The newborn stage brings on a roller coaster of emotions for new parents. Adjusting to the major life change of welcoming a whole new person into the world is no joke. Between newborn bliss, diapers, feedings, and sleep deprivation, you’re learning the ins and outs of parenthood (all while feeling like a total zombie). It’s a wild ride. Whether you’re in the midst of sleep battles with your newborn or are anxiously awaiting your little one’s arrival, here’s a newborn sleep schedule to help you get more REM.
Newborn Sleep Schedule
Parenting is SO challenging (and amazing! But challenging.). One of the things that makes parenthood tough is learning your little one. We’re not just born with the knowledge of how much sleep our babies need. Sometimes, we don’t even realize what we don’t know until we’re in the thick of things.
Enter, Sleep Shore. Our goal is to help you learn as much as possible about sleep so you can become a well-rested person again! Let’s dive into the newborn sleep schedule.
How Much do Newborns Sleep?
Newborns typically sleep around 14-17 hours of sleep a day in the early stages. (Not all at once! This is split between nighttime and daytime sleep.) However, newborn sleep and waking is not one-size-fits-all. If you have more than one child, you may notice that one slept differently than the other in the newborn stage- this is okay!
Rather than hyper-focusing on the amount of time your newborn sleeps, instead ensure that you’re setting them up for success. Make sure that you’re monitoring naps, aiming for appropriate wake windows, and providing feedings every few hours according to hunger cues. Here’s a chart to help outline average awake times and nap schedules for newborns and infants by age:
Why do Newborns Sleep as Much as They Do?
Baby brain development and sleep go hand-in-hand. Newborns need A LOT of sleep because they’re going through rapid physical and mental developments. Research confirms that the first five years of your child’s life are crucial for the development of their brain cells. However, the first three years are the most important in shaping their brain architecture. While your newborn is sound asleep, they’re undergoing serious mental and physical changes. (This explains why the newborn stage seems to fly by. It feels like they grow in the blink of an eye!)
Where Should My Baby Sleep?
Safe sleep for newborns looks different than for older children. It’s crucial to understand safety hazards when putting your baby to bed. For newborns, it’s vital to remember the ABCs of safe sleep. This acronym outlines safe sleep conditions to protect your baby:
Alone– Babies should be alone on their sleep surface. Bed-sharing increases the risk of SUIDS and other sleep-related deaths. If you need advice on how to end co-sleeping, check out my blog post on how to transition your baby from co-sleeping to a crib.
Back – Ensure your little one is on their back while sleeping.
Crib – Make sure that your baby’s crib is entirely empty. Don’t use any pillows, blankets, loveys or stuffed animals, bumper pads, or anything extra that could put your baby in harm’s way. Bare is best!
How Can I Get My Newborn on a Sleep Schedule?
I have some not-so-great news for you: you might not be able to. Every day likely won’t be the same as the last- and this is OKAY. During the first few months, a strict schedule is nearly impossible to follow perfectly. This doesn’t mean you failed, or that your baby’s a terrible sleeper. (It just means that your baby is, well, a baby.)
However, there are things you can do to improve your child’s overall sleep patterns and a flexible schedule you can try to follow. Loosely following an outlined schedule that works for your family is a great way to make the newborn stage a little easier. It can help provide some clarity on ideal wake times and how much sleep your baby should be getting.
Once you hit the 4-month mark, sleep training becomes more of a viable option. Most babies are developmentally ready around 4 months to learn how to self-soothe. (Right around the time many babies experience the 4-month sleep regression.) In the meantime, hang in there and enjoy the sweet moments of newborn parenthood!
Newborn Sleep Schedule
Here’s a sample newborn sleep schedule broken out by age to take the confusion out of bedtime, feedings, and nap time! Every baby is different, so keep in mind what works for one may not work for another:
Newborn Bedtime Routine
Bedtime routines are an amazing way to foster healthy sleep habits- and they’re not limited to older babies and toddlers. Newborns can have bedtime routines too! Bedtime routines are a great way to practice bonding, encourage self-care, provide stability and security, and positively impact your baby’s mood.
This doesn’t need to be a long, drawn-out routine. There’s a solid chance you’re already practicing a bedtime without even realizing it! Babies thrive on routine. The sooner you get started with a bedtime routine, the more acclimated your little one will become to recognizing when it’s time to start winding down as they get older.
Here’s a sample bedtime routine:
- Bath (on bath nights)
- Change into pajamas and swaddle or sleep sack
- Read books
- Sing song and cuddle
- Place into sleep space
To create an optimal sleep environment, check out these baby sleep products to help your little one sleep more soundly.
What Time Should My Newborn’s Bedtime Routine Start?
While there isn’t one answer that applies to all newborns, there are some generally recommended newborn bedtimes. Some babies thrive with an earlier bedtime routine, while others do better when they’re set down a bit later. See for yourself which schedules work for your family!
Sleep Shore Sleep Services
Is your baby having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or going back to sleep? Sleep Shore is here to finally get you sleeping through the night again. We offer one-on-one sleep services for newborns, infants, and toddlers. Every baby is unique- and we recognize that. We take a different approach to each family to crack the code to your sleep problems. Good sleep is possible- see what this mama had to say about our sleep services:
“If you are in the thick of things with a newborn and need support with sleep and what “routines” should look like look no further! Molly from Sleep Shore has been instrumental in our sanity with our now 3-week-old son. The recorded call was so helpful for my husband and I to watch and we refer to the PDF document often however, the best part about working with Sleep Shore is being able to check in with a real person on our 15-minute calls. Molly listened to our challenges and was able to explain WHY things were happening and then gave us tips on how to help calm our colicky newborn and get him down to sleep. Molly continues to check in on us and provide support. After our experience (and continued support) We are definitely planning to work with Sleep Shore for further sleep help & training as our son grows!”
-MOM OF A NEWBORN
If you’re not ready to take the plunge on one-on-one support, check out our Newborn Sleep Guide. Stay tuned for more sleep tips to get better sleep!