Skip to main content

Newborns sleep a lot, but not for very long at any one time. Thankfully, there are ways to get your newborn used to a regular baby sleep routine. By forming quiet moments together where you engage their senses, your baby will sleep more and experience healthy development.

The first few weeks of your baby’s life are all about adjustment - for both of you. It’s too soon to expect structured newborn sleep patterns, so take your cues from your baby to establish a healthy and natural newborn sleep schedule.

Newborns Wake Up, A Lot

For the first few months, your baby will sleep and wake up at all hours of the day (and night)! Newborn babies have quite a range in total sleep time (10-18 hours per day), with sleep usually equally spaced throughout the day with no real difference between day and night time sleep. Although this means babies can sleep up to 18 hours a day, they may only sleep for 2 to 5 hours at a time. Be sure to respond to your newborn when they signal, as they will likely need feeding…and diapering!

Encourage your baby to take full feeds when they begin nursing, from the very first week. Babies are more likely to sleep when all their needs are met, so a full stomach means sleep, for you and your baby! You can encourage your baby to stay awake while nursing by gently massaging their hands and feet.

Keeping your baby awake while nursing allows them to feed more, and eventually sleep more too afterwards —since they won’t wake up hungry for at least another 2 hours!

Why Does Your Newborn Wake Up?

Newborns usually wake up when they are hungry or need to be changed.

Bear in mind that a baby’s sleep cycles are much shorter than an adult’s. Babies have more REM sleep, which occurs at intervals during the night and is characterized by rapid eye movements, more dreaming and bodily movement. Between 6 to 8 weeks, your baby will develop a habit of sleeping more at night, because they’ll be having deeper sleep. By then, you will figure out a newborn sleep pattern that we hope is comfortable for you and your baby!

Be aware of sudden changes in your baby’s sleep patterns — it may signal illness, or a hunger-inducing growth spurt.

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

To lessen the chances of SIDS, always put your baby down to sleep on their back, not their tummy. Your baby should sleep on a firm mattress, with no fluffy or loose bedding, no stuffed animals and no pillow.

For more information on baby sleep safety, please visit CPSC.gov, aap.org, and keepingbabiessafe.org.

How Can You Establish a Good Baby Sleep Routine Early-On?

From as early as just 6 weeks, your baby can be gotten used to a newborn sleep schedule. During this phase, your baby starts developing natural circadian rhythms — a process that regulates the sleep cycle.

Whatever you get your baby used to may determine the way they’ll sleep later on. If you get your baby used to rocking, they may expect to always go to sleep the same way. Create a baby sleep routine that you can do every night and suits you both best.

Know When Your Baby Is Tired

There are some universal signs of sleepy babies. Some of these include the baby rubbing their eyes, as if they are dosing off. Dark circles, just as in adults, are also a sign of sleeplessness. Whining, crying or losing interest in toys and tricks can indicate the same. Addedly, yawning and stretching can also be common signals for baby sleep time.

Teach the Difference Between Night and Day

When your baby goes to sleep during the day, keep the lights on and keep sounds at normal levels. You can begin your baby’s day by changing them into a new set of clothes, so your baby can feel the freshness and start of a new day!

Interact with your baby as often as you can. Play, talk, sing and celebrate your baby’s magical presence! The purpose of this is to make day-time seem as active as possible, signaling the custom that ‘when there is light, we do things’.

At night, on the other hand, turn off the light or use a night-light. Feed and change your baby as calmly and quietly as possible and limit your interactions to holding your baby gently. Your touch should be soothing, to help improve your baby’s sleep time and quality. Soon, you will notice that your baby's longest periods of sleep occur at night.

Naptime — for Mom Too

Use your baby’s nap time as a time to catch up on sleep yourself. As tempting as it is to use nap time to get things done, you’ll be able to cope better if you nap when your baby does.

Create a Night Time Routine For Your Baby

Our JOHNSON’S® 2-Step Baby Sleep Routine includes a gentle baby massage combined with the cuddles of quiet time; help your baby know that it’s time for sleep.

Logo Baby Center

It’s normal for your baby to nap quite a bit his first year. BabyCenter® offers advice on how to help your baby sleep well during the day.

Back to Top