How Should Newborns Sleep?

Newborns don't yet have a sense of day and night. They sleep around the clock, and because their tiny stomachs don't hold enough breast milk or formula to keep them satisfied for long, they wake often to eat — no matter what time of day or night it is, says KidsHealth web.

How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?

Sleep patterns will change over the first year of a baby’s life, including the number of hours of sleep needed and the duration of sleep periods throughout the day and night, says Sleep Foundation.

  • 0 to 3 months: It’s normal for newborns to spend 14 to 17 hours1 asleep in a 24-hour day, broken into shorter periods to accommodate feeding, diaper changes, and interaction with their family. Breastfed infants usually need to eat more frequently than bottle-fed infants2, about every 2 hours versus every 3 hours. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine3 advises parents not to worry if their newborn’s sleep pattern doesn’t match the projections, as these amounts can during before the first 4 months.
  • 3 to 6 months: Starting at around 3 months of age, an infant’s daily sleep need drop to 12 to 15 hours. Around this time, sleep also starts consolidating into longer periods4 as babies are able to go longer without feeding. Sometime during this period is when most babies start to sleep through the night, though there are exceptions to the rule.
  • 6 to 12 months: From 6 months onward, babies do the bulk of their sleeping at night. However, other issues such as teething, growth spurts, illnesses, or sleep regressions may start leading to nighttime awakenings. Parents may opt to use more specific sleep-training strategies if babies aren’t sleeping through the night at this stage.

Maybe you want to read: 10 Tips to Help Your Children Sleep Better

Follow these recommendations for a safe sleep environment for your little one:

  • Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, not on the stomach or side. The rate of SIDS has gone way down since the AAP introduced this recommendation in 1992.
  • Use a firm sleep surface. Cover the mattress with a sheet that fits snugly. Make sure your crib, bassinet, or play yard meets current safety standards.
  • Do not put anything else in the crib or bassinet. Keep plush toys, pillows, blankets, unfitted sheets, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, and bumper pads out of your baby's sleep area.
  • Avoid overheating. Dress your infant according to the room temperature, and don't overbundle. Watch for signs of overheating, such as sweating or feeling hot to the touch.
  • Keep your baby away from smokers. Secondhand smoke increases the risk of SIDS.
  • Put your baby to sleep with a pacifier. But if your baby rejects the pacifier, don't force it. If the pacifier falls out during sleep, you don't have to replace it. If you're breastfeeding, wait until breastfeeding is firmly established.

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