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How Long Do Newborns Sleep?

Most newborns sleep the majority of the day and night, waking only to eat and dirty their diapers. But, is your newborn getting enough sleep a day? What about at night? This post will cover newborn sleep patterns and how long newborns sleep at various times in the day.

How Long Do Newborns Sleep a Day?

According to the AAP, newborn babies sleep an average of 16 to 17 hours a day over a 24-hour period but usually in 1-2 hour segments. And, according to The National Sleep Foundation, newborns sleep between 14 and 17 hours a day.

As a sleep consultant for over 10 years, I want to point out that there is quite a big difference between a 3-4-week old versus a 12-week old but both are considered a “newborn.” Sleep needs change rapidly and, therefore, you can expect your 3-4-week old to sleep more than your 12-week-old, for example.

This is one reason why we break down newborn sleep patterns by the week. If you compare a 1-week-old who is eating and sleeping virtually all day and night, you will see that a 6-week-old is awake much more.

It’s important to adjust your expectations as your baby grows and changes so you can make sure you are helping your newborn get the appropriate amount of sleep.

Can your baby sleep too much? The short answer is ‘yes’ but it’s highly unlikely. If your baby is healthy, they are likely sleeping the amount they need and babies need a LOT of sleep! If you are ever concerned, be sure to talk to your baby’s doctor, of course. The total amount of sleep in a 24-hour period will vary from baby to baby. Your baby’s average will stay relatively constant, though, meaning they will sleep approximately the same amount every day unless they are going through a growth spurt or have changed their habits.

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How Long Do Newborns Sleep at Night?

You might be researching newborn sleep patterns and begin to see things about making bedtime earlier. But, don’t do this too early! That’s because newborns will often sleep a maximum of 8-10 hours at night beginning around 6 weeks old, on average. After these 8-10 hours, they might stay awake for playtime for 1-2 hours at a time and you don’t want that to be 3:00 or 4:00 a.m.! Your newborn might stay awake from 3:30 to 5:00 a.m. and then take a 2-hour nap, for example. So, keep bedtime later until your baby extends their nighttime sleep to 11-12 hours which occurs around 3 months old.

Even though your newborn might sleep 8-10 hours at night, it’s important not to let them sleep through feedings until their doctor approves. This is usually after your baby has doubled their weight, established a good weight gain, and is growing appropriately. Every baby is different so be sure to get specific instructions from your doctor.

The newborn days are often the most exhausting for parents because you might be only sleeping in 1 1/2 to 2-hour chunks yourself but take heart it’s a relatively short period of time in your baby’s life! It only feels like years.

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How Long Do Newborns Sleep at a Time?

Now that we know how much newborns sleep in a day, we should discuss how long newborns sleep at a time. Some newborns will take long, luxurious naps for 2-3 hours at a time. Just be careful your baby doesn’t have day/night confusion. If that’s the case, you will want to limit naps to two hours maximum to help them sort this out. Otherwise, we will usually let newborns take long naps. Don’t worry, they will wake up soon enough!

On the other hand, some naps are short, lasting just 30-45 minutes sometimes. Don’t expect all naps to be long but you should expect at least 1-2 long ones and then the remainder are often shorter.

At night, newborns should be awakened to feed every two hours until their doctor tells you that your baby can sleep a longer stretch. Breastfed babies tend to wake every 2-3 hours to eat until at least 2-3 months old while formula-fed babies often go 3-4 hours.

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Sample Newborn Schedule

Putting it all together, here’s a sample 6-week-old baby sleep schedule so you can get an idea:

6-Week-Old Sleep Schedule
Time Activity
7:00 AM Wake, Diaper Change, and Milk
8:30 AM Nap
10:00 AM Milk and Diaper Change
11:30 AM Nap
1:00 PM Milk and Diaper Change
1:30/2:00 PM Nap
4:00 PM Milk and Diaper Change
4:30 PM Nap
6:30 PM Nap
7:00 PM Milk and Diaper Change
8:00/8:30 PM Milk (Cluster Feed)
8:30 PM Nap
9:45 PM Milk and Diaper Change
10:00 PM Bedtime
2:00 AM Milk and Diaper Change
5:00 AM Milk and Diaper Change

See more sample schedules here: Newborn Schedules By Week

How Long Should Your Baby Sleep in Your Room?

The AAP recommends that you share a room with your baby until 6-12 months, on average. It is important to note that they recommend “room-sharing without bed-sharing.” Sharing a room with your baby is considered the safest and can reduce the risk of SIDS. But, sharing a sleep surface can be dangerous. Always be sure to review the most up-to-date safe sleep recommendations.

