How Much Sleep Should a Newborn Get
Updated Oct 20th 2022 | 8 min read
Updated Oct 20th 2022 | 8 min read
Written By Mandy Treeby Chief Baby Sleep Consultant
Parents of newborns have a lot of questions about their babies’ sleep. And for good reason: newborns sleep most of the day and night. That’s because newborns’ bodies and brains are developing rapidly, which requires a lot of rest for them – and not a lot of rest for you.
We understand this can be frustrating, but this new experience should be embraced – it’s the start of a new journey for you, one that can help you grow as a parent and a person.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
To help you thrive while raising a newborn, here we’ll answer all of your newborn-related sleep questions.
If you’re looking to establish healthy sleep habits for your newborn, we recommend downloading the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers ™ app. It makes it easy to keep track of sleeps and feedings, and the smart schedule automatically updates as you track sleeps so you can help get sleeps in tune with their biological rhythms.
A lot. A typical newborn sleeps about 2-4 hours before waking up to eat, snuggle, or get a new diaper; they’re then awake for 45 minutes to 2 hours before going back to sleep again. In total, most newborns typically sleep 14-17 hours a day.
Every baby is different, though – some sleep as little as 11 hours-a-day, others up to 19. If your baby is sleeping less than 11 hours, you may want to talk with your pediatrician.
Here’s a longer guide to your baby’s first few years of sleep:
Newborn (0-3 months):
About 14-17 hours of day are best, though some babies sleep closer to 11 or as many as 19.
Experts recommend 12-15 hours a day, 10-18 hours is not uncommon.
At this point your baby should be sleeping about 11-14 hours each day, though anywhere between 9-16 is also alright.
Keep in mind that some of these hours will come from daytime naps, but we want to work on getting the majority of sleep overnight.
A Note on Premature Babies and Sleep: Premature babies will typically wake up for feedings more often than full term babies and you should talk with your pediatrician about age adjusted sleep expectations.
While every baby is different, research suggests that breastfed babies take a little bit longer to start sleeping through the night. They also need more night feedings. That said, breast feeding can help reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS, a rare but fatal phenomenon in which a healthy baby passes away at night. Luckily there are many things you do can reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS .
If you have a newborn, no time soon. Weaning typically starts between 5 and 6 months, but many babies still need night feeds until around 9months.It is important that before you start weaning you reach out to your pediatrician to get the all clear – at which point nighttime feedings can start to be phased increasing your baby’s ability to “sleep through the night.”
Tip: Make sure feeding is not the last thing your baby does before bed, and more importantly don’t feed your baby to the point of them falling asleep. You want to put them in their crib when they’re tired but awake so they can learn how to soothe themselves to sleep. Feeding them to sleep will create an association which could mean they struggle to fall asleep without it.
Newborns sleep so much for two reasons.
When you are ready to sleep coach, the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ will teach you how to help shape your newborn’s circadian rhythm to help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer – a skill that will serve them well for years to come.
Newborns simply are not meant to sleep for long periods. They wake often to eat, get a new diaper and to cuddle with their favorite parents – you!
Right now, though, newborns are mainly focused on growing – which requires a lot of sleep.
No. While newborns are too little for actual sleep training, which begins around 4 months, you can start your baby’s bedtime routine the first night home. This consistent, daily routine helps them know it’s time for sleep.
Simple – anything that’s calm and soothing, like a bath or reading time, is perfect for a bedtime routine .
Whatever you choose to include in your bedtime routine, the goal is to calm and soothe your baby before bed while creating a predictable routine that becomes the foundation for a life-long habit. That’s why a bedtime routine should be the exact same every night: consistency is key to habit-growing.
Luckily newborns are naturally pretty good at sleeping, but they and all babies also need mood setting to help encourage healthy sleep. To help your newborn sleep, we suggest:
These simple tips can keep your baby safe during bed and nap times.
*Note: Since newborns sleep so many hours on their back, place them on their stomachs for short periods of tummy time while they’re awake – and always under supervision. This helps build your baby’s neck and shoulder muscles and their motor skills.
Tip: Dress your baby in one more layer than you’re wearing to keep them warm at night. So, if you’re wearing a t-shirt, dress your baby in a t-shirt and a long-sleeved shirt.
Newborns eat about every two-three hours – which is usually why they wake up. As they grow, they’ll eat less often and sleep for longer periods with more awake time in between – and then the real fun begins!
As new as some of this may be for you, this is also a very special and precious period: a time when you and your newborn can enjoy sweet cuddles and quiet memories together. This is the start of a beautiful new era for you both - embrace it and enjoy it!
And remember - if you have any questions, The Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ app has expert answers that will help you get the most results and joy from this experience. We’re so excited for you!
Sleep is fundamentally important for your newborn’s growth now and later. That’s why sleep coaching is so important, because:
Again, sleep coaching is a process, but most babies can sleep for 6-8 consecutive hours by 8-9 months.
Rest assured this does not mean they won’t sleep for long periods before that – but, again, sleep coaching is a not linear: your baby may sleep five hours consecutively for weeks and then wake after 2. This may because of sleep regressions, sometimes called sleep progressions – periods when your baby wakes more often because of developmental progress, like learning to pull themselves up.
These progressions will reoccur periodically over your baby’s first 2 years but are brief and can be mitigated.
Most babies start to sleep longer stretches overnight by 4 months and can ‘sleep through the night’ anywhere between 5 and 9 months.
Most 1-month-olds wake every 2-4 hours to eat.
A newborn’s sleep is very disorganized, so mostly we must let them wake when they need to wake. That said, you can help your newborn sleep better by exposing them to natural light during their daytime awake periods, making sure they’re fed and changed before bed, and using blackout shades to ensure complete darkness for naps and overnight sleep.
Newborns don’t sleep for long stretches at night – they have mini-sleeps between feeds – but if you add those mini-sleeps up, newborns typically sleep about 8 hours over the course of the night.
Yes. Newborns typically need to wake every 2-4 hours to feed. If your baby isn’t waking up to eat or isn’t gaining weight, talk with your pediatrician.
About 2-4 hours, but it may be shorter. If your baby is sleeping for longer than 4 hours, consider waking them for a night feeding.
The short answer: not many. Parents and caretakers should be prepared for many sleepless nights when they have a newborn – you’ll sleep much like they do: for short periods before getting up to feed, change, or cuddle your newborn.
Rest assured your baby’s sleep will settle soon – and even faster if you use tools like the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ – some users see results in as little as a week. Remember, though, your baby won’t be able to sleep train until about 4 months, when they’ve gained enough weight to sleep longer, and their circadian rhythm are taking shape.
“Infant Sleep and Its Relation with Cognition and Growth: A Narrative Review,”
Nature and Science of
“Helping Babies Sleep Safely,” The CDC.
“Newborn Sleep Patterns,” Johns Hopkins School of Medicine .
How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.