How Often Should a Newborn Sleep?


Learn everything about different patterns of newborn sleep. There are many things you need to learn like newborn bedtime, amount of rest it needs and sleeping positions.

newborn sleep

A healthy sleep is a key to the harmonious physical and intellectual development of a newborn baby. Children in the first month of life who do not have serious illness sleep about 16-19 hours a day.

Some mothers try to hinder the baby’s sleep. This they do believe that if it sleeps for a long time then it can negatively affect its growth. This is not true. The need for rest in healthy kids will decrease with each month lived. By the end of the first year of life, children will sleep about 9-12 hours a day.

Importance of Newborn Sleep

Even when sleeping, the newborn continues to grow actively. Kids quickly get tired, so sleeping for them is, first and foremost. The proper rest is necessary for the most important organs.

Importance of Sleep

By the way, the intellectual development of children of the first six months depends on a good rest. When the baby is sleeping, its brain cells and the nervous system are restored. This contributes to a quiet wakefulness and a better perception of the surrounding world.

If the newborn does not sleep too long, the cells of the brain are exhausted and start to die.

Not only the brain but also the muscular system of the baby, is fully restored during sleep. This allows the kid to quickly learn about the surrounding space and develop skills for further physical development.

The sense organs like the eyes respond better to stimuli and what happens around, after a calm and proper rest. For the correct development of vision, the newborn must sleep according to the age norms.

Age Norms for Newborn Sleep

To begin with, it should be clarified that when it comes to the age norms of sleep, all the values given are calculated on the basis that the child is completely healthy. On average, in the early days, babies sleep for about 20 hours a day.

However, there is no need to worry if the baby sleeps about 16 hours. This is also considered a variant of the norm and does not harm the health of the child. The sleep rate for newborns and infants is shown in the table below.

How much should a newborn sleep?

Age of Child Number of hours of Sleep (Total) Time of Wakefulness
Night Sleep Daytime Sleep
Newborn 10 hours 30 minutes 9 hours 30 minutes 4 hours
1 month 8 hours 30 minutes 7 hours 30 minutes 8 hours
3-6 months 10 hours 5 hours 30 minutes 8 hours 30 minutes
6-9 months 11 hours 3 hours 20 minutes 9 hours 40 minutes
9-12 months 11 hours 3 hours 10 hours
1 year 11 hours 15 minutes 2 hours 30 minutes 10 hours 15 minutes

All values in the table are approximate. It is up to the doctor to determine whether the child’s sleep meets its needs. After a proper examination doctor will be able to judge if the sleep is enough for its health and development.

Daytime Sleep VS Night time Sleep

It cannot be said what is more important for a baby, a daytime rest or night. This is because their value is the same.

At night, the work of the nervous system is primarily restored, and the brain develops. In the daytime, the child receives the necessary rest. This is such because the emotional and physical activities do not allow you to stay awake for long. Not without a break from proper sleep anyway.

When the baby’s body has not yet recovered properly then it can have a negative impact on the child. Strong fatigue has affected the intellectual development and the formation of physical skills of child

Sleeping Patterns

Most newborn babies sleep roughly according to a normal pattern. This is 3-4 hours of sleep alternate with 2-3 hours of activity. Some babies can wake up for feeding every 1.5-2 hours. This is normal, especially if the mother’s lactation has not yet established.

Sleeping Patterns

Frequent feeding contributes to the increased production of milk from the mother. This helps the baby feel calmer and more confident thereby forming a harmonious and happy personality from it.

Some mothers tend to wake up the child, if it has been sleeping a long time, for feeding. The opinions of pediatricians on this account are still at variance. Someone in the old manner advises to feed the children on a schedule and wake up for the next feeding. However, most doctors are sure that feeding the baby is only necessary when it asks for it.

Of course, we are now only talking about healthy babies. As in certain situations, a long sleep can be a sign of pathologies and health problems.

If the child is healthy and nothing disturbs it then do not interrupt the sleep for the next feeding. A sleepy child will be capricious and, most likely, cannot fall asleep for a long time.

Reason for Prolonged Newborn Sleep

Sometime the child sleeps more than 4-5 hours in a row from the first days of life. If this happens often then you need to try to find out the reason behind it. Sometimes a prolonged, strong sleep can indicate a health problem or an improperly organized regimen of the infant’s day. There are many other reasons why a newborn sleep for several hours some of which are as follows.

  1. Poor Organization of Breastfeeding
  2. Breastfeeding

    This is the most common cause of prolonged sleep in newborn infants. Due to the lack of water and nutrients, the baby can feel weak and so it restores strength by sleeping.