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Conclusion

I hope this post has helped you learn more about newborn sleep patterns and will help you establish healthy sleep habits from a young age. Be sure to check out our free e-Books for more information about how you can help your family get better sleep!

References:

AAP Newborn Sleep Needs
AAP Sleep Needs by Age
Sleep Foundation Sleep Hours
Safe Sleep Recommendations

The post How Long Do Newborns Sleep? appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

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What Should a Newborn Wear to Sleep?

There are so many questions to answer when you first have a baby. And, we strive to answer all questions pertaining to sleep. Today, we share what a newborn should wear to sleep and what a newborn should sleep in.

How Much a Newborn Sleeps

Newborns sleep a lot. In fact, newborns sleep 14 to 17 hours a day but they can’t stay awake long between sleep periods. Your newborn might only stay awake for 1 to 2 hours throughout the day and night. Of course, you want most of their sleep to be at night with the 1 to 2 hours of awake time during the day. If your baby has newborn day/night confusion, you’re not alone!

If you are having any trouble with getting your newborn enough sleep, be sure to check our Newborn Sleep Schedules By Week.

What Should a Newborn Wear to Sleep?

To decrease your baby’s risk of SIDS, you want to make sure you dress your newborn appropriately. Overheating can increase the risk of SIDS so putting your newborn in appropriate sleep-wear is not only more comfortable but safer.

But, what should your newborn wear to sleep?

Of course, this will depend on your local climate, whether you have central heating and air conditioning, and what clothing you have available. The ideal room temperature for sleep is 68 to 70 degrees. Your baby’s skin should feel cool to the touch, not frigid, and never too warm or sweaty. If your baby feels very warm or sweaty, you are dressing your baby too warmly which is not as safe.

Most newborns should sleep in a maximum of 3 layers: a onesie, pajamas, and a swaddle blanket or wearable blanket.

A onesie is a little undershirt that has snaps on the bottom to make diaper changes easier. In some cases, if the onesie is long-sleeve, you might not need to put a sleep-n-play or pajamas over it. For babies who are warmer or in a warmer climate, skip the second layer and go straight to a swaddle blanket or sleep sack.

If your baby has sensitive skin or eczema, consider buying organic sleepwear whenever possible:

Do Newborns Have to Be Swaddled?

Most newborns sleep better when they are swaddled (wrapped up like a little burrito.) But, it isn’t mandatory. Some babies come out of the womb and want their freedom. Unfortunately, even if they don’t want to be swaddled, sometimes the moro reflex will wake them up constantly. For these babies, it’s better to swaddle them even if they appear not to like it.

My son, for example, would resist the swaddle but once he fell asleep, he slept much better. Some babies like mine just have FOMO.

If you are using a SNOO, it has a built-in swaddle to make it easier and keep baby safely on their back. Otherwise, you should use a good swaddle blanket and make sure your baby can’t break out making a safety hazard.

You May Also Be Interested In…
How to Swaddle Your Baby: 3 Easier Ways For Better Baby Sleep
SNOO: Is It Really Worth It? And, Alternatives.

What Do Newborns Wear If Not Swaddled?

If your newborn isn’t swaddled or when it’s time to stop swaddling, we recommend a sleep sack or wearable blanket. There are many on the market, so we’ve gathered the top 10 sleep sacks for you.

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Nested Bean vs. Love To Dream
Zipadee Zip vs. Love To Dream Swaddle Up

I hope this article has helped you decide what your newborn should wear to sleep. Be sure to also learn 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Need to Know.

References:
https://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/s/sudden-infant-death-syndrome-sids/symptoms-and-causes

The post What Should a Newborn Wear to Sleep? appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

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Newborn Bedtime Routines and Time to Put Baby to Bed

A good bedtime routine can help your newborn baby sleep better at night and take longer naps. But, what is a good bedtime routine for a newborn and when should you start using one? And, what time do you put your newborn to bed? This post will share all you need to know about bedtime routines for your newborn.

Newborn Bedtime Routine Ideas

Bedtime routines will change over time as your baby goes from newborn to young baby to a toddler or preschooler. The best bedtime routines typically have a few things in common. Good bedtime routines start and end the same way, are consistent, and most of all, they are soothing.

