Newborns’ sleep pattern

I know every baby has a different sleep pattern but I’ve learned that newborns, generally sleep for a total of 15 to 17 hours a day and tend not to sleep for more than 3 to 4 hours at a stretch. For the first few weeks, my baby was able to sleep long stretches, at least 2 hours and can go up to 3-4 hours, if we get lucky. When he turned 1 month, his naps were getting shorter and we found it challenging to put him to sleep. According to sleep consultants, recreating an environment similar to being inside the womb can help promote better sleep. Measures could include using white noise machine- they weren’t used to silence as they were accustomed to hearing noises inside the womb such as mom’s heartbeat, etc.; swaddling, and darkening the room. I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned about newborns’ sleep pattern.

Usual sleep pattern of newborns

Newborn’s sleep, to a parent, can seem completely disorganized and is characterized by:

  • Newborns never sleep for long

They randomly sleep for short intervals of between 30 minutes to 4 hours throughout the day and night

  • Newborns awaken easily

Newborns spend most of their sleep time in active-sleep which is characterized by fluttering eyelids, body movements, vocalization, and irregular breathing.

  • Newborn sleep time can vary widely

On average, a newborn sleeps for 16 to 18 hours a day. After a month they sleep for approximately 14 hours. Some babies of the same age, out of 24 hours, can sleep for 9 hours only.

Causes of interrupted sleep or fussiness

Sometimes a newborn experiences trouble sleeping due to a medical condition. Some of the non-medical reasons can include:

  • Newborns internal clock is not in sync with the 24-hour day
  • Hunger
  • Lack of routine
  • Newborns bedtime being too early or too late
  • Intervening when you think your baby is awake
  • Making midnight care sessions too interesting

Normal sleep pattern and things to do to promote good sleep in newborns

Newborns sleep for 3-4 hours at a time until they reach 3 months old and there are measures you can take to improve that, they include:

  • Make your baby a part of your daily routine
  • Reduce stimulation at night
  • Expose your newborn to natural lighting patterns
  • Try infant massage

When to start sleep training

Experts recommend training your baby between the ages of 4 to 6 months. At this age, they tend to have developed a regular sleep-wake cycle and reduced their night feeding.

Parenthood is quite tasking with newborns. It is important that you are hands-on to ensure you nurture and train them as they grow. If you believe that your baby’s sleep is being interrupted by medical reason, seek medical advice. 

The first few weeks was really challenging. I felt like a zombie all the time. People told me to sleep when my baby sleeps but it wasn’t easy. I found a better piece of advice “Do the laundry when the baby does the laundry” lol. There were times when I can’t do anything because he wanted to be held and wouldn’t sleep when I put him down. At that time, I thought it was always going to be like that but it does get better. My sister tells me to enjoy cuddling and holding him because there will come a time that he wouldn’t want to be held anymore (eyes welling up).

So just enjoy every phase with your child because it’s not permanent. Here I am staring at him while he sleeps and wishing for time to slow down. Someday, this tiny face would outgrow my arms but never my heart.

Milk drunk

22 thoughts on “Newborns’ sleep pattern

  1. Thanks for creating this list! It gives a lot of information but is nice and to the point. I’ve always known about recreating the womb experience, but I wasn’t really sure about how to successfully train babies how to sleep like normal human beings!

  2. I’m about to have my first little one of my own here soon and I’m trying to get educated on all the little quirks my baby will have. The sleeping situation does not sound exciting but it will all be worth it in the end 🙂

  3. Babies are so absolutely precious! I don’t have one of my own but I’ve been chatting with my husband about it for some time and I’m hoping to really soon! Your blog is so very helpful in educating us on just how much it takes to raise a child.

  4. I just had my first kid and I have been desperately trying to find tips and tricks to help make the sleeping process go easier. I love how to write out all the info I need in an easy to read and understand kind of format. Seeing that other moms are in the same boat as I really make me feel better and less stressed about the situation.

  5. This is such an extensive and helpful list. I hope you and Antonello get that much-deserved sleep! Looking forward to more tips and sharings from you 🙂

  6. They do grow up fast, but there are lots of benefits to that, like having deep conversations or playing family games. I like to be excited for every stage, but it’s true that getting to hold your little infant is like nothing else in the world. <3

  7. THANK YOUU! What a great article, so indeed I’m a new mom (a week) and it’s been crazy! I read this was something normal, but didn’t new exactly when to start the training or how to do it! thank you so much!

  8. WOW! I’m just starting my journey as a future mom (5 weeks pregnant), this is such a great information! I heard that they come with “jetlag” (the word they used) because since the uterus, they are more active at night than day time. Your tips are great, can’t wait to start doing everything with my little one! You baby looks so beautiful and healthy! Wish you the best!

  9. Slept one hour last night… your words are a light to me right now. So many things I didn’t know, and nobody told me (not exactly with my family lately). It’s very helpful to know what to expect from the first weeks, if my baby doesn’t reach those 10 hours of sleep, what should I do?

    1. Hey Nicole! It’s okay, we all have been there. As Charlene said, it is okay for this to happen! Follow her tips, in my experience starting the day light and dark at night is very helpful. You ALWAYS have to be very careful with your baby, maybe he is having medical conditions like colic or some allergy! If you don’t see any other symptom, don’t worry!

  10. This is so helpful!!!! I’m getting ready for my little one to come out in a few weeks! Everybody has told me that I will never sleep again, but your tips sound so easy and doable, thank you very much!

  11. Hey! your post is great! Besides the sleeping schedule, what about when to put it to sleep away from you, I mean, my baby has been sleeping with me these past 4 months, but now she won’t use her cradle, doctor told me to put her there and no matter how much she cried, let her there till she fell asleep in her cradle, do you agree?

  12. Hey Charlene! I can’t thank you enough for this, I needed this so much earlier, not now when I’ve slept 4 hours the past 2 days or so. Will start putting your tips into practice, hope they work! Thanks!

  13. OMG love it! such a simple explanation! this is something all mom’s or about to be need to know! Trying to have a regular sleep is such a challenge! Mine is 5m so I’m about to start this training, in a couple of weeks will tell you it went! Good luck to you too!

  14. Your words are such a relieve… My little one is just 1 month old but it’s been exhausting for my husband and me, I thought this was something It will just get fixed or go away, since everybody just said “you won’t sleep again” but you actually give practical tips to start the training! Thank you, can’t wait to read more post like this!

  15. Hey! was looking for useful information to send to my sister, she’s having her girl in 5 weeks but we all need to be ready, right? I loved your article, your writing style is cool, plus your tips sound great! I’m sure my sis and I will follow your blog from a long time then haha! The pictures are so lovely, God bless that handsome boy!

  16. I love your pictures! I agree with you, so important to teach and share, thank you so much! I also feel like a zombie :(! Thank you for your motivation, your inspiration to enjoy every part of the process!

  17. Wow, didn’t knew all that! My due date is in 6 weeks and I’m just feeling it real, besides already having a huge belly! Thank you for your amazing tips and valuable information! Will tell everything I read to my husband!

  18. This is sooo important! Thank youuu! What exactly is the infant massage? So far I only tried to use natural lighting all the time! You are an inspiration to me! Hope I could look so secure and cool as a mom, feel like I’m always about to do something wrong!

  19. Sleep training? now that I got all that information makes so much sense, but never came to my mind that I had to prepare for this too! Looks like so many things to take care of (And so far I’m 30 weeks) Thank you so much for this article, definitely will check all your posts now!

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