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7 Normal Newborn Sleep Habits


Newborn sleep help

Newborns are cute, cuddly, and challenging. The newborn stage was so hard for me, even the second time around.


There’s not much predictability and there’s also not much sleep (for parents at least). I often get many questions from parents about their newborn’s sleep, so let’s take some time to answer your most FAQs to date!



1. What are the most appropriate wake times for my newborn?

The answer to this question varies based on age and your individual child. However, you can use these times as a general guideline for newborn waketimes:


  • 0-4 Weeks: 30-45 minutes

  • 4-8 Weeks: 45-60 minutes

  • 8-12 Weeks: 60-75 minutes

  • 12-16 Weeks: 75-90 minutes

  • 16-20 Weeks: 90-120 minutes



2. My newborn sleeps ALL DAY LONG! Is this normal?


YES! Newborns need a ton of sleep. Most of your child’s development happens while they are sleeping. These are the approximate total hours of sleep your little one may be getting during the day:


  • 0-4 Weeks: 8+ hours

  • 4-8 Weeks: 6-8 hours

  • 8-12 Weeks: 5-7 hours

  • 12-16 Weeks: 4-5 hours

  • 16-20 Weeks: 3-4 hours



3. My newborn parties ALL NIGHT LONG! Is this normal?


Yes…for a little while at least.


Your little one’s circadian rhythms (or their biological body clock) won’t develop until around 4 months of age, so it’s common to see day/night confusion in the early weeks.


However, this should slowly improve by the time they reach 2 months of age. Check out my blog on Common Newborn Sleep Mistakes to help resolve day/night confusion



4. My baby FIGHTS the swaddle. Why can’t I just drop it?


I’m a huge proponent of using a tight swaddle until baby is rolling. Not only does this recreate the comforting environment of the womb, but it also prevents their Moro Reflex (startle reflex) from waking them up in the middle of their naps.


If your little one seems to be fighting the swaddle, keep in mind that they may just be tired and crying due to their need to sleep. If they are breaking out of the swaddle, make sure that you are using a Velcro swaddle. My favorite brand is SwaddleMe.



If you’re wondering whether you should drop the swaddle, check out my blog post on dropping the swaddle here.


5. My baby won’t take longer than 20-30 minute naps. Is this normal?

Absolutely! They have not yet learned to connect sleep cycles, and that’s okay. Continue to offer them lots of opportunities to sleep based on the wake time recommendation I gave above.



6. My newborn will only nap in my arms or swing- never in the bassinet. Am I creating a bad sleep habit?


I don’t believe in “bad” sleep habits. I believe in doing whatever works to survive the phase you are in, and then teaching new skills when it is no longer serving you. Up to 4 months, keep baby well-rested during the day by having them sleep however they prefer (as long as it’s safe!!).



This will help to stretch out night sleep. They will eventually learn to take naps in their crib or bassinet, but for now, enjoy the snuggles. If you feel nap-trapped, get help from a family member or a friend who would love to hold the baby while you nap or get chores done around the house!


7. Should I wake my baby during the day to feed them?


Always follow your pediatrician’s recommendations, since they know your baby’s weight gain and growth development best.


From a sleep perspective, during the day, I recommend waking baby to feed if it’s been more than 3 hours since their last feeding. This will help to keep their caloric intake up during the day, so ideally they won’t need to eat as frequently at night.


What other questions do you have about newborn sleep?


Send me an email or if you are interested in personalized help with your newborn’s sleep, check out the newborn packages I offer! Newborn Sleep Support



Rest Well,

Sarah


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