A bedtime routine, especially for your newborn, does not have to be very long or complicated. Most bedtime routines are ~10 minutes at nap time and ~20-30 minutes at bedtime. Here is a sample bedtime routine:

  1. Give the baby a bath.
  2. Apply some lotion with lavender for calming comfort.
  3. With the lotion, do a little baby massage.
  4. Put on a clean diaper (if you are not doing Elimination Communication).
  5. Put on your baby’s onesie and pajamas.
  6. Turn on white noise.
  7. Swaddle your newborn safely and snugly.
  8. Feed and burp your baby.
  9. Rock or sway gently for a few minutes and lay them down on their back in their bassinet, bedside bassinet, or crib.
  10. Soothe them while in their bed, if necessary, to get them to fall the rest of the way to sleep.

At first, your baby won’t know this is a routine but when you do this consistently for enough days in a row, it will cue them to fall asleep easier and faster.

You May Also Be Interested In…
SNOO: Is It Really Worth It? And, Alternatives.

Can You Do a Newborn Bedtime Routine Without a Bath?

Some parents find that their baby is not soothed by a bath. Some babies don’t like them while others like them a little too much, and then don’t like to get out. Both of my boys got very hyper when they took a bath!

Also, keep in mind that we all sleep best when our body temperature is lower. A warm bath can increase our body temperature and make it take longer to fall asleep.

So, feel free to do your baby’s bedtime routine but without the bath. You can do a bath earlier in the day or you can consider wiping your baby down with a warm, damp cloth instead.

Until your baby is older and moving around, they aren’t accumulating much dirt to need a bath every day. And, in fact, it can dry out their skin considerably. And, if your baby has eczema, it’s not a good idea to use soap every day.

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FREE e-Book: 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Should Know

When Do You Start a Bedtime Routine for Baby?

At what age should you start a bedtime routine for your newborn? It doesn’t hurt to start from birth but until your baby can stay awake for longer periods of time, it might feel like all you have time for is a feeding and diaper change before your baby is falling asleep, again!

In the early days, newborns don’t stay awake very long. Sometimes they stay awake for only 45-60 minutes at a time! Most newborns stay awake 1-2 hours TOPS.

There is no right or wrong age to start a bedtime routine but we encourage them as early as 4 to 6 weeks old. Until then, your baby might not need anything special to fall asleep since many newborns are so sleepy in the first place.

Time to Put Newborns to Bed

As your newborn’s day/night confusion goes away, they will start to stay awake for longer periods of time during the day. They will take naps and it might start to feel like daytime is now distinct from the nighttime. This is the time we start to think about setting a specific “bedtime.”

When you decide on the time to put your newborn to bed, you must keep in mind that newborns often only sleep 8-10 hours at night (on and off with feedings). During this time of day, they will sleep consecutively waking only for feedings and then go right back to sleep. During the day, they will stay awake for 45-90 minutes at a time, on average.

The last thing you want is for your baby to stay awake from 2:00 to 3:00 a.m., take a 1-hour “nap,” and then stay awake again from 4:00 to 5:00 a.m.

Therefore, you want to set your newborn’s bedtime to be late around 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. That way, if they sleep 9 hours, it will be from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., for example. Be sure to put your newborn on a schedule based on their age in weeks.

Bedtime Routine for a Toddler and Newborn

If you have both a toddler and a newborn, the bedtime routines can be a bit more challenging depending on the age of your toddler.

If you have a 12-18-month-old and a newborn, your toddler might be too distracting and unable to be quiet while you put your newborn to bed. For that reason, I recommend you put your toddler to bed first and then your newborn later. If your newborn’s bedtime is still late, this should be easy to do. You can put your newborn in a sling or wrap if they are fussy and need to be held a lot. If your baby is content, you can consider putting them in a bouncer and give your toddler more individualized attention.

If you have a 2-year old or 3-year old, your toddler might be better able to help put the baby to bed if the time to put your newborn to bed has moved to earlier than your toddler’s bedtime. If this is the case, ask your toddler to help such as getting the diaper, helping with the baby massage, etc.

If both your toddler and newborn are going to bed around the same time, you can try combining the bedtime routines but you will need to allow for extra time (~30-60 minutes). Toddlers can delay things quite a bit. Here is a sample combined bedtime routine for a toddler and newborn:

Sample Bedtime Routine With a Toddler and Newborn

  1. Undress one child at a time and apply some lotion with lavender for calming comfort.
  2. With the lotion, do a little baby massage.
  3. Put on a clean diaper (if you are not doing Elimination Communication).
  4. Put on your baby’s onesie and pajamas for both.
  5. Place the baby in a bouncer and read books to both children (usually with your toddler in your lap so they can see the pictures).
  6. Have your toddler get in bed and turn on lullaby music and white noise.
  7. Swaddle your newborn safely and snugly.
  8. Feed and burp your baby while chatting with your toddler.
  9. Tell your toddler good night, turn off the light, and leave the room.
  10. Rock or sway the baby gently for a few minutes and lay them down on their back in their bassinet, bedside bassinet, or crib.
  11. Soothe them while in their bed, if necessary, to get them to fall the rest of the way to sleep.

