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Newborn Sleep Schedule: Birth to 3 months

Newborn Sleep

You are back home with your baby, and you are happy and anxious about this new journey. Among the list of things you are probably trying to figure out is your baby\’s sleep pattern. You quickly learn that all your newborn does sleep, eat, poop, cry, and sleep.

How much do newborns sleep?

Have you been wondering, \’How much do newborns sleep?\” Newborns sleep for a total of 16 to 18 hours a day within the first two weeks. Their sleep is in small chunks, usually between two to three hours, both day and night. Because their stomach is small, they wake in between their sleep to eat and relax before settling back to sleep. Baby sleep schedule at such an early stage is not recommended. Babies don\’t know the difference between night and day in their first month of birth, and you want to allow your baby to get all the sleep they require because it is essential for their brain development and growth. 

Some parents make a mistake of trying to follow a newborn sleep schedule for their newborns. It is imperative to note that a baby between 0 to 6 weeks is too young to have a sleep schedule. In fact, at this stage, newborns are just struggling to understand the difference between day and night. You, as a parent, should take time to help your newborn clear the confusion between day and night at this stage by keeping the day full of activities and bright and then the night quiet, calm, and dark with fewer activities.

1 to 2 weeks old schedule

The first two weeks of birth are very much the same for you and your baby. It is expected that your baby sleeps soundly for two to three hours regularly, which would make a total of 16 to 18 hours sleep in a day. Your baby would wake up every two or three hours to feed, and it is vital to allow him to feed well to regain their birth weight. It is alright to wake your baby to feed if your baby hasn\’t woken up after three hours of sleep because she is most likely going to return to sleep after feeding.

Your baby would also wake up every two to three hours in the night to feed and look into your face before going back to sleep. You have to get ready to wake up several times in the night to feed, clean poop, change soaked diapers, and play with your baby. During this early stage, you should not tie your baby\’s feeding to a clock because a newborn feeding schedule will not work. Your baby feeding schedule should be based on her demand because you want to be able to meet all the nutritional requirements of your newborn. 

3 weeks old

At this stage, your baby is starting to spend longer periods awake even though your newborn will still sleep about fourteen to sixteen hours of sleep out of twenty-four hours. Your newborn\’s brain and central nervous system are maturing at a rapid rate, and he begins to start taking note of his environment. He will still wake regularly to feed, and if he is gaining weight well, you will not need to wake him up to feed. Your baby might also become fussy at this time, and it might be because he is cluster feeding


4 weeks old

Your four weeks old baby would still need fourteen to sixteen hours of sleep daily, but he will spend more hours awake. Your one-month-old baby is already aware of his surroundings and might be sleeping longer stretches at night, and that means they wake fewer times to feed. At this stage, you can begin to help your baby understand the difference between day and night to help your child sleep through the night, especially if your baby is one to sleep in the day and stay awake to play in the night. You should remember to follow a baby feeding schedule of every two hours. Consistency is key.

5 to 6 weeks old

At five to weeks old, your newborn is starting to stay awake longer for up to one hour and take four to five naps. Your baby can handle more stimulus now, and he is already beginning to learn new things, especially as you and those around him talk and sing to him. Your baby will still sleep for about thirteen to sixteen hours daily. You don\’t have any reason to worry if your baby is not staying awake longer than an hour. My daughter spent most of her first two months sleeping and, after then, became actively awake. At this time, you can settle your baby into a routine or schedule. You can help him set his bedtime, and after 6 weeks, you might want to schedule his time for feeding to every two or three hours. Consult with your pediatrician on what will be appropriate for your baby.

7 to 9 weeks

Though your baby is sleeping about fourteen to fifteen hours a day and taking short naps in between long periods of sleep during the day, your baby will be sleeping longer at night. Some babies learn to start sleeping through the night at this stage, but some babies don\’t reach this milestone until they are five to six months, and other children don\’t sleep through the night till they are about three years old. Your baby would not wake to feed often in the night because he can hold more food in his stomach now. Some babies will begin to drop some of their cluster feeding fussiness at this time, and a newborn feeding schedule might be possible.

10 to 12 weeks

Your baby is more aware of his surroundings and wants to be more involved in it. This will keep him awake longer. He will take between three to five shorter naps and three to four hours of sleep during the day but ten to eleven hours of sleep in the night. He will wake for three feeds in the night and go back to sleep again. At twelve weeks, it might become harder to stick with his sleeping and feeding schedule because your baby might want to stay awake longer. At three months, your baby is likely to start fighting his sleep because he wants to play more. You will schedule your newborn\’s feeding to be every two hours

You must learn your baby cues for sleep and feeding. During the first six weeks, you should follow your baby\’s lead, and after then you can settle into a schedule. Baby sleep or feeding cues range from

  • Rubbing their eyes
  • Yawning
  • Fussiness
  • Crying

Your newborn will need your help in settling to sleep in the first few weeks of life because most babies don\’t know how to sleep on their own.

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