Newborn Sleep Schedule: Developing Healthy Sleep Habits for You and Baby

Loving mom cuddling her newborn while he sleeps on her chest

Newborn Sleep Schedule: Developing Healthy Sleep Habits for You and Baby

Quality sleep is important for people of all ages, but newborn babies tend to have a hard time getting used to resting outside of their mother’s warm womb. And since babies don’t understand the difference between night and day, it’s not as easy as placing them in their crib when the sun goes down and expecting snores until the sun comes up.

Developing and nurturing a healthy sleep schedule for your newborn is necessary for their physical and cognitive development, but it’s also important for their ability to build independence. Rocking your baby to sleep or letting them stay awake in your arms can make it difficult for them to learn how to fall asleep on their own.

Establishing a newborn sleep schedule is a simple way to encourage longer stretches of sleep so you can get rest as well. Here’s how to foster healthy sleep habits in your little one.

How Much Should a Newborn Sleep? Understanding Newborn Sleeping Patterns

The amount of sleep your baby needs depends on their age. Since newborns sleep night and day, understanding how much they should sleep within each window can help you get into an expected sleep rhythm. Here are some examples of what a newborn sleep schedule might look like:

  • Newborn to 3 months: 8 to 9 hours throughout the night, 8 hours throughout the day.
  • 6 to 12 months: 10 to 12 hours throughout the night, 5 hours throughout the day

If you’re wondering how much sleep is too much for a newborn, consider these age guidelines. If your baby’s sleeping cadence is way outside of these age windows, consider reaching out to your pediatrician.

Tips for Establishing a Healthy Sleeping Routine

By establishing a strong and consistent nighttime routine, you can help your little one get used to resting on their own and set them up for success as they grow. Here are a few tips for getting a newborn on a sleep schedule:

1. Follow Safety Guidelines

Before you create a regular sleep schedule, make sure to keep safety guidelines in mind. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends resting your baby on a crib, bassinet or portable bassinet with a fitted sheet on a firm flat mattress. Other safety guidelines include:

  • Placing baby on back to sleep
  • Leaving the sleep space completely clear; avoid loose blankets, pillows, bumpers and soft items like stuffed animals.

2. Reconsider Your Napping Schedule

If the reason you need a newborn sleep schedule is the result of resting sleep, it might be time to reconsider how often baby naps. The daytime sleep schedule recommendations show that between the ages of 3 and 6 months, naps should decrease by about 3 hours of the day.

Cutting out one of your baby’s nap times could make a big difference in how often they sleep through the night!

3. Create a Calming Sleep Environment

A cool and calm atmosphere can set your baby up for success when it comes to creating a successful newborn schedule. It’s recommended to keep the room cool and comfortable and dress your baby in sleepers that are appropriate for ambient temperatures.

Newborn baby sleeping in bed

4. Time Feedings Before Bed

If you’re here to learn how to change a newborn sleep schedule with a little one who still wakes up hungry, consider your feed times. Is the baby eating close enough to bedtime? Sending your baby to bed with a full (not overloaded) stomach can keep your baby from waking up before their next feeding window.

5. Put Baby Down When They’re Sleepy, Not Sleeping

This is an important tip in helping your baby sleep independently. If your baby falls asleep in your arms, they may be more alarmed if they wake up elsewhere. Putting your baby to bed while awake and drowsy instead of sleeping can help them get more comfortable with their sleep environment and encourage independence.

7. Have Patience

Remember: Every baby is different, and even with the right suggestions, you may find yourself struggling to get your baby into patterns right away. Give yourself and your baby grace as you take on this new challenge! If you’re still struggling to get your baby into a healthy sleep routine after making changes, talk to your pediatrician. They might be able to provide guidance regarding your baby’s health and growth.

Cherish the Newborn Years with KeepsakeMom

The nights of establishing a newborn bedtime routine can be exhausting, but well worth it. As you reflect on the early days of your baby’s life, cherish the memories with KeepsakeMom. Our breastmilk jewelry serves as a beautiful reminder of the bond between you and your baby and the time spent together to nurture your connection.

Shop our breastmilk jewelry today!

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