I hope this post has given you all the tools you need to create the best bedtime routine for your family!

Newborn Baby Sleep Help That Works

Essential Keys to Newborn SleepNeed help encouraging your newborn to sleep better, and to sleep longer stretches at night and during the day? We have a great resource designed to do just that. Check out Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep, an e-Book from The Baby Sleep Site®. Available in PDF format as well as a variety of e-reader formats, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is the tired parents’ #1 newborn resource. Essential Keys lays out everything you need to know about helping your baby to sleep better right from the start. It also includes information on feeding (both breast and bottle), baby communication, bonding with baby, daily routines, sample sleep schedules, and more. Download your copy today!

Or, if you are interested in personalized, one-on-one help for your newborn, why not consider one of our personalized sleep consulting packages? Our consultations allow you to work directly with one of our expert sleep consultants, and to get a Personalized Sleep Plan® that will work for your family.

First, browse our extensive list of package options and select the one that looks best for your situation.
 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to log in and start your family’s sleep history questionnaire right away – it’s that simple!

The post Newborn Bedtime Routines and Time to Put Baby to Bed appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.

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Colic in Baby: 5 Tips to Help Your Newborn Sleep

When your baby has colic, they will cry for hours on end and it’s very hard to calm them down. What are the signs and symptoms of colic? And, how can you help a colicky baby sleep? This post will tell you all you need to know based on our 10+ years of experience.

What is Colic?

Colic is a fairly predictable time of day when your baby will cry for long periods of time. Some babies will cry for an hour or two but other babies can cry for multiple hours. My friend’s baby cried for 5-6 hours every day!

The most challenging part about colic is that it’s impossible to soothe the baby and stop the crying. When a colicky baby is crying, it comes on unexpectedly and for no apparent reason. You can’t simply change a diaper, for example.

The word ‘colic’ is used to label a healthy baby who cries for long periods of time every day for weeks on end. There has been a movement to share with parents and caregivers that all babies will go through a period of increasing crying. It’s just that some babies have much more of it (and labeled with colic) and other babies have much less of it (not labeled as colicky). It is called The Period of PURPLE Crying. Diagnosing a baby with colic implies that some babies have it and others don’t. However, according to Dr. Ronald Barr, a Developmental Pediatrician and World Expert on Infant Crying, all babies go through this period, some simply easier than others. Those who do not get labeled with colic simply have newborn evening fussiness.

Colic Signs and Symptoms for Baby

The most common signs and symptoms of colic include the following:

  • Baby cries for a long period of time (2-3 hours or more).
  • The crying is predictable every day. For example, your baby cries for 3 hours from ~7:00 to ~10:00 p.m. every night.
  • Crying is usually in the evening.
  • Baby looks like they are in pain when they are crying.
  • Soothing doesn’t seem to help.

What Causes Colic?

Nothing causes colic so much as all babies will have this period of a gradual increase of crying until it peaks. This is a developmental period and a phase that will pass, eventually. The crying starts spontaneously every day and then stops just as quickly as it started.

This time period can be very frustrating and you might doubt yourself as a parent. But, this is not a reflection on your parenting skills and there are no long-lasting effects from all of the crying.

There are some theories that a baby can get overstimulated adjusting to the outside world but there has been no definitive cause as to why some babies have longer periods of crying than others.

When Does Colic Start?

Colic for your baby starts around 2 weeks old. Crying will gradually increase over the next days/weeks until it peaks. At what age the crying peaks varies from baby to baby. For some babies, it will peak at 3 weeks while others can still cry for hours each day until 2 to 3 months old.

When Does Colic End? How Long Does Colic Last?

Thankfully, colic will end, eventually, even though it will feel like an eternity!

Once your baby’s colic peaks, the crying will gradually reduce over a period of days/weeks and end by 3 to 4 months old. Therefore, colic lasts 1 to 12 weeks and it’s impossible to know how long your baby will have it.

We do know, however, that there is often a 6 week peak of fussiness. After this, many babies will gradually fuss and cry less over the next few weeks. For my son, this was exactly true and he was much less fussy by 8 to 10 weeks old!

How Do You Know Baby Is Not Sick?