    To avoid such problems, you should often put the baby to the breast (“on demand”). Always make sure that not only the nipple but the areola also gets into the baby’s mouth.

  3. Physiological Features of Mother
  4. Rough or small nipples for the baby can become a barrier to saturation, as it cannot properly capture them. After making several unsuccessful attempts, the child falls asleep hungry.

    If the newborn suffers problems with breast capture, you should express a little milk before feeding. This way the nipples become softer and easy to hold. If this measure does not help, you can use special pads for the nipples as well.

  5. Difficult Childbirth
  6. Difficult childbirth

    Children born as a result of complicated childbirth sleep almost 20-22 hours into knocks, waking up only for feeding. Especially, when for childbirth they needed to use additional equipment, instruments or strong drugs.

    Such babies are too weak, so they need extra time for rest and recuperation.

    Over time, it will pass, and the child will be awake more, catching up with peers.

  7. Bright Lighting and Extraneous Noise
  8. In such conditions, most newborn babies fall asleep easily. However, sleep is prolonged and restless as the nervous system reacts to external stimuli even when asleep in the dream.

At time parents feel that the child is sleeping for a long time and then too its condition is sluggish and restless. Then it is better to consult a doctor and find out about possible “malfunctions” in the regime and nutrition.

Need for Newborn Sleep at Different Age

There are different reasons behind newborn sleep at different age in time. Let’s understand how a newborn’s sleeping pattern changes with time.

  1. Newborns
  2. newborn baby

    Children, who have just appeared in the world, sleep for a very long time. They tend to wake up only for feeding.

    The periods of wakefulness are short, because the baby quickly gets tired and cannot stay active for a long time.

    This is good for newborn as its body is developing and getting comfortable in the new environment.

  3. 1 to 3 Months Old
  4. By 2-3 months, the baby is holding the head well. Now it can look at people and objects surrounding it with a certain interest.

    The activity time increases now and can reach up to 3 hours in a row. The average duration of night sleep is 8.5-9 hours. Keep in mind that the baby is still developing so it gets tired more often.

  5. 3 to 6 Months Old
  6. During this period, the feeding regime in children is already established, so they do not experience saturation problems. This affects the duration of a night’s sleep and it increases by almost 2 hours.

    The time for acquaintance with the surrounding world also increases.

    At this age the child needs a two-day daytime sleep 2-2.5 hours each. Now you will start to see the child in more active state than before.

  7. 6 to 9 Months Old
  8. Six to Nine Month

    At this age the baby learns to crawl. Soon it will stand try to on its feet, trying to do the first little shots.

    Increased energy consumption, as well as increased nutrition has a positive effect on the duration of night sleep.

    The night sleep now is already at 11 hours whereas daytime sleep is reduced to 3-3.5 hours.

    Remember most children already eat complementary foods in full at this age in time.

  9. 9 to 12 Months Old
  10. During this period, no special changes occur. Some children may refuse to sleep during the day, but this does not mean that they do not need it.

    For proper development and growth, the baby should sleep in the daytime at least once a day. The child can sleep once for 3-3.5 hours or 2 times for 1.5 hours.

Necessary Conditions for Healthy Sleep

For a baby to have a comfortable and calm sleeping time parents need to create a favorable condition. To create a calm environment you need to pay attention to every little detail that can affect the baby’s sleep. Some of the things that can help to create a nourishing environment for newborn sleep are as follows.

  1. Comfortable Bed Clothes
  2. From the very first day, the baby comes home it needs the right accessories for sleep. Start with the mattress, which should be orthopedic. This helps to avoid problems with the spine and forms a correct posture for the baby.

    Baby Bed Clothes

    It is best to purchase a mattress made from coconut fiber. You should also pay attention to the labelling along with the material. Remember, the product should be designed specifically for newborn babies.

    Use of pillows is not recommended for newborn up to a year. Sometime mother wants to buy a pillow all the same. In that case, you need to choose special models that are suitable for children from the first days of life. They are anatomically shaped and safe for infants.

    Bed linen must be made of natural fabrics (100% cotton), so that the baby’s skin can breathe. It is better to purchase seamless underwear for the child in the first 2-3 months of life.

  3. Comfortable Air
  4. It is very important that the air in the room is fresh and moist. If the air in the children’s room is dry and dusty, the baby will not feel good. It is necessary to ventilate the room in which the baby sleeps as often as possible. It is also mandatory to ventilate it before you put the baby to sleep. Airing should not last less than 15-20 minutes.

    To ensure a sufficient level of moisture, you can use the “grandmother” way. Grandmother’s way is to arrange pots of water around the room or hang wet towels. You can also just buy a moisturizer and call it a day.

