your baby is around three months old, they might regularly be having a longer sleep at night for example, around 4-5 hours. But you can expect that your baby will still wake at least once each night.
If your baby is premature or low birth weight, your paediatrician or child and family health nurse might recommend that you let your baby sleep for only a certain amount of time at night before you wake them for a feed.
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Set A Bedtime Routine
A study of 405 mothers — with infants between 7 months and 36 months old — showed that babies who followed a nightly bedtime routine went to sleep easier, slept better, and cried out in the middle of the night less often.
Some parents start their baby’s bedtime routine as early as 6 to 8 weeks old. Your baby’s routine can be any combination of regular bedtime activities. The keys to success:
- Play active games during the day and quiet games in the evening. This keeps your baby from getting too excited right before bedtime but gets them tired from the day’s activities.
- Keep activities the same and in the same order, night after night.
- Make every activity calm and peaceful, especially toward the end of the routine.
- Many babies enjoy bathing right before bedtime, which calms them down.
- Save your baby’s favorite activity for last, and do it in their bedroom. This will help them look forward to bedtime and associate their sleep space with things they like to do.
- Make nighttime conditions in your baby’s bedroom consistent. If they wake up in the middle of the night, the sounds and lights in the room should be the same as when they fell asleep. If you need to feed or change your baby during the night, keep the lights low and the talking to a minimum. Too much stimulation can make it hard for them to settle again.
Tips For Getting Your Baby To Sleep Through The Night
First, it’s important to remember that young babies canât sleep through the night, as they need feedings, diaper changes, and sometimes even simply some comforting. Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to encourage your little one to sleep for longer stretches at night:
To help you establish the best routine for your baby , check out the Lumi by Pampers Smart Sleep Coaching App. Co-created with pediatric sleep experts, it combines expert sleep coaching video tutorials with tools to help you track your babyâs sleep using a variety of sleep training methods so you can choose the one that best fits your parenting style! This free Sleep Fundamentals class will show you the type of support you can get from this awesome app!
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Will My Breast Milk Production Be Affected When My Little One Begins Sleeping Longer
The general answer is no your breast milk production will synchronize with your babys demands. Less at night and more during the day will still keep your supply flowing however, there are circumstances like illness and stress that may cause your supply to dwindle. Its best to consult your doctor if you notice any issues with your milk supply.
How To Get A Baby To Sleep Through The Night
As a new parent, you might wonder when your baby will sleep through the night and allow you to do the same. If you’re craving a full night of quiet, you aren’t alone: parents tend to experience sleep loss and fatigue in the months after their child is born.
To help new parents reduce the stress of these changes, well cover how sleeping through the night is defined, when babies generally begin to stay asleep, and how you can get your baby to sleep through the night when they’re ready.
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What Can Parents Do To Encourage Good Sleep Habits
Helping your baby develop good sleep habits is one way to help support your baby to sleep through the night. âParents can encourage their baby to sleep through the night by making the nighttime sleeping environment as womb-like as possible,â Casares says. âTurn down the lights, use a swaddle for infants, and use white noise.â
A consistent nighttime routine along with plenty of opportunities for play and engagement during the day are key, according to experts. Additionally, making sure that their sleep environment is safe and they start to learn to self-soothe is crucial.
âIn the first month of life, babies will sleep anytime and anyplace, and very often that is in one’s arms,â Pressimone tells Romper. âBut the earlier you can start to practice putting your baby down before they are fully asleep in a safe place, they will be a better sleeper when they are a few months older.â She says parents can still comfort or snuggle up with their babe, but itâs harder to break the habit of falling asleep on you the older your baby gets.
To help babies learn to self-soothe, Casey recommends parents pay particular attention to how their baby falls asleep best. Whether they like to be rocked, driven around, or fed can help you suss out exactly what they need to soothe themselves.
What Does Sleep Through The Night Mean
Sleeping through the night has a different meaning to individual mothers. To most, it means at least 6 hours of continuous sleep. For a 6-week-old baby, sleeping for 6 straight hours depends on hunger cues, so although it is possible, dont expect miracles so early.
Newborn babies sleep for about 17 hours in a 24-hour cycle but need to feed every three to four hours. Their stomach is tiny, and the milk they drink is digested rather quickly, relative to their fast growth and development over this initial period.
Feeding your baby once or twice a night where your baby feeds and immediately falls asleep again is also considered sleeping through the night.
Babies usually have their days and nights mixed up, so to correct this, its necessary to introduce a night sleep routine that is complemented with up to four short daytime naps to start. Naps during the day help to prevent overtiredness, including the problems of getting your overtired baby to sleep and staying asleep.
At the age of 6 weeks, your little one can sleep for up to 6 hours, but for the benefit of good development, you may still need to slot at least one feed sessioninto this time. Sleeping for 6 hours straight or a little longer usually only occurs from about 6 months when your baby has transitioned to solids that take longer to digest.