When your baby has colic, there is a pattern of crying meaning it happens every day at the relatively same time of day. Since this pattern of crying will last weeks or months, your doctor will rule out health issues and diagnose your baby with colic.

If your baby is sick, there will probably be other things going on such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, weight loss, not feeding, etc.

Because you won’t know if your baby is showing a pattern of crying from colic for a number of weeks, it is very important to have your doctor do tests and examine your baby just in case it is a medical condition. Your doctor needs to rule out other reasons for the crying first and foremost.

Colic Remedies: How to Soothe a Baby with Colic?

Unfortunately, the definition of colic includes precisely that your baby is crying for long periods of time and cannot be soothed. I’m going to be honest here. Therefore, the ways you soothe a baby with colic will not likely be very successful. However, few parents can sit back and do nothing while their baby is crying.

As usual, I recommend you make a plan for how you will handle your newborn every day when the crying starts.

If you have help, I highly recommend you take turns, too. For example, if you know your baby will cry for 3 hours beginning around 6:30 p.m. every day, you can plan to let your spouse go for a walk or take a bath in another part of the house for the first 30-60 minutes while you take the first shift. During the second hour, you can switch places.

If you don’t have help, you can plan to try soothing the baby for 30 minutes, use a swing for 30 minutes, put on headphones for 30 minutes while walking the baby around the kitchen, and so on. If you know what you will do every day, you can reduce some of the frustration that comes with expecting you’ll be able to stop the crying. Accept the baby will cry and simply follow your “protocol” to get through it.

But, what about the baby? How can you soothe the baby? Here are a few things you can try:

Don’t feel bad taking a break!

Obviously, some parents get very frustrated hearing their baby cry for such long periods of time every day. This is understandable! It’s always best to take a break rather than possibly hurt your baby. Put your baby down in a safe place in another room for 10 to 15 minutes if you need a break. It won’t hurt the baby and you can regroup. After all, your senses can get overstimulated, too!

5 Tips to Help Your Colic Baby Sleep Better

If there’s any chance that over-stimulation increases colic, it will help you and your baby to help them sleep better. No, we can’t get rid of all crying nor can we “fix” colic but helping your baby sleep better will recharge you during the day. If you’re lucky, you can nap during the day so you have more patience in the evening.

Here are 5 tips to help your newborn sleep better:

  • Swaddle Your Baby – The benefits of swaddling are clear and can help calm a fussy baby. Be sure to swaddle the correct way for maximum positive impact.
  • Use White Noise – Using white noise can help your baby drown out noises in the house. If your baby is easily over-stimulated, this should help calm them. The volume should be about that of a shower running so you may need to turn it up.
  • Wear Your Baby – Using a baby wrap and simulating your newborn back in the womb can do wonders. Make sure you check the weight for the wrap you use so it’s safe. Many babies will snooze in a sling or wrap.
  • Don’t keep your baby awake too long – The easiest way to over-stimulate the baby is to keep them awake too long. Babies are taking in so much around them. Therefore, many babies can only stay awake 45-60 minutes at a time until they are older. Be sure to use an appropriate newborn schedule by week.
  • Offer Skin-to-Skin Contact – The benefits of skin-to-skin contact are plentiful but the biggest benefit for the purposes of soothing a baby with colic is to help regulate their heart and breathing with yours. Kangaroo Care has been shown to have many benefits to your baby and to you. And, the best part is that any caretaker can do it!

I hope this article has helped you understand colic better and, most importantly, helped you feel less alone. And, I hope that you now know that this is not a reflection on your parenting skills. It’s simply a test of your patience.

Newborn Baby Sleep Help That Works

Essential Keys to Newborn SleepNeed help encouraging your newborn to sleep better, and to sleep longer stretches at night and during the day? We have a great resource designed to do just that. Check out Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep, an e-Book from The Baby Sleep Site®. Available in PDF format as well as a variety of e-reader formats, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is the tired parents’ #1 newborn resource. Essential Keys lays out everything you need to know about helping your baby to sleep better right from the start. It also includes information on feeding (both breast and bottle), baby communication, bonding with baby, daily routines, sample sleep schedules, and more. Download your copy today!

Or, if you are interested in personalized, one-on-one help for your newborn, why not consider one of our personalized sleep consulting packages? Our consultations allow you to work directly with one of our expert sleep consultants, and to get a Personalized Sleep Plan® that will work for your family.

First, browse our extensive list of package options and select the one that looks best for your situation.
 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to log in and start your family’s sleep history questionnaire right away – it’s that simple!

The post Colic in Baby: 5 Tips to Help Your Newborn Sleep appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.