    Do not forget about the wet cleaning. It should be daily, especially if there are carpets in the room. Ideally, the carpets should be removed from the nursery for a while when the baby arrives.

  5. Temperature of the Room
  6. Thermoregulation in children of the first month of life is still imperfect. So, it is important to ensure that the child does not overheat or get frozen. The optimal temperature for sleep for children up to the year is considered to be 18 degrees.

  7. Feeding Pattern
  8. Feeding Regimen

    Never place a child in the crib immediately after feeding them. This can provoke the appearance of colic and regurgitation in the child.

    After the baby has been fed, it should be help in a pillar position for 10-15 minute until it burps.

    Doing this every time after feeding will help to avoid digestive disorders and provides a more restful and prolonged sleep.

  9. Light in the Room
  10. Newborn children fall asleep perfectly in bright light, but such a sleep will not be comfortable for them. If the baby is kept in a separate room then it is better to turn off the lamps and fixtures.

    If the parents and the baby are living in the same room then it is allowed to leave the light source working. However, this is possible only if the light from the source is not too bright. For this step, lamps with a shade are ideal.

  11. Sounds Around Newborn
  12. To teach a kid to sleep in absolute silence from beginning of life is not worth it. A child can quite easily sleep with a working TV. However, it is very important that the sound from the source whatever it is be muffled. This means, the mother can talk on the phone with friends and family while the child sleeps. Obviously, she would have to do it in a low voice. On the other hand, it is not worth it to vacuum the room in which the baby is currently sleeping.

  13. Mother’s Presence
  14. mothers presence

    Last and most important comforter for baby is the mother’s presence. While the baby is small, the presence of a mother next to it is almost always necessary.

    While the baby falls asleep, you can sit next to it and sing a song or just pat it.

    As soon as the kid closes its eyes you can remove your hands and move away from the crib.

Advice for Parents

There are certain things that almost all parents do which they shouldn’t. This here is what we are going to talk about, the general mistakes that most parents tend to make.

  1. No Rocking the Baby
  2. Do not rock the baby in your arms with the intention to make it sleep. This is mentioned here, not because the baby will get used to it and may not wean later. It is here because of the health issue. In newborns there is a weak vestibular apparatus.

    Rocking the baby on the hands can be compared with riding on a roller coaster for adult. The moment child falls asleep it experiences an acute shortage of oxygen. This tends to negatively affect the baby’s health.

  3. Wean the Baby of Morning Sleep
  4. wean the baby

    When the baby is 6 months old, the parent should start weaning it of morning sleep. Instead replace this morning newborn sleep with an evening or midday sleep.

    If a child sleeps for a long time in the morning it will quickly get tired during the day.

    This will promote hyperactivity and thereby interfere with the baby’s development process.

  5. Proper Way to Wake Up a Baby
  6. You cannot wake a child in bright light, as this irritates the imperfect nervous system and can frighten the baby.
    This means that you should not turn on the bright light in the room before the baby wakes up. To begin with, it is better to open the door to the room or light a small lamp. Once the baby reacts to it then and only then you can wake the baby.

    In no case should you are to wake the child during periods of deep sleep. If you need to raise a baby in case of emergency then you can do this when the baby’s sleep is superficial.

    You can understand the baby is in superficial sleep by the following signs.

    • The arms and legs of the baby will shudder timely.
    • The face of the baby will mimic signs of emotions. The kid smiles, frowns, etc. when in superficial sleep.
    • The child’s eyes are slightly open and movement of the eyeballs can be observed.
    • The baby makes sucking movements as well.

    Signs of Proper Sleeping Regimen

    How to know if a child is getting enough sleep? This is one of the leading questions asked by most parents. So, let’s answer this explaining the signs of proper newborn sleep.

    If the newborn sleeps as much as it needs, then it can be determined by its behavior. The baby will be more cheerful and active. To know if the baby is sleeping enough, you can watch it for the following signs.

    • The baby will have proper appetite to eat.
    • It will enjoy playing and will be more cheerful.
    • It will take more interest in surrounding objects and toys.
    • The weight gain of the baby will continue in a stable manner.
    • It will not be irritated and will behave more calmly.

    Sometimes the child is restless, being naughty and crying without visible signs. These are all possible sign that it is overworked. When this happens the parents need to reconsider the sleep and rest regime for the child.

    Sleep is important for all children, especially for small or premature babies. The task of parents is to create conditions in which the baby can sleep peacefully and comfortably. If the child sleeps little or, conversely, very much then there might be a problem. Therefore, the consultation and examination of the pediatrician or even a neurologist will not be superfluous.

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How Often Should a Newborn Sleep?