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Common Newborn Sleep Mistakes

Updated: Mar 2

Newborn Sleep

Newborns are cute, cuddly, and challenging.

Like many mamas the newborn stage was so hard for me, even the second time around. It’s completely natural to enjoy the snuggles and cute cuddles that come with having a newborn, but it’s also important to acknowledge that not every day will be easy.

It’s normal to have days where you might feel overwhelmed or like you’re struggling to keep up with everything.

Your baby is learning how to live outside of the womb and you are learning your baby. Give yourself grace. With that being said there’s not much predictability and there’s also not much sleep (for parents at least).

Here are some of the most common newborn sleep mistakes parents unintentionally make and how you can avoid them between 0-4 months.

Waiting too long to put the baby down.

Newborns need a ton of sleep and they get overtired and overstimulated quickly. As a sleep consultant, what I know now is that “sleep begets sleep.” The more sleep our babies get, the more well-rested they will be, the easier it will be for them to fall asleep at the next sleep phase.

They will eventually learn to take naps in their crib or bassinet, but for now, enjoy the snuggles.

This means to assist your baby to sleep in any way possible (baby wearing, nurse to sleep, rock) as long as it is within the safe sleep guidelines recommended by the AAP. Check below for the recommendations (remember every baby is different) for wake times by age.

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

Expecting a consistent schedule

Short naps are a thing during this season. Some naps may be 10 minutes, some may be 2 hours, and no amount of magic will change those lengths. Instead, try to go with the flow as much as possible.

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.

The longest stretch of sleep will be in the beginning of the night (between 8:00/9:00 pm and 1:00 am). If you are able to, enlist your partner or family to help with chores around the house so you aim to go to bed early with them in order to better handle the night wakings.

Nap habits in the early weeks: 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.

Dressing them too warm for sleep

No one likes sweating at night, especially newborns.

Our body temperatures fall when we enter into sleep and being too warm can prohibit entering into a comfortable sleep. Dress them with a one-piece footed pajama or onesie with socks, swaddle or sleep sack, and keep the room between 68-72 degrees.

Not addressing day & night confusion

Most newborns are positively notorious for sleeping extremely well during the day with unreliable sleep at night.

Day and night confusion is a phase that the majority of babies will go through. New babies have an underdeveloped pineal gland which means their bodies don’t produce the sleep hormones right away. This should resolve within the first 8-12 weeks when their circadian rhythm develops.

I encourage you to follow the routine of EAT, PLAY, SLEEP. This will help to build a positive and healthy foundation for nap time/bedtime routine later on.

In the daytime, when they are not napping, expose your baby to natural light. 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 your 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.

In the middle of the night during wakings, keep interactions as boring and dark as possible. Feed quietly, with lights off or very very low, and put them right back to sleep. If nighttime diaper changes are needed, use soft, amber lighting.

Not taking care of yourself

It takes a village to raise a child and the first few weeks are taxing.

Many women feel as if they have to “do it all” but that simply is not the case. I encourage you to reach out for help; th

ere is NO shame in it.

Asking for help can look very different for every mama, some things I have found helpful is having a family member over to help do some laundry, run errands, or even cook a meal for your family.

Every postpartum is different and if you are struggling with PPD/PPA, it is never too late to reach out to your provider for help.

Still looking for more newborn guidance? I offer newborn support as well as sleep support for 3-4 month olds. Check them out here!

Newborn Support

Support for 3-4 Months

Rest Well,


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