When Do Newborns Start Sleeping Better

Spring Into Action At The First Sign Of Sleepiness

When do I start sleep training my baby? When do I put her to bed at night?

“Timing is critical. Tuning into your baby’s natural biological rhythmsby reading her telltale drowsy signsensures that when she’s placed in her crib, melatonin is elevated in her system, and her brain and body will be primed to drift off with little fuss. If you wait too long, however, your infant can become overtired, so not only will she have lower melatonin levels, but her brain begins to release wakefulness hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This makes it difficult for your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep and can lead to early wake-ups. So don’t miss these cues: When your little one is still, quiet, disinterested in her surroundings, and staring off into space, melatonin is peaking in her system and it’s time to go to bed.” Jenni June, a sleep consultant in Los Angeles

Babies Have Shorter Sleep Cycles Than You Do

Stand adoringly next to your sleeping baby and watch him sleep. About an hour after he goes to sleep, he begins to squirm, he tosses a bit, his eyelids flutter, his face muscles grimace, he breathes irregularly, and his muscles tighten. He is reentering the phase of light sleep. The time of moving from deep to light sleep is a vulnerable period. Many babies will awaken if any upsetting or uncomfortable stimulus, such as hunger, occurs. If the baby does not awaken, he will drift through this light sleep period over the next ten minutes. Followed by a descend back into a deep sleep.

Adult sleep cycles lasts an average of 90 minutes. Infant sleep cycles are shorter, lasting 50 to 60 minutes. Infants experience a vulnerable period for night-waking around every hour or even less. As your baby enters this light sleep, lay a comforting hand on your babys back, or sing a soothing lullaby. If baby is in your bed, be there next to him. You can help him get through this light sleep period without waking.


Don’t Worry If Naps Are A Hot Mess

“Yes, consistency is key, and the safest place for your baby to sleep is on her back in a crib. But many babies under 6 months don’t nap best there, so don’t beat yourself up if she falls asleep on your chest or in a carrier or a car seat , or if you wind up pushing a stroller around the block for 40 minutes so she’ll get some shut-eye. You’re not wrecking night sleep by letting naps be a little more haphazard in the first six months. Most babies don’t start developing a real nap schedule until 5 or 6 months, and even then, some nappers will put up a fight and others will be way more flexible about napping on the go.” Szmulewitz

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With this guide, youll learn how to establish those habits, as well as get survival tips and gear to make it happen. And it has no fluff or vague messagesthis quick read is straight to the point.

If youve read other sleep books, you know how confusing many of them can be. I understand how limited your time is right now, and that you need just the tips to help your baby sleep better.

This newborn stage is tough, no doubt. I hope that, with this guide, you can help your baby get the sleep he needsand not always in your arms.

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How To Help Your Baby Sleep Longer

When Do Babies Start Sleeping longer at Night  Simple but ...

If you think your baby is ready to sleep through the night, you can do several things to help. Start by putting him down at the proper bedtime for his ageusually 7 or 7:30 p.m. for kids under one, Waldburger says. If your baby is up late, he may become overtired, which can cause him to take longer to fall asleep, to wake up more often during the night, and to wake up in the early morning.

Parents should also create a nighttime routine for children over 4 months old. Babies need consistency to help them feel safe and secure, so don’t read a story one night and then skip it the next. And though it may seem easier to transfer your little guy to the crib after he’s already asleep, it will make the process more difficult. “After 4 months, put him down fully awake, so he learns how to put himself to sleep at bedtime,” Waldburger says. This way, he’ll be more likely to do it again if he wakes up during the night.

And finally, remember that consistency is key. The sleep-learning process can take several weeks, depending on the method you choose, Waldburger says. Some common methods include the Ferber method, the “fading” method, the “cry it out” method, and the “no-cry”sleep training method.

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Keep Wake Times To A Minimum

Wake times matter much less after the age of about 4 to 5 months, but they mean everything to a newborn. Keep those newborns awake for about 50 to 60 minutes , and then start to get them ready for a nap. A great routine: swaddle baby, take them to their room with darkness and white noise, and actively try to get them down for a nap.

Ideal wake times range depending on the age of your newborn and time of day. In a nutshell, the younger they are, the less time theyll be able to stay comfortably awake . And as they get older, awake time can stretch to as long as 90 minutes.

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. . Accessed 3/23/2020.Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  • National Sleep Foundation. . Accessed 3/23/2020. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Sleep
  • American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. . November 2016, 138. Accessed 3/23/2020. SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment
  • American Academy of Pediatrics. . Accessed 3/23/2020. Safe Sleep
  • American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sleep Education. . Accessed 3/23/2020.Healthy Sleep Habits

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy

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What Is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Sudden infant death syndrome is a term used to describe the sudden and unexplained death of a healthy baby. This happens when the child is put down to sleep and found dead later without an obvious cause. SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies between the ages of 1 month and 1 year. The risk of SIDS is higher when a child is between 2 months and 6 months of ages. It is also more common in boys than girls.

