Sleepy Time, Baby

A newborn's sleep schedule can be totally unpredictable -- but it's essential for baby.

newborn baby sleeping

How much sleep newborns need

Yawn! It’s hard working being a newborn. So much so that your little one may sleep two-thirds of each day at the beginning of his life.

When baby sleeps

When baby is born, she has yet to distinguish between night and day. Most babies will nap/sleep for three to four hours at a time with wake time in between. The unfortunate part for you, Mom, is those wake times will occur round the clock – not just during the day!

However, baby cannot go much longer than this at birth because she’s hungry! Babies’ tiny tummies cannot hold very much breast milk or formula at this stage. So when she wakes, she’ll be ready to eat.

Sleep patterns

As baby gets bigger her stretches of sleep time versus awake time will change. You can help baby get used to a nap/sleep time schedule right away from creating patterns. For example, every time baby needs to sleep, put her in the same place, be it her bassinet, crib or your own bed if you are co-sleeping. Remember never to leave a baby unattended on a raised surface (such as a bed). If you have chosen to co-sleep, make sure you have some safety precautions in place. Placing your newborn in a co-sleeper than on your bed ensures he has his own space and won’t be able to roll off or get rolled over on!

It takes time

Be patient as you create a sleep schedule for your newborn. It can take a few weeks for baby’s brain to comprehend that it’s time for bed. You can start creating a nap and/or bedtime routine by doing the same things right before bed. Giving him a warm bath, reading or singing softly and rocking him are signals that will begin to help him understand that nap or bedtime is approaching.

More on baby’s nap time

My baby won’t nap!
Gentle ways to encourage your baby to sleep

Is tummy sleeping safe for nap time?

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