Formula-fed babies can go longer between meals because formula takes longer to digest, but the amount of sleep per day remains the same for formula and breast-fed babies.
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How To Know When A Baby Is Ready To Sleep Through The Night
Physical and emotional readiness are two different things. Dr. Mayuri Morker, a pediatrician at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital, says some babies are physically able to sleep through the night as young as 1 month of age. Thats based on the fact that healthy infants dont typically need nighttime feeding after their first month. But realistically, babies will eat at night time until 4-6 months, she says. After that, they should be able to sleep through the night.
Patti Ideran, a pediatric occupational therapist at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage, agrees. She says the key to knowing whether your baby is physically ready to sleep 6-8 hours is a healthy weight. Babies have small stomachs, after all, so its important to make sure your little one has the capability of sleeping for hours without going hungry.
Of course, the fact that a baby is physically able to sleep through the night doesnt mean that he or she will. Many parents and caregivers calm babies by offering milk. Ideran, who is also a mother and the author of The CALM Baby Method: Solutions for Fussy Days and Sleepless Nights, says, Its what we call sleep association. The baby thinks This is how I fall asleep. When a young child associates nursing or bottle-feeding with sleep, the need for nighttime feedings is psychological, not physical but it can feel like a legitimate need regardless.
How To Help Newborns Get In Sync With The Natural 24
1. Make your baby a part of your daily routine.
When parents include their newborns in their daily activities, newborn may adapt more rapidly to the 24-hour day .
One study took continuous measurements of mother-infant activity patterns for four months after birth. Newborns who were active at the same time of day as their mothers were quicker to develop mature circadian rhythms .
2. Reduce stimulation at night.
When your baby wakes for night time feedings, keep activity to a minimum. Make as little noise as possible, and avoid moving your baby around. Ideally, you want to avoid waking her all the way up. But if that isnt possible, at least try to minimize the hustle and bustle. You want the baby to learn that nighttime is for sleep and quiet.
3. Expose your newborn to natural lighting patterns.
Light cues might not instantly synchronize newborn sleep patterns, but they help.
For example, in one study, newborns slept longer at night if their parents observed a regular policy of turning out the lights by 9pm .
In another study, young babies tended to sleep longer at night if they had been exposed to lots of early afternoon light .
And time spent outdoors might make an important difference. Babies who go outside experience much higher daytime light levels than those kept indoors all day, and may develop stronger circadian rhythms as a result .
4. Try infant massage.
The takeaway? More research is needed on this topic , but meanwhile, this seems worth a try.
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What Sleeping Positions Are Best For A Newborn
Research has found a link between sudden infant death syndrome and babies who sleep on their stomach .
Experts now agree that putting a baby to sleep or down for a nap on his or her back is the safest position. Side-sleeping has a higher risk for SIDS than back sleeping. Other reports have found soft surfaces, loose bedding, and overheating with too many blankets also increase the risk for SIDS. When infants are put to sleep on their stomach and they also sleep on soft bedding, the risk for SIDS is even higher. Smoking by the mother is also a risk for SIDS, as are poor prenatal care and prematurity. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics made the “back-to-sleep” recommendation in 1992, the SIDS rate has dropped more than 50%.
Back sleeping also appears to be safer for other reasons. There is no evidence that babies are more likely to vomit or spit up while sleeping on their back. In fact, choking may be more likely in the prone position.
A task force of The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the AAP, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development offer the following recommendations for infant bedding:
The AAP recommends that parents room share but not bed share. The report advises the following:
To prevent overheating, the report recommends that the infant should be lightly clothed for sleep and the room temperature kept comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Avoid overbundling, and check the baby’s skin to make sure it is not hot to the touch.
How Can I Get My Baby Used To Night And Day
It’s a good idea to teach your baby that night-time is different from daytime from the start. During the day, open curtains, play games and don’t worry too much about everyday noises when they sleep.
At night, you might find it helpful to:
- keep the lights down low
- not talk much and keep your voice quiet
- put your baby down as soon as they’ve been fed and changed
- not change your baby unless they need it
- not play with your baby
Your baby will gradually learn that night-time is for sleeping.
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A Note About Differences
As much as we might want to schedule our lives, for about the first 6 months of their lives, babies have different ideas. They have sporadic sleep patterns that can be puzzling and even change from one week to the next. They may sleep up to 17 hours in a day, sure but perhaps only for 12 hours at a time in some cases. This can be disheartening for new parents.
But keep in mind that your newborn still has a small stomach. Theyre waking up throughout the night because theyre hungry. And just like you, theyre vocal when they need food.
Theres no one-size-fits-all timeframe for when your baby will sleep through the night disappointing, right? but it will happen. While some babies sleep through the night at 6 months and this might be considered the norm, others wont until 1 year but either way, theres more consistent sleep in the future for both you and baby.
Every baby is different, so try not to compare your babys sleep habits to someone elses.
Lets take a deeper dive into what to expect.