Experts dont know why SIDS happens.

Its important to reduce the risk of SIDS by following certain guidelines. These guidelines include:

When Your Baby Can Hold Her Head Up

When should my baby start sleeping through the night? Should I wake him up to feed him?

In the first few months, carrying your baby meant using both your arms to cradle and support her head. Her neck isnt strong enough to hold her head upright, so you need both arms to carry her around.

But in due time, shell be able to hold her own head, making it easier to carry her with just one arm. With at least one free arm, carrying her becomes easier to get things done and move around. Imagine simple conveniences like holding her in one arm while you use the other to open the door.

Every baby develops differently, but my eldest was able to hold his head up around four months. The twinsborn prematurelyheld theirs even later than that.

Tip: In the meantime, a baby wrap is a fantastic way to carry your newborn while keeping your arms free.

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Baby Sleep Problems: Why Your Baby May Not Be Sleeping All Night

There are many reasons your little one may wake up and cry at night. Itâs normal for newborns to wake repeatedly in the night, but even older babies who sleep soundly can change their sleep patterns unexpectedly â for example, during growth spurts or when teething starts.

As your baby gets older, another reason he or she may cry out instead of sleeping through the night is separation anxiety.

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When Your Baby Can Put Herself To Sleep

I dreaded rocking, swinging, bouncing or shushing my babies each time they had to nap during the day or sleep for the night. Besides getting woken up frequently, Id take it personally each time they woke up prematurely from a nap, or would have to repeat the cycle all over again when I put them down in a crib.

Thats why my turning point happened when they no longer relied on those tactics and could put themselves to sleep. Only when I sleep trained them did they stay asleep for the full 11-12 hours at night .

Sleeping through the night and putting themselves to sleep were, by far, the biggest factor that made caring for a baby easier for me. I sleep trained my eldest at six months, and my twins at four months.

Once the babies were able to do both of those, life became normal again. I could simply lay them down awake, knowing theyd falland stayasleep. No longer did I have to repeat the rocking and nursing if they happened to wake up when I put them down in their cribs.

And perhaps most important, I regained those few hours between their bedtime and mine when I had time for myself.

Learn what to do when your baby wont nap unless held.

Help Her Find Her Pacifier


“If your baby cries because she’s hungry or wet, that’s understandable, but waking up in the middle of the night because she can’t find her pacifier is frustrating for all. You can teach her to find it on her own: Put a couple of pacifiers in one corner of the crib, and every time she loses one in the night, go in and help her reach for it herself by bringing to hand to that corner. This shows her where the pacifiers are, so if one goes missing, she can find another and get back to sleep. She should figure it out in about a week.” Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., a Parents advisor, associate director of the Sleep Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and author of Sleeping Through the Night

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How Much Sleep Do Babies Need

Sleep patterns will change over the first year of a babys life, including the number of hours of sleep needed and the duration of sleep periods throughout the day and night.

  • 0 to 3 months: Its normal for newborns to spend 14 to 17 hours asleep in a 24-hour day, broken into shorter periods to accommodate feeding, diaper changes, and interaction with their family. Breastfed infants usually need to eat more frequently than bottle-fed infants, about every 2 hours versus every 3 hours. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine advises parents not to worry if their newborns sleep pattern doesnt match the projections, as these amounts can vary before the first 4 months.
  • 3 to 6 months: Starting at around 3 months of age, an infants daily sleep needs drop to 12 to 15 hours. Around this time, sleep also starts consolidating into longer periods as babies are able to go longer without feeding. Sometime during this period is when most babies start to sleep through the night, though there are exceptions to the rule.
  • 6 to 12 months: From 6 months onward, babies do the bulk of their sleeping at night. However, other issues such as teething, growth spurts, illnesses, or sleep regressions may start leading to nighttime awakenings. Parents may opt to use more specific sleep-training strategies if babies arent sleeping through the night at this stage.

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How To Help Your Baby Get To Sleep

Setting a consistent routine is key to helping your baby learn to sleep through the night. During the first few months, your babys sleep schedule will largely be dictated by their eating pattern. However, as they grow, theyll be able to go longer and longer between feedings. At this point, you can start to adhere to a day-night schedule.

To help your baby establish a healthy circadian rhythm, start by making sure your baby gets plenty of daylight and stimulation during the day. While young infants need several naps during the daytime, you can experiment to find a napping schedule that makes your baby tired enough to get to sleep at night without being overtired.

In the lead-up to bedtime, try to set a calming atmosphere and carry out the same bedtime routine every night. The following rituals can help your baby associate nighttime with sleeping:

  • Taking a bath
  • Turning down the thermostat
  • Creating a quiet environment

An important part of developing healthy sleeping habits for your baby includes teaching them to fall asleep on their own. Many babies find it soothing to be rocked or cuddled, but its best to put your baby to bed before they actually fall asleep. This way they will be less anxious if they wake up during the night and you are not there, and they will be more likely to fall back asleep without needing